Reporting Alex DeMetrick
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Violence that went viral. The beating of a transgender woman in a Baltimore County McDonald’s that was posted on the Internet helped secure a guilty plea from the defendant.
Alex DeMetrick was in the Towson courtroom and has the details.
The beating of Chrissy Polis, 22, went on for minutes. Now the woman and teen who attacked her are both looking at years behind bars.
The beating captured on a cell phone last April showed repeated attacks on Polis by 19-year-old Teonna Brown and her 14-year old friend at a Baltimore County McDonald’s.
Now Polis, who is transgender and considers herself female, was in court when Brown plead guilty under a plea deal.
“The ordeal is not over for her. She continues to suffer on a daily basis, particularly because of the notoriety the YouTube video has caused,” said Mark Scurti, Polis’ lawyer.
Brown plead guilty to first-degree assault, which carries a 25-year maximum sentence, and to a hate crime, which carries 10 years. But under the plea deal, the state is only recommending she serve five years.
“Guilty pleas are good because the defendant admits their guilt. It substantially cuts off the right of appeal,” said Scott Shellenberger, State’s Attorney.
New video from a surveillance camera was also introduced. Polis is being dragged by the hair and kicked.
“The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video,” Shellenberger said. “They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”
Another customer, Vicky Thoms, stepped in and tried to help Polis. The teen, whose face is obscured because she is a juvenile, hit Thoms.
In court Thursday, her strongest memory: “How a person so young can be so hateful,” Thoms said.
Polis had little to say.
“I was kind of nervous being here today,” Polis said. “I really did not want to come. So like I said, I have no comment. I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as much as possible.”
She will say more next month at sentencing when she will present a victim’s impact statement.
It’s the judge’s discretion to set the sentence. He can either approve the five years, add more time or reduce it further.