A transgender woman beaten at a Baltimore County McDonald's spoke out on Saturday, saying that the attack was "definitely a hate crime" and that she's been afraid to go out in public ever since. "They said, 'That's a dude, that's a dude and she's in the female bathroom,' " said Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, who said she stopped at the Rosedale restaurant to use the restroom. "They spit in my face." A worker at the restaurant taped Monday's attack and created a graphic video that went viral last week. After the video garnered hundreds of thousands of views on websites, McDonald's issued a statement condemning the incident, and on Saturday the worker who taped the incident was fired. The video shows two females — one of them a 14-year-old girl — repeatedly kicking and punching Polis in the head as an employee and a patron try to intervene. Others can be heard laughing, and men are seen standing idly by. Toward the end of the video, one of the suspects lands a punishing blow to the victim's head, and Polis appears to have a seizure. A man's voice tells the women to run because police are coming.
While a manager yelled for it to stop, other employees videotaped the attack (which went viral on YouTube), until a woman intervened. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger put it well about this courageous person: "I would also like to acknowledge the brave actions of my constituent, who is a true hero. Vicky Thoms, a fellow Rosedale resident, intervened on the victim's behalf without regard for her own safety. While others stood by watching, Ms. Thoms put herself in harm's way to help a stranger. She is the definition of the word "neighbor," and I hope we can all learn from her example."
According to an article in the New York Daily News, "a LGBT advocacy group is calling for authorities to investigate the case as a hate crime."
On April 25th, hundreds of people rallied in front of the McDonald’s restaurant to show their support and solidarity. Read about that here. Change.org has a petition that McDonalds employees who saw the crime but did nothing be held responsible. Change.org did say: "Not surprisingly, McDonald's lacks standard policies for protecting transgender individuals, despite a decent record of workplace discrimination protections for gays and lesbians. And while the company has pledged to 'take appropriate action' against all employees involved in this heinous event, just one has been punished."
Baltimore County police arrested an 18-year-old woman in the assault, and she faces first- and second-degree assault charges, and is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $150,000 bail.
Let's hope all of this stirs Maryland legislators in the 2012 Session to do the right thing - to strengthen and widen the law to stop these hate crimes.