Tag Archives: beating

Teens charged with hate crime in videotaped Baltimore beating

The two teens caught on videotape brutally beating a transgender woman at a Baltimore-area McDonald’s have been indicted on hate crime charges along with several assault charges.

The Baltimore County’s state attorney spent weeks before deciding to file hate crime charges against Teonna Brown, 18, and a 14-year-old girl arrested in connection with the attack, reported CBS affiliate WJZ.

Chrissy Lee Polis had claimed all along she was targeted because she’s transgendered. She apparently suffered a seizure in the attack, which occurred while McDonald’s employees and customers stood around laughing.

One of those employees taped the attack and posted it online. He was subsequently fired.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D, issued a statement May 17 saying, “I want to commend Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger for using every available means to prosecute the heinous beating of Chrissy Lee Polis last month.”

Equality Maryland also praised Shellenberger.

“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,” said Lynne Bowman, interim executive director at Equality Maryland, in a statement.

“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.”


El Paso man in critical condition after beating outside gay bar

A 22-year-old man was in critical condition after being beaten by a gang of at least six men outside a popular gay bar in El Paso, Texas, early May 7.

The El Paso Times reported that the victim, whose name has not been released, was waiting for a ride outside the Old Plantation night club (pictured) when he was confronted by six men who kicked him and beat him with a baseball bat.

At least one media outlet is calling the incident an anti-gay hate crime. Police have told several news organizations that they have not yet determined whether the assault was hate-motivated.

El Paso Times reported last December that gays were victims in two of three hate crimes reported in the city last year and in three of four cases reported in 2009.

Five charged in South Carolina bashing of gay teen

South Carolina authorities have charged five men in the brutal beating of a gay teen earlier this month in Rock Hill, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The York County sheriff’s office said the five have been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, which carries a prison term of up to 20 years. They could face additional hate crime charges as well, depending on the outcome of an FBI investigation.

Nineteen-year-old Joshua Esskew, a student at Winthrop University, was beaten by a group of at least eight men at a convenience store in an April 9 attack that was filmed by a surveillance camera. When the footage was posted online, the attack gained national attention.

Esskew said he was walking to the store when someone yelled an anti0gay slur at him. He was then hit in the head with a 40-ounce malt liquor bottle and beaten and kicked for nearly 15 seconds.

Sheriff Bruce Bryant said the video helped break the case, producing a number of tips from the public. In face, members of the public provided the names of all five suspects who have been arrested.

Bryant said the FBI is turning over its findings to the U.S. Justice Department.

In the wake of the attack, an official of Winthrop University warned gay students to “act straight” when they’re off campus.

All five suspects are from York, S.C.: Cortezio Laquise Douglas, 21; Lortarius Anthony Duncan, 22 (pictured); LaJames Mitchell, 22; Darenco Markie Wilmore, 21; and Bobby Wilson, 20.


McDonald’s fires employee who videotaped beating of trans woman

The owner of a Baltimore-area McDonald’s has fired an employee who videotaped the beating of a transgender customer on April 18. More than half a million people viewed the violent attack on You Tube and other sites.

“My first and foremost concern is with the victim,” McDonald’s franchise owner Mitchell McPherson said in a statement released April 23. “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 disciplinary action might be taken against other restaurant employees as well.

The employee, Vernon Hackett, can be heard laughing along with other witnesses during the video, which also documents their failure to offer assistance as two women repeatedly kick and punch the victim in the head. When the victim appears to have a seizure after a strong blow to the head, a man’s voice warns the assailants they’d better clear out because police are on the way.

The two attackers were apparently enraged when Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, used the restaurant’s women’s room. Baltimore County police have charged a 14-year-old girl as a juvenile and an 18-year-old woman as an adult in the attack.

Equality Maryland has called on the state’s attorney general to investigate the case as a hate crime.

“It does appear that the victim was a transgender woman, and she was brutalized while people stood by and watched,” a member of Equality Maryland’s board said. “There’s no excuse for that violence under any circumstances, but we would encourage police to investigate as a hate crime.”


Following attack, college tells gay students to butch it up

In response to the brutal mob beating of a South Carolina gay teen, an official of the college he attends warned students to “act straight.”

Nineteen-year-old Joshua Esskew, a student at Winthrop University, was beaten by a group of at least eight men at a convenience store in an April 9 attack that was caught on a surveillance camera. Images of the assault were released to the public in hopes of identifying the men, reported WBTV.

Esskew said he was walking to the store when someone yelled an anti-gay slur at him.  He was in hit the head with a 40-ounce malt liquor bottle and then beaten and kicked for nearly 15 seconds.

“My first thought was that, I’ve got to let my students know so that when they are out and about in Rock Hill (where the university is located) that they, you know, act straight,” Kelly James, who teaches sociology and criminology at Winthrop University, told WBTV.

“And that’s a sad lesson in 2011 to be teaching young people,” added James, who is also the advisor for the university’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Ally League.

If identified, the attackers could face second-degree felony charges of assault and battery by a mob, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

An FBI agent told WBTV his agency is looking into the case to determine if it meets the statutes for federal hate crime charges. South Carolina doesn’t have a law that adds hate-crime enhancements for attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the wake of the attack on Esskew, several South Carolina lawmakers have announced plans to reintroduce a hate crimes bill in the state’s house of representatives.


Wis. pastor charged with beating infants for disobedience

The pastor and seven members of a small fundamentalist Christian church near Mazomanie, Wis., have been arrested on charges of child abuse for beating infantsphilip_caminitti as young as two months old with wooden rods, reported AOL News.

Philip Caminiti, 53, pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church in Black Earth, and his brother, John Caminiti, 45, pleaded innocent to a dozen counts of child abuse last week. The alleged victims range in age from infancy to 6 years old, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s office.

“During interviews with detectives, Phil expressed his belief that the Bible dictates the use of a rod over a hand to punish children. He stated that children only a few months old are ‘worthy’ of the rod and that by ‘one and a half months,’ a child is old enough to be spanked,” according to the sheriff’s office release.

“Throughout the investigation, the church members were open with detectives about their ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ philosophy. They described using wooden dowels and wooden spoons on the bare skin of children, starting as young as 2 months old,” the sheriff’s office said.

The pastor told deputies that the Bible prescribes the punishment for infants who are “being emotional, grumpy or crying.”

Six church members charged in the case also pleaded innocent.

According to the sheriff’s office, the wooden dowels used to beat the infants were 12-18 inches long with a diameter about the size of a quarter. Former church members who brought the complaint to the attention of authorities told detectives that “redness and bruising” were the “common effects of the spankings.”

The children often were punished when they cried or failed to sit still during church services, a former church member told authorities. “Phil was very strict about children being quiet during church,” the complaint states.

John Caminiti told investigators in November that he does not allow his family to communicate with people outside his religious beliefs and has punished his wife and son by confining them to their rooms until they corrected their disobedience, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

None of the children of people charged in these cases has been removed from their parents’ homes.