I received the following notification from Change.org and it is re-printed here in its entirety:
Hate crime at McDonald’s caught on video: Hold employees and assailants accountable
Sign the Petition
On Friday, Adrian Leigh Cowan of Baltimore started a petition on Change.org, speaking out in response to a shocking online video of a transgender woman being brutally beaten at a local McDonald’s.
As Adrian told our team of organizers, “I was moved to start this petition because when I first viewed the video, I was brought to tears. How anyone could stand by and allow this to happen is unfathomable to me.” More than 30,000 Change.org members had the same reaction, and joined Adrian in signing the petition.
If you haven’t watched the horrifying video of this hate crime, please click this link (WARNING: Video contains extremely graphic violence). Then add your name to Adrian’s petition calling on McDonald’s and Maryland authorities to hold those involved accountable.
If you would prefer not to watch the video posted by Adrian, you should know what it documents: A 22-year-old transgender woman is pulled out of a McDonald’s bathroom and viciously beaten by two customers. She is punched, knocked to the ground, dragged across the floor by her hair, and kicked in the face until she appears to experience a seizure.
Instead of coming to this woman’s assistance, one McDonald’s employee filmed the assault while others can be heard cheering the assailants on as they attack the victim. After the brutal incident, the video was posted to the Internet, where an employee bragged that the assault was OK because the victim “was a man dressed like a woman.”
Sadly, this attack is a reminder of the rampant harassment and discrimination that transgender people face every day. Nationwide, more than half of all transgender people experience verbal or physical abuse when trying to access public accommodations like restrooms. Brutal acts of violence are all too common — and authorities often fail to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
Not surprisingly, McDonald’s lacks standard policies for protecting transgender individuals, despite a decent record of workplace discrimination protections for gays and lesbians. And while the company has pledged to “take appropriate action” against all employees involved in this heinous event, just one has been punished.
Please join Adrian Leigh Cowan in demanding that McDonald’s and Maryland authorities hold accountable both the assailants in this beating and the employees who cheered it on — and to make sure that an attack like this never happens again:
We can’t let this brutal hate crime in Maryland go unpunished. Thank you for taking action today.
– Eden and the Change.org team
Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.
copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski