ROSEDALE, Md. (WJZ) — A beating at a Baltimore County McDonald’s gains national attention. There are questions about whether the attack on a transgender woman was a hate crime.
Weijia Jiang explains state prosecutors are now focusing on that viral video.
The video went viral in an instant. Now state prosecutors are scrutinizing it, investigating if the vicious beating inside a Rosedale McDonald’s was a hate crime.
“There’s a lot of information out there concerning the situation of the victim. It’s something we need to look into to see if that was the motivation,” said John Cox, Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office.
That victim, 22-year-old Chrissy Polis, told WJZ’s media partner, the Baltimore Sun, that she was attacked because she’s transgender.
“You don’t have to explain yourself to nobody. Be who you are, go as you are. But people don’t want that. In this century, it sickens me that has to come to this result,” Polis said.
Various civil rights groups hope the young suspects—a 14-year-old charged as juvenile and 18-year-old Teonna Brown, who faces a count of felony assault—face even more charges.
“I think all of us, in our heart, we see something like that, we know what it was about,” said Mara Keisling, National Center for Transgender Equality.
WJZ spoke with Brown’s mother, who did not want to show her face on camera. She’s confident the fight was not driven by hate and says according to her daughter, it was Polis who got physical first.
“She doesn’t care if you’re black, white, Mexican, big, fat, whatever. She has a lot of gay friends; a lot of them have been in my house. You’re gonna try to make one person a villain, and she’s not,” her mother said.
But Polis’ mom disagrees.
“I was scared, crying, upset, then I was angered by the people humiliating her. She deserves everything coming to her,” said Polis’ mother, Renee Carr.
The assistant state’s attorney says the office will know within a week or two whether hate crime charges will be filed. If Brown is found guilty, the count carries an additional 10 years in jail.
McDonald’s fired the worker taking the video. The franchise owner is considering action against other employees who were on duty at the time.