Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2 Arrests in Beating of Baltimore Trans Woman, Victim Speaks Out (video)

Teonna Monae Brown
On April 18, Chrissy Lee Polis stopped in to a Baltimore area McDonald's to use the rest room. Two young women accused Polis of using the wrong bathroom and attacked her in a vicious beating that was captured on video by a McDonald's employee.

The video of the attack was posted online and went viral over the last week. Only two people tried to intervene to stop the attack. Several others can be seen in the video looking on and and laughing. The employee has been fired.

On Friday Baltimore police arrested 18-year-old Teonna Monae Brown and charged her with one count of first degree assault and two counts of second degree assault. A 14-year-old girl has also been charged in in the attack. She is being held on a $150,000 bond.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Scott Shellenberger, the state's attorney for Baltimore County, has said his office plans to gather additional evidence to determine whether the April 18 attack on Polis can be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Another woman filed assault charges against Brown in July, which prosecutors dropped three months later.
Sandy Rawls, founding director of Trans-United, a Baltimore-based group that fights discrimination against transgender people, said people hate what they do not understand.
"When people see us, they don't understand us. So it's an educational problem," said Rawls, a transsexual woman who lives about a mile from the McDonald's. She also blamed "a violent culture."
"'Love thy neighbor' is fading," she said.
A rally was held outside the McDonald's last night.

Polis told the Baltimore Sun in the following video the she wants to personally thank the older woman who tried to stop the attack. She also says she is afraid to go outside.

Just weeks ago legislation that would have offered the trans community protection in housing and employment died in the Maryland state senate. Protection in public accommodations (bathrooms) was taken out of the bill before it went to the full senate for a vote. Trans activists celebrated the bill's defeat and are hopeful public accommodations will be put back in the wording during the next legislative session.

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