Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

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CNN: DMV Employee Resigns Over Letter Condemning Customer To Hell

Well, this is relatively good news, although the outcome could have been better. CNN is reporting the following in their piece DMV Employee Resigns Over Letter Condemning Customer To Hell:

A California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee who allegedly wrote a letter to a transgender woman and condemned her to hell has resigned, officials said Thursday.

The employee, who worked for the DMV for two years, resigned Wednesday and will not receive benefits or unemployment, according to department spokesman Mike Marando.

“This in no way diminishes the severity of the situation,” Marando said, adding officials believe the DMV employee’s behavior was an isolated matter.

The attorney for the transgender woman said the employee should have been fired, instead of being allowed to resign.

Amber Yust has taken out a restraining order on Thomas Demartini, the now former DMV employee. If you read the letter from Thomas Demartini, you get an idea of why Amber took out the restraining order:

Dear _____________,

On Thursday, October 21,2010, I helped you get a driver’s license or ID card at the San Francisco DMV. I noticed that you were changing your name and had supporting documents for the change. As I recall one of those documents outlined something to do with a gender change.

Thumbnail Link: Letter Sent To Amber Yust From Former California DMV Employee Thomas DemartiniI have learned that the reason for the vast majority of gender change operations is the client’s homosexual orientation. The homosexual act is an abomination that leads to hell. “If anyone lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination: let them be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:13) “Do not err. Neither … the effeminate nor Iiers with mankind … shall posses the Kingdom of God:(l Corinthians 6:9-10). The homosexual act is one of the sins that cries to heaven for vengeance. Supporting those who commit this act and encouraging and justifying those who have the orientation also lead one to hell.

Romans 1:21-32 explains how the homosexual orientation is connected with worshiping visible things in the world rather than the One Who created them. If this orientation is the reason for an operation that has yet to occur (or is in the process), I beg you–DO NOT GO THROUGH WITH IT!

You can see that I do not support gender change operations. Consider Genesis 1:21: “Male and female he [God] created them”; and then Leviticus 19:28″: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh.” Jesus clearly prohibits gender change operations. If an operation like this is the reason for changing one’s name, then one has made a very evil decision.

Although I helped you with the name change, I have to say I do not support the reason for it if it relates to the above. If it does I must say I do not approve of this name change, and I also do not believe the state’s recognition of it through official documents-makes it legitimate or any less evil

Please take a look at www.vaticancatholic.com. This website has critical information for your salvation and much more on many other topics.

In Charity,

Thomas

Someone who engages in the kind of behavior that Demartini is alleged to have engaged in shouldn’t be allowed to resign, but instead he should have been be fired. In my opinion, the California DMV should have fired Demartini if their inquiry verified he sent the letter — that, to me, would have been a more optimal outcome. Specifically culling out a woman who is from a protected class due to her gender identity should be treated in the harshest manner — especially since Demartini has a history of not treating transgender people with dignity and respect — he’s apparently has previously engaged in antitransgender behavior on the job at the DMV.

Basically, how Amber Yust is alleged to have been mistreated is beyond the pale unacceptable. The perpetrator of any kind of discrimination against someone who belongs to a protected class should be fired, not be allowed to resign.

~~~~~

Related:

* Transphobia As An Apparent Government Function

*California DMV Employee Tells Trans Woman In Letter She’s Made A “Very Evil Decision”
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Christine O’Donnell’s Formerly “Ex-Gay” Employee Speaks Out


(Via JMG reader Dennis)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

CONNECTICUT: Nine Dead In Workplace Massacre By Disgruntled Employee

Eight people were shot and killed this morning at a Manchester, Connecticut wholesale alcohol distributor, where a truck driver for the company opened fire on an office full of workers. The gunman is dead, but reports conflict over whether he was shot by police or took his own life.

Sources said Omar S. Thornton, 34, was a driver for Hartford Distributors and was described by a Teamsters Union official as a recent hire and a “disciplinary problem.” “The union was bringing him in to meet with the company to remedy the problem,” said John Hollis, a Teamsters official. “He started shooting.” Thornton shot a number of people and then shot himself with a .223 caliber semiautomatic rifle as police approached and is dead, sources said. Two people were shot outside the building and five were shot inside, police sources said. Hollis declined to describe the nature of the disciplinary problem, and he said he wasn’t certain if the meeting had taken place when the shooting started. A law enforcement source said Thornton had been suspected of stealing from the business.

Another sterling example of the Second Amendment in action!

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

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