Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Salem McDonald's worker wanted in brutal videotaped beating

Police have issued an arrest warrant for a Salem, N.J., McDonald's employee accused of brutally assaulting a woman Tuesday night as the victim's toddler son tried to intervene.

A video of the assault was posted to Facebook but has since been removed, police said.

Investigators are looking for 25-year-old Latia Harris. Harris was last employed by the McDonald's on East Broadway and has not reported to work since the attack, according to investigators.

Police said it happened around 7 p.m. in an open field between the McDonald's and the Harvest Point Apartments on Grieves Parkway.

The video, which investigators were able to secure after it was posted to social media, shows the victim falling to the ground as a woman dressed in what appears to be a McDonald's uniform kneels on her chest and pummels her in the face.

The victim's toddler son can be seen crying for the attacker to stop while trying to kick her in the shins. The suspect shoots back, "you better get your son before I kick him in the f-----g face."

She then spits on the victim and walks away while asking those taping the incident not to post it online.

Several bystanders were caught on camera recording the beating with their cell phones instead of calling authorities.

Police were reportedly alerted to the attack by a phone call from the guardhouse outside the apartment complex.

Responding officers found the victim disoriented, confused and covered in blood. She told investigators that she had been assaulted by a McDonald's employee named Tia, who accused her of spreading rumors about her and her manager, police said.

The attack left the victim with limited function in her left eye, according to a warrant for Harris' arrest. Harris is also accused of threatening to shoot the woman during the beating, the warrant states.

Salem City Police Chief John Pelura III issued a statement calling the videotaped attack "physically sickening to watch."

"Unfortunately, arrests aren't going to change anything long-term," Pelura III said. "There is a moral and social breakdown in the fabric of our society which is clearly evident when a woman gets pummeled in broad daylight in front of her child while a dozen people pull out their phones to record the incident instead of calling for help. There is so little regard for human life - by the actor and the bystanders."

Police found Harris' last known address to be vacant, Pelura III said. Investigators are working to identify family members who might be able to assist them in locating her.

Harris has been charged with aggravated assault and two counts of terroristic threats, though additional charges are possible, police said. Her bail was set at $35,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Salem City Police Department at 856-935-0057.


Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Alex Wigglesworth Philly.com
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected