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Prosecutors weigh additional charges in Maryland McDonald's attack

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A transgender woman was allegedly beaten outside a bathroom by two female suspects
  • One 14-year-old suspect was charged as a juvenile
  • The attack was caught on videotape by a McDonald's employee
  • The state attorney's office is reviewing the case to see whether more charges are appropriate

(CNN) -- Prosecutors in Maryland are weighing whether to bring additional charges against the two suspects who appear to be attacking a transgender woman at a McDonald's in a videotape made by one of the restaurant's employees, officials said Monday.

The video, which went viral last week, shows two women kicking, punching and dragging another woman across the floor of the Baltimore restaurant. A store employee and a patron attempt to intervene, with limited success.

Someone off-camera can be heard laughing, another yells "Stop!" several times during the attack and at one point, a voice can be heard telling the suspects, "Y'all need to go before the police come."

The video ends with the victim shaking uncontrollably on the floor.

Authorities said the alleged attack took place on April 18 at a McDonald's in Rosedale, on the outskirts of Baltimore.

Officers were dispatched to the restaurant for a fight and discovered a 22-year-old female who appeared to be having a seizure, according to the Baltimore County police department.

Witnesses told officers that the victim, identified by authorities as Chrissy Lee Polis, had been attacked by two teenage suspects.

One of the suspects was 14 and charged as a juvenile with second-degree assault, according to police.

The other suspect was 18 and charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault, police said.

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear, though one of the suspects is cited in a police report as saying the fight was "over using the bathroom."

A Maryland rights group, which is planning a vigil in support of Polis Monday night, said the attack was likely motivated by Polis being a transgender woman.

"No person ever deserves to be a victim of violence regardless of their gender identity or presentation. We encourage the state's Attorney General to investigate this as a hate crime based on gender identity," said Equality Maryland Board President Chuck Butler.

Baltimore County police spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough said the state attorney's office is reviewing the case to see whether it merits additional charges.

If the suspects are charged with a hate crime, they could face an extra 10 years in prison, in addition to whatever sentences they might get for the assault, plus an extra $10,000 fine, he said.

Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said his office was aware of the case and will make a determination soon as to whether more charges will be filed -- against the suspects and perhaps against other people. He declined to comment on whether the case was being investigated as a possible hate crime.

The victim's mother, Renee Carr, told a producer for HLN's "Dr. Drew" that her daughter is devastated by the ordeal. Polis did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

"She's humiliated. They thought it was hilarious. The reason they did this is because she's an outcast, she doesn't fit in," said Carr. "All my daughter wanted to do was use the bathroom."

McDonald's released a statement condemning the attack. It said the employee responsible for the video is no longer with the company and that "appropriate action regarding other employees will take place as warranted."

"We want to reassure our customers that your neighborhood McDonald's is a safe, welcoming place for everyone. We share our customers' concern. We are doing everything possible to make sure the right thing is done," McDonald's said.

CNN's Dana Ford and HLN's Sarah Carden contributed to this report.