News + Politics

September 14, 2011

Sentencing in McDonald’s Trans Beating Case, Maryland Taking a Stand on Hate Crimes

gb sep 14

Apparently Teonna Brown was unaware that at McDonald’s, the smiles are free.

On Monday Brown was indicted on five charges including a hate crime for her vicious attack on a trans woman, Chrissy Polis in a Maryland MacDonald’s after being caught on video by a McDonald’s employee (who was subsequently fired).

Violence and complete prejudice against the trans community is showing its face in a multitude of ways. Either it is with politicians dismissing funding for trans surgeries, queer community members refusing to accept them as one of thier own, prejudice in the workplace and family, as well as physical violence, to name a few. The law plays a crucial role in how these hate crimes are treated. Thank you Maryland for making a stand.

In a video interview with the Baltimore Sun, Polis says she stopped at the McDonald’s to use the bathroom. On her way in, a man asked her how she was doing. She says she told him, “Not now,” and went on to the bathroom. When she got out, a young woman spit in her face and asked Polis if she was talking to her “man.” When Polis said she hadn’t been, a second young woman spit in her face and the two began assaulting Polis. The video, shot by a McDonald’s employee who can be heard laughing in the background (and has since been fired), appears to begin mid-attack. Polis is on the floor outside the bathroom and the two young women continue to attack her. One man, who appears to be the manager, tells the young women to stop and puts his hand on one of their shoulders, but they continue their assault. Then they leave the scene only to return again and continue beating Polis who, by this point, is trying to calm herself to avoid the epileptic seizure she feels coming on. Eventually, the two young women drag Polis by her hair across the restaurant floor from the bathroom to near the front door. Vicky Thoms, 55, walks in to find Polis being assaulted and, despite concern about aggravating a back condition, steps in and gets hit in the face in the process.

In a statement released to Metro Weekly, Equality Maryland lauded the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s actions, with Lynne Bowman, interim executive director at Equality Maryland, saying: “Today, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore County came to the only possible conclusion in deciding to try the assault on Chrissy Lee Polis as a hate crime. As the video shows, the violent attack was directly related to the fact that Ms. Polis is a transgender woman. Lack of understanding or fear about someone who is transgender is never an excuse for violence and when it occurs, it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Through our Transgender Education Project, Equality Maryland will continue to work to educate people in Maryland about issues related to gender identity and the challenges transgender people face just trying to go about their daily lives. We will also continue our push in Annapolis to see gender identity protections added to Maryland’s existing anti-discrimination laws. Maryland has always been on the forefront of social justice issues. It’s time that our Assembly makes a clear statement that discrimination against someone based on their gender identity is wrong and will no longer be tolerated in this state.”

In the headlines (with a Trans violence focus):

Eric Tucker, DC Police Probe Shooting of Transgender Person, SF Gate (Monday September 12, 2011)

Alleged Anti-Trans Hate Crime Victim Call For ‘Defying Gender Binary’ at Hearing, Bay Area Reporter, (Friday September 2, 2011)

About the Author

|Calgary Contributor| A girl with a passion for equality and all things good. I am first and foremost a friend followed by a big queer, advocate, writer, community builder, and feminist. I have an affinity for Jeopardy and Perez Hilton, and am a Facebook addict. I heart all furry creatures.



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