The oldest of the two teens charged with assaulting a transgender female at a Baltimore county McDonald's will spend the next 5 years in prison for her crimes.
19-year-old Teonna Brown was 18 when she and a 14-year-old female accomplice pounced on Chrissy Polis outside the McDonald's women's restroom. The beating was captured on cell phone video by a McDonald's employee who was on duty at the time. The employee could be heard laughing on the video, and at one point he urged the attackers to flee before police arrived. That employee was terminated but no charges were brought against him.
Vicki Thoms, an elderly woman who tried to stop the assault was punched in the eye. The Baltimore County prosecutor is calling the unprovoked attack a hate crime.
“I don’t really care who the victim is,” said prosecutor Scott Shellenberger. “This wasn’t about a political statement. This was about prosecuting people for a heinous crime that they committed.”
Brown was convicted of a hate crime and first degree assault during a tense hearing yesterday in a Maryland courtroom. She was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Brown's 14-year-old accomplice is being held in a juvenile facility until she is 18.
Brown appeared to be remorseful while tearfully apologizing to the victim. “I’m sorry. My mother did not raise me like this. I would really like to apologize to the victim, Miss Chrissy Polis,” she said.
But Polis was not ready to accept her apology.
"I felt like I was going to die that day," the letter reads. "I continue to suffer seizures, bouts of crying, mental anguish and anxiety. I fear being alone. I have flashbacks about the attacks. I do not forgive them for what they did to me."
Polis filed a civil lawsuit against the McDonald's corporation for failing to provide a safe environment for its customers. A settlement has not yet been reached.
"I just wish that there was more love in this world than hate," Thoms said. "That’s what I keep saying every time you guys talk to me, and that’s what I hope she learns out of this whole thing, and everybody learns the same thing."