The woman who repeatedly kicked, punched and dragged a 22-year-transgender woman across a Baltimore McDonald’s floor in April was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.
Nineteen-year-old Teonna Monae Brown tearfully apologized in court. Last month, Brown pled guilty to first-degree assault and a hate crime in the beating of Chrissy Lee Polis, who is 22. “I’m sorry. My mother did not raise me like this. I would really like to apologize to the victim, Miss Chrissy Polis,” she said.
The brutal attack captured the attention of the nation after a video — taken by a McDonald’s worker who actually egged on the assault as he videotaped — went viral online.
Polis, who was beaten so severely that she did not show up in court for the sentencing, sent a letter to the judge instead. It read, in part:
I felt like I was going to die that day. I continue to suffer seizures, bouts of crying, mental anguish and anxiety. I fear being alone. I have flashbacks about the attacks. I do not forgive them for what they did to me.
The attack has also become a rallying story for the transgender community, which says the sentence for Brown is too lenient.
“The whole incident is unfortunate and demonstrates the lack of knowledge and understanding, and discrimination against transgender people,” Patrick Wojahn, board president of the Equality Maryland Foundation, told the Baltimore Sun. “If anything, five years may have been too short of an amount of time for the attack and the amount of hatred that was shown in the incident.”
Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull II called Brown's attack “absolutely outrageous” and called the prosecutors' sentencing recommendation “more than reasonable.”