McDonald’s is facing a lawsuit by the mother of a teenager who was brutally attacked by an adult in a Southern California restaurant.
Angelina Gray is suing the alleged assailant and the fast-food chain over its inaction during the unprovoked assault of her 13-year-old daughter back in September, contending that staff at the Harbor City McDonald’s “did nothing” as Kassidy Jones was targeted and attacked inside the eatery.
“I am heartbroken that my innocent daughter was beaten,” the mother said, according to Fox 11. “McDonald’s staff and managers did nothing to intervene. They all stood and watched.”
The alleged attacker, Ariana Lauifi was reportedly yelling “I fight kids,” as the teen walked into the McDonald’s location on September 6. Video showed the teen being pulled to the ground by the adult attacker who dragged her, punched the teen, and pulled her hair. Meanwhile, witnesses could be heard yelling and some were seen recording the assault but none intervened, including the restaurant’s staff.
The suspect, later identified as then-31-year-old Lauifi, was arrested three weeks later and charged with criminal child abuse, though that was later changed. At the time, McDonald’s Harbor City owner issued a statement, saying “We were horrified to learn about this violent attack, and our thoughts are with Kassidy and her family.”
“Employees called police when the fight began, and we worked closely with local law enforcement to help with their investigation,” owner Tawnie Blade added.
But, according to Gray, her daughter is still trying to recover from the incident which could have been prevented.
“McDonald’s has an obligation to provide a clean and safe place for its customers to dine. Kassidy’s injuries could have been prevented and she should have been given some form of help after the attack,” the family’s attorney, Toni Jaramilla, said. “This situation should have never happened.”
Adding insult to literal injury, although Lauifi was charged on Oct. 2 with a felony count of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reduced the charge later in the month to a misdemeanor.
“After careful review of the evidence, based on the totality of the circumstances, we’ve determined that the case does not rise to the level of a felony filing,” read a statement from the office of Los Angeles County DA George Gascón, Fox 11 reported.
This prompted Gray to reach out to Gascón, saying in a statement last month that she remains “undeterred to get justice” for Kassidy.
“A misdemeanor charge sends a message that the lives and safety of young Black girls don’t really matter to those in power,” the mother said. “Kassidy is a 4.0 honor roll student who has suffered tremendous pain and is still undergoing tremendous trauma.”
“The prosecutors in our Family Violence Division have unique training and experience in successfully prosecuting child abuse cases,” a statement from the DA’s office said. “The most senior members of the division carefully examined the evidence in this case, including previously unseen video footage of the assault, and determined that a felony was not the appropriate charge in this case. The disproportionate victimization of Black women and girls is something our office takes very seriously and to suggest otherwise is offensive.
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