Crime | Maryland | Transgender

Transgender Woman Brutally Beaten In Baltimore

Two teen girls are under arrest for brutally attacking a 22-year-old transgendered woman at a McDonald's in Baltimore earlier this week. A 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile and charges are still pending for an 18-year-old who was also involved in the attack. A restaurant employee recorded the awful assault on his cell phone.

Mc According to the police report: "(the victim) told police that she was walking to the restaurant’s bathroom when she 'got into a verbal argument with two black females” who “began punching her in the face with their fists and pulling her hair.'"

WBAL reports on details of the video:

"The video shows the two culprits punching and kicking the victim. There is then a scene with one of the women dragging the victim across the floor, ripping what appears to be hair extensions or a wig from her head. On the video, you can hear at least one employee yelling for the attack to stop. Police charging documents show that another person tried to intervene and break up the assault, but the women punched her in the face, causing her to fall over. Police said that woman declined medical assistance...The man who shot the video appeared to have done nothing to help. On the video, he's heard telling the attackers that the victim is seizing and that police were on the way."

McDonald's employee Vernon Hackett, who instead of attempting to stop the assault, filmed the incident on his cell phone and later uploaded it on to his now deleted YouTube channel.

The Smoking Gun has screencaps of messages concerning the incident from Hackett's Facebook page, which has also since been deleted. One of the posts reads:

"That Was Not A Female That Was Getting Beat Up....That Was A Man....He Was Dressed Lik A Woman...And He Was In Tha Females Bathroom Knowing He Was A Man....And When Told To Get Out Tha ladies Bathroom He Got Smart With Everybody So Tha Two Girls Beat Him Up"

Equality Maryland has called for the attack to be pursued as a hate crime: "It does appear that the victim was a transgender woman, and she was brutalized while people stood by and watched...There's no excuse for that violence under any circumstances, but we would encourage police to investigate as a hate crime."

You may recall that the Maryland's gender identity bill was killed in the state senate earlier this month.

McDonald’s has issued a statement: "We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling. McDonald’s strives to be a safe, welcoming environment for everyone who visits. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of customers and employees in our restaurants. We are working with the franchisee and the local authorities to investigate this matter."

A copy of the police report is here.

Watch the savage attack (wherein the victim apparently suffers a seizure), AFTER THE JUMP.

Update: Hackett's been fired.

View more videos at:


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  1. All of the employees who did nothing deserve to be fired. If it were not for the brave woman who stopped the attackers from dragging her outside, these savages may have stopped at nothing and killed her. Who cares what equipment the person using the restroom has if they are not bothering you. I dont fully agree that this is just a cultural issue. The woman who ultimately stopped the attack was white. The people attacking, filming, laughing and providing verbal encouragment for them fleeing the police were not, just like in the case of the guy in South Carolina being attacked by eight people. It is easier to hate/violate someone who does not look like you, transgendered, racially etc and that too should be addresssed.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 23, 2011 3:25:30 PM

  2. Ratbastard, The girls are teenagers in Baltimore, one of the poorest and most crime infested areas in the United States! Most of Baltimore is poverty, drug addicts, and ignorance. All of this ignorance will bring uncivilize behavior. But, don't race bait.

    Because if I have too, I could visit and present evidence from past archive files!!!

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Apr 23, 2011 3:31:19 PM

  3. You're not legally required to step in to stop a fight. The courts don't generally try to settle he-said-he-said disputes about who started a fight, so defend yourself if you need to. Unless someone presses charges there will probably be no citation (depends on the mood of the police though). Unless we know what happened in the restroom it's hard to say why the fight happened. Also, we don't know if drugs or alcohol was involved. Videotape is only part of the total evidence chain and a proper investigation needs to take place. Andy is perfectly content with mob justice on this sight as long as it's racial neutral it seems.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 23, 2011 3:32:18 PM

  4. "sight" should have been "website" of course.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 23, 2011 3:33:02 PM

  5. This was indeed an unfortunate incident. Everyone involved deserves their own share of blame and condemnation. However, I resent the propaganda that says we are all the same. I am a proud gay man, and I do not want to change genders, and no, I do not want to destroy all gender separations in sociey - in fact I like them, and they have worked well for many years.

    Posted by: milpert | Apr 23, 2011 3:39:19 PM

  6. @Mel,

    I'm well aware what kind of place Baltimore is; I've been there many times. It is a VERY dangerous, VIOLENT crime infested, 'Poor' city, with a HUMONGOUS drug addiction and drug trafficking problem.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 23, 2011 3:42:10 PM

  7. That may be true, Mike, but then we have to investigate why a person would feel that way, that they have so much anger towards someone for the color of their skin or their gender identity. And it's not because they're black. It's because they have been societally conditioned into ignorant and destructive ways of thinking. Most black people condemn this crime and others like it. That's why this isn't a race issue.

    Since the comments are quickly degenerating as expected, I'm going to avoid this thread and send my well wishes to the victim.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 23, 2011 3:47:57 PM

  8. @ratbastard

    Please don't respond emotionally. I'm not suggesting anyone videotape their own beating. Straw man, etc.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Apr 23, 2011 3:59:53 PM

  9. @ Ratbastard: Which bathroom to use for pre-op (but maybe taking hormones) or post-op is a legitimate topic for discussion, but it might not be relevant to this case. The police interview with the victim indicate that the victim was "walking to the bathroom". The video doesn't show the victim leaving the bathroom, which makes it look like she never made it inside the bathroom. If this is true, her attackers had no way of knowing whether she was pre-op or post-op. Vernon Hackett contradicts that on his Facebook page by saying that it started when all three were already inside the bathroom. Hopefully, Hackett wasn't the only witness.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 23, 2011 4:36:06 PM

  10. I don't want to imply that the transgender had no legal recourse if she actually entered the bathroom. All photo IDs and driver's licenses include the person's gender. That should be good enough for any store manager or police officer (which is probably why the police report referred to the victim as female). Even if someone is using a bathroom that is inconsistent with the gender on their photo ID, you respond by complaining to the manager, not physically attacking the person. The attackers need to go to jail in either case.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 23, 2011 4:49:41 PM

  11. @Francis, well written. I agree.
    Horrible and I hope the victim will get help and one day will be able to contine to live safely.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Apr 23, 2011 5:43:12 PM

  12. @MIKE B.,

    Sorry, how was my post 'Emotional'? I don't follow you.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 23, 2011 5:46:35 PM

  13. The staff who just stood around should all be fired. It's not hard to replace them. A message should be sent that when something like this happens, you stop it. You get in between the victim and the attackers, particularly when they repeatedly leave and come back. That store should be liable for any expenses as a result of this easily-preventable beat-down.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 23, 2011 5:59:04 PM

  14. @Ratbastad

    Your comments are indeed HIGHLY transphobic, and even I can see that plain as day as a gay male who knows relatively little about the transgender community.

    I personally am offended by your pronoun usage of "he/she". Please read GLAAD's media guide for a decent overview of how they suggest the media writes about the transgender community without being offensive.

    Posted by: deppy | Apr 23, 2011 6:05:35 PM

  15. You gotta love Yahoo. They excuse censoring this video because it is "shocking and disgusting". Well what is the Zapruder film of President Kennedy having his head blown off but a shocking and disgusting vidoe and yet the American people have seen that murder replayed over and over and over again.

    Posted by: Keith | Apr 23, 2011 6:08:19 PM

  16. Milpert,

    "Everyone involved deserves their own share of blame and condemnation"? I see nothing in the video or the text indicating that the victim deserves any blame or condemnation at all. Also, nobody (including "the propaganda") is saying that you want to change your gender or your sex. We ARE all the same in that we are all human beings despite having different sexes, genders, gender presentations, and sexual orientations. Specifically, what you have in common with transgender individuals is your deviation from the mythical, heterosexist idea that everyone should either be 100% male, male-identified, and attracted only to women or 100% female, female-identified. and attracted only to men. You and a trans person are both sexual minorities, albeit in different ways, and you both face oppression and discrimination as a result.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Apr 23, 2011 6:09:06 PM

  17. Typical savage behaviour. The staff laughing and filming the violence are just as bad as the two hood rats throwing the punches. These people come from and promote a culture where thuggery is praised, and the civility and the rule of law are ignored.
    Sick and tired of my tax dollars going to feed and educate these mongrels.

    Posted by: Cowboy | Apr 23, 2011 6:33:30 PM

  18. Please recognize before jumping and immediately attacking "ratbastard" that this is a huge part of the problem within the LGBT and, in fact, social justice community.

    People simply don't know the appropriate language to use, because, it can be, for many people, jargon. An elevated language-set specific to people particularly educated or prone to a specific community. Get to the motives behind the language and provide people like ratbastard, and many of our heterosexual/gender-normative allies, with the language, so that they too can feel confident further educating others and defending victims.

    Many within the gay community still need these tools, and while we should take it upon ourselves to educate ourselves about the many diverse communities within the LGBT movement, not all people know where, or how, to do so.

    Stop attacking those of us on the same side over language, when it's clear the motives are pure. Correct, support, and provide with the tools necessary."

    Nothing infuriated me more during undergrad than the more militant individuals of our community constantly destroying those who accidentally, ignorantly, or inadvertently use inappropriate "language."

    Quit engaging in apologetics for RatBastard, it isn't just that Ratbastard isn't using "appropriate" language. He's using degrading, insulting and oppressive language that hurts me, a trans woman. Not only did he use insulting language, he disrespected the person's gender identity by say she didn't belong in the bathroom.

    Ratbastard's special pleading that he "didn't know" what was hurtful language doesn't matter. I don't care if he had the best intent ever, he simply didn't care enough about trans people to figure out what was insulting or not. Which indicates he just doesn't care enough to be bothered.

    Quite trying to dictate how I feel, or how I react to people who essentially pit in my face and expect some slack when they find out that it's wrong to spit in people's faces. It's not my job to educate Ratbastard how to treat me as a human being.

    If you really cared about social jusitce instead guarding the fragile sensibilities of bigots, you'd understand that. People who think I shouldn't be able to go into the bathrooms that I have a right to access are not "on my side" and as bad as Pat Robertson in my book.

    Posted by: missanthrope | Apr 23, 2011 6:35:09 PM

  19. This on-site video is filmed of a fight that takes place with the encouragement and cajoles of the onlookers who, rather than step in or call the police, encourage them to get away before the police come. There is a lot wrong here. It is all worthy of discussion.

    There seems to be a double standard at play here in the general commentary on this site and in general in our culture. If the victim is black and the assailant white, there seems to be no problem calling race into question. In fact, not only is it done, it is course de rigueur. However, when the situation is in the inverse, it is somehow race baiting to ask the same questions?

    @Mel: Talk about stereotyping and excuse making. Would you be as sympathetic if the attackers were white and savagely beating a black woman. If the white attackers were from the meth ravaged, low-income, underprivileged, under-educated backwoods? I bet not. You should question your own views on race instead of auto-correcting those of others.

    @Question: almost invariably features videos of whites being beaten by blacks. The tone is almost always condoning of it (if not encouraging). Violence is acceptable here and violence against (insert anti-white pejorative) is doubly so because (insert false logic).

    Posted by: GAYLY | Apr 23, 2011 6:40:44 PM

  20. @ Deppy & Missanthrope,

    Thanks, Deppy, for the link to GLAAD's definition's about gender identity and gender expression; it coincides with my initial understanding. This is important if anyone ever wants to see the current trans-inclusive ENDA pass. The majority of Republicans have a long history of turning ENDA bills into "bathroom bills". You don't have to guess about this; it's the well-documented Republican Party method of operation. The Republican argument is that the current ENDA bill will create complete chaos in public and corporate bathroom facilities.

    The mission for our side (if we choose to accept it) is to rebut that argument and show that public and corporate bathroom facilities can function in an orderly way with a transgender-inclusive ENDA in place. The GLAAD webpage that you mentioned says that transition "is not a one-step procedure" and involves, among other things, "changing one's name and/or sex on legal documents" (such as the photo ID that police officers always request when they arrive). This is a counter-argument against the Republican Party claim that the current ENDA would produce chaos.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 23, 2011 6:43:52 PM

  21. @ Gayly,

    Your quote: "If the victim is black and the assailant white, there seems to be no problem calling race into question. In fact, not only is it done, it is course de rigueur."

    I disagree. I don't think that reasonable people criticize anyone for calling a homophobic incident just plain homophobic, regardless of the race of the victim and attacker. If they did, it would trivialize homophobia, don't you think? I think that playing the race card (based on whatever personal agenda) really *does* trivialize homophobia. In other words, you shouldn't do it.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 23, 2011 7:00:57 PM

  22. @ Gayly again,

    And if you'll look at the first page of comments, Andy Towle even asked "pretty please".

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 23, 2011 7:10:04 PM

  23. @ratbastard

    I do not mean you ill will and I think you are trying to understand the nuances here. Someone who is male-to-female (or female-to-male) transgender/transexual and is not post op is in transition. Sometimes we need to use a public restroom. Sometimes laws and societal mores don't allow us that convenience, and this episode seems to be an example of that.

    Hang in there and we all can learn things about one another.

    Posted by: JakeSFExPat | Apr 23, 2011 7:11:56 PM

  24. @ Cowboy

    You assume because they are black that they must be on food stamps or other welfare programs?

    Would you refer to a white person as a "mongrel"?

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 23, 2011 7:40:53 PM

  25. I find it funny that if they were Christians, or Mormons, or Republicans, we could all blame the behavior on the subset of society they belong to and no one would be here censoring the comments. I can say that with confidence because Mr. Towle himself does it all day, every day, right on this site.

    But god forbid we identify these two clearly upstanding and dignified young ladies by the subset of society they clearly belong to. Because to identify them as such would clearly be to victimize them. How hypocritical and sad are you people that you can't make the distinction?

    Posted by: Kyle | Apr 23, 2011 8:16:17 PM

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