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Sunday, April 24, 2011

McDonald's employee who filmed girl being beaten until she had a seizure is fired as fast food giant goes into damage control

By Paul Bentley

-Restaurant owner says action may be taken against other staff
-McDonald's says incident is 'disturbing and troubling'
-Police consider charging black girls with racist hate crime

The Baltimore County McDonald's at the centre of a scandal, after footage of the violent beating of a customer on its premises went viral, has sacked the employee who filmed the attack.

Rosedale franchise owner Mitchel McPherson made the announcement today, saying employee Vernon Hackett was no longer employed by the fast food chain.

Mr McPherson said: 'My first and foremost concern is with the victim. I'm as shocked and disturbed by this assault as anyone would be. The behaviour displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible.'

Mr McPherson added that action might also be taken against other restaurant workers.
The shocking footage, where the 22-year-old victim is brutally beaten to the point of having a seizure, happened on April 18.

The attack was believed to have been sparked after an argument over using a bathroom in the restaurant.

'It does appear that the victim was a transgender woman, and she was brutalised while people stood by and watched,' Lisa Polyak, vice president of the board of directors for Equality Maryland, told the Baltimore Sun.

The LGBT group is now calling on police to investigate the attack as a hate crime.

During the brutal attack, which lasted for several minutes, the white victim was repeatedly kicked in the head and stamped on by two black girls in the fast food store.

Staff stood by and even laughed as the attackers grabbed the victim's hair and dragged her across the floor.

Shocking: girl is brutally beaten until she has a seizure

Brutal: The girl suffers blow after blow while staff duck out of the way, right

After shocking footage of the assault spread across the internet, with one site alone receiving 450,000 views by mid-afternoon, police said a 14-year-old girl had been charged as a juvenile, while charges were pending against an 18-year-old woman.

While the incident remains under investigation, local police told the Baltimore Sun they were looking into whether or not there was racist motivation.

State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said hate crime charges were being considered.

'If there is evidence that the crime was racially motivated, we will take a look at those charges and see if we meet those elements. We have the ability, if the facts are there, to upgrade the charges at a later date,' Shellenberger said.

Seizure: The girl shakes on the floor uncontrollably after the attack

Police said the victim had suffered cuts to her mouth and face but was in 'fair' condition.

According to a police report, one of the suspects said that the fight was 'with a woman over using a bathroom'.

The horrifying video of the attack shows the black girls repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on the victim before briefly leaving the store.

The girl manages to get up briefly before they return, again punching and kicking her to the floor.

Scene: The McDonald's in Rosedale where the shocking attack took place

At one point they try to drag the victim outside to the parking lot - and it takes the intervention of an old woman eating in the store to stop them.

After threatening to hit the older woman as well, the girls continue heavily pounding the victim, until, bleeding, she starts to have a seizure by the front door of the restaurant.

The attackers are warned by an employee to flee before authorities are finally called as onlookers realise that 'she needs help right now'.

While one member of staff makes a half-hearted attempt to stop the attack - occasionally shouting 'stop' at the girl - the rest idly stand by, watching the assault indifferently.

Hackett raised the ire of his employers after claiming credit for filming the video on his Facebook account, which he has since taken down.

At one point he can be heard laughing hysterically at the violence in front of him.

McDonald's have slammed the incident as 'unacceptable, disturbing and troubling'.

The video emerged yesterday on music website worldstarhiphop.com and has sparked fierce debate about the inaction of the McDonald's staff.

One visitor to the site last night commented: 'Where the heck were the employees? This is crazy and sad.'

Another added: 'Worst management ever.'

On another site, a viewer wrote: The female 'animals' need to be apprehended, and charged with attempted murder... the victim needs to sue McDonald's for everything they are worth.'

Others, however, argue that it would have been dangerous for the employees to have intervened.

Warning: Video contains graphic images and profanity



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