The grand jury for Baltimore County indicted Teonna Brown, 18, with five charges on Monday, May 16, including that of a hate crime, for the physical attack on Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, at the Rosedale, Md., McDonald's on Monday, April 18.
According to information obtained from the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, Brown was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and a hate crime for the attack on Polis. Brown also was charged with second-degree assault charges regarding Vicki Thoms, who tried to intervene during the attack, and Darrick Jones.
In addition to Brown, the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office states that a female juvenile has been charged in the Juvenile Court with the identical charges as the adult. Both individuals are currently detained. According to the office, no other individuals will be charged "with crimes arising out of this incident."
The April 18 incident was caught on video tape by a McDonald's employee who was later fired. The attack left Polis battered and angered members of the LGBT community and beyond who gathered at the McDonald's one week later for a vigil calling an end to violence.
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."