Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, a transgender woman who was beaten to the point of seizure at a McDonald’s in Baltimore on Monday said the attack was “definitely a hate crime.”
In a video of the attack that went viral last week, two female teenagers brutally hit and stomp Polis in the head as she lies on the floor inside of the restaurant near the restrooms. While one employee fails to intervene successfully, other workers watch and even laugh.
The 14-year-old and 18-year-old attackers leave Polis briefly before escalating the assault. As one patron tries to stop the attack, Polis receives a final crushing blow and begins to seizure. Employees then tell the teens to flee before police arrive.
“I knew they were taping me; I told the guy to stop,” said Polis of Vernon Hackett, the employee that filmed the attack and uploaded it to the Internet. “They didn’t help me. They didn’t do nothing for me.”
Franchise owner Mitchel McPherson announced Hackett had been fired and that other employees face similar consequence.
“My first and foremost concern is with the victim. I’m as shocked and disturbed by this assault as anyone would be. The behavior displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible,” McPherson said according to the Baltimore Sun.
Authorities say that one suspect has been charged as a juvenile, while charges against the other suspect are pending. The police report indicates that one of the teenagers claimed the altercation was “over using a bathroom.”
“They said, ‘That’s a dude, that’s a dude and she’s in the female bathroom.'” Polis explained of the events that led to the attack, “They spit in my face.”
Equality Maryland, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights group, wants Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
“As a community we remain horrified that transgender citizens are so vulnerable that they can be brutalized … for simply walking down the street,” said Lisa Polyak, vice president of the board of directors for Equality Maryland who earlier decried that Polis was brutalized while people “stood by and watched.”
“[Polis] was simply trying to use a public accommodation. People should not feel threatened when they exist in public space.” Polyak said. “This is why we need a statewide law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.”
“Anyone in my predicament should not be afraid to walk the streets,” said Polis, who had a sex-change operation to become a woman. “They should not have to go into a restaurant and get gawked at and made fun of. They shouldn’t be afraid to leave the house. It’s just wrong.”
Polis plans to take legal action against McDonald’s, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up,” she said.
Polis also indicates that race was a factor in the attack; Polis is white, the two individuals who assaulted her are black.