The woman who viciously, violently, and repeatedly beat a transgender woman into a seizure at a Baltimore McDonald’s in April has received only a five-year sentence for a crime so heinous the video went viral.Â Teonna Monae Brown, 18, was caught on tape, along with a minor, kicking, beating, and dragging by her hair Chrissy Lee Polis, while McDonald’s employees watched, filmed the attack with a cell phone camera, and did little to stop the assault, which was so violent Polis, after being dragged from the back of the restaurant to the front door, suffered a dramatic seizure. The attack lasted a total of at least three minutes, during which time Brown and the minor left but returned to beat Polis again.
Note: Our original story, along with video of the violent assault, and the graphic images can be seen here, but we caution they are intense and not suitable for some viewers.Â
Teonna Monae Brown was sentence to five years, of a possible maximum 35-year sentence. Polis, 22, days later called the attack “a hate crime.” It took the Baltimore District Attorney’s office one month to decide to prosecute the assault as a hate crime.
The Baltimore Sun today reports “Brown, who tearfully apologized in court Tuesday, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with five years suspended, plus three years of supervised probation, as prosecutors sought. The maximum sentence for the crimes is 35 years.”
Baltimore CountyÂ Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull II called Brown’s attack on Polis “absolutely outrageous behavior” and said the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation was “more than reasonable.”
After the sentencing, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said that “it was very important that even though this defendant has no criminal record, that she receive substantial time in jail.” He said the violence of the repeated assaults warranted it.
“‘This is the harshest penalty I have ever seen handed down to an 18-year-old first-time offender in a case of assault’,” Timothy Knepp, Brown’s lawyer, said later, according to The Sun. “He called the case ‘a tragic set of circumstances that was really overblown by the state’s attorney’s office’.”
Apparently, the court was not told thatÂ Brown was arrested last year for assault in the exact same McDonaldâ€™s.
“No punishment can undo what happened to Chrissy Lee Polis, or make the trauma that the transgender community experienced from witnessing her attack go away,” Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, told The New Civil Rights Movement.Â “This sentence reminds us that hate-motivated violence is still a part of everyday life for transgender people. We hope that the sentence provides a measure of justice and peace to Chrissy and her family and friends, and that it sends a message that attacks on transgender people will not be tolerated.”
The Sun adds,
Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Cogen said Polis was too upset to come to court.
In an emotional statement submitted to the court, Polis wrote that she did not forgive Brown and her 14-year-old companion for the attack. She described a demeaning attack in which Brown and the younger girl spat on her, called her names, kicked her and pulled out her hair.
“While being beaten, I felt like I was going to die that day,” Polis wrote. After the beatings, her epilepticÂ seizures, which had stopped for a year, started again and became more frequent, she added.
She has suffered emotional damage as well, Polis wrote.
“My private life has been exposed to the world. I lost my job. I cannot go anywhere without the fear of getting hurt again,” Polis wrote. “I want to go into a hole and hide.”
Polis wrote that she has been diagnosed withÂ post-traumatic stress disorderÂ and suffers from sleep problems, anguish, fear of being alone, bouts of crying and anxiety. She has been admitted twice to a crisis center.
Vicky Thoms, 55, a bystander who was punched in the face when she tried to intervene in the beating, attended the sentencing. Afterward, she said she did not know if justice was served, but hoped that Brown and others would take away a message about the world needing more love and less violence.
She has also had difficulty coping with the experience. “It’s hard to go outside,” she said. “I never dreamed that I would see anything like that in my life.”
Exactly one week before the hate crime beating, the Maryland Senate effectively killed the Gender Identity Non-â€‹Discrimination Bill, also known asÂ HBÂ 235, which would have protected transgender people in housing, banking, and employment.Â While the bill would have had no direct impact on this incident, the Maryland Senate sent Maryland citizens aÂ strong message by killing theÂ bill.
This case brought national attention to the tremendous rate of violence perpetrated upon transgender citizens. Sadly, that attention has not reduced the violence. Washington, D.C. based MetroWeekly Tuesday published an extensive report, including a list of attacks, shootings, and murders of transgender people in the Washington, D.C. area, totaling at least a dozen over just the past few months.
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‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert
Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.
Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.
As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”
According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.
“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.
“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”
“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”
Watch below or at the link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’
U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.
“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”
Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.
“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”
Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.
Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”
“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”
“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”
“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”
In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”
“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”
“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.
“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Image via Shutterstock
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