Harbor City, California—The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has reduced charges against a 32-year-old woman, who assaulted a Black teenager inside McDonald’s last month. The move has sparked controversy, with the girl’s mother demanding the office reinstate a felony count that was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Ariana Lauifi was captured fighting 13-year-old Kassidy Jones on viral video footage shared to social media. At one point, Lauifi got on-top of Kassidy, knocking her in the face several times before her husband finally intervened.
The video caused outrage and a protests outside the McDonald’s, calling on the public’s help with Lauifi’s apprehension. She was finally identified and arrested Oct. 2, with the mother of 7 initially booked on Felony child abuse charges.
While the Black community expressed outrage over Kassidy’s assault, a distinct shift in tone emerged among non-Black individuals online, raising significant concerns about the presence of anti-Black sentiments that impact Black youth.
A troubling consensus from non-Black people who themselves were parents, suggested that Kassidy deserved to be assaulted by a grown woman, who was three times her size and a mother. There was no grace offered to Jones, and a grown woman was immediately vindicated in the minds of those who applauded Lauifi’s actions.
George Gascon’s office now says new evidence and previously unseen video has caused them to lower the charges, supporting and giving credibility to the lack of regard for Black youth in Los Angeles.
A misdemeanor charge seems too lenient and like a slap on the wrist for Lauifi, when an adult engaged in a prolonged assault on a teen lacks justification.
Imagine a scenario where a Black woman is caught on camera fighting a teenager. Online reactions would immediately echo disapproval of such behavior, without room for “understanding” or “consideration” for the motive behind the attack.
Despite Gascon’s efforts to reevaluate cases involving youth offenders in Los Angeles, concerns arise over the perception that 13-year-old Kassidy is deemed to have engaged in mutual combat with an adult woman.
This decision inadvertently perpetuates biases against Black youth, sending a concerning message about their value in Los Angeles.
In a statement released by the D.A’s office following Lauifi’s court appearance this week, they highlight high levels of victimization that Black women and girls face in L.A County.
“The most senior members of the division carefully examined the evidence in this case, including previously unseen video footage of the assault & determined a felony was not the appropriate charge. The disproportionate victimization of Black women & girls is something our office takes very seriously & to suggest otherwise is offensive.”
The comments from George Gascon’s office are deeply offensive and a form of gaslighting.
They claim to take the cases involving Black women and girls seriously, while at the same time dismissing concerns and suggesting that any skepticism is offensive. Angelina Gray says that she remains “undeterred to get justice” for her daughter.
“A misdemeanor charge sends a message that the lives and safety of young Black girls don’t really matter to those in power. Kassidy is a 4.0 honor roll student who has suffered tremendous pain and is still undergoing tremendous trauma.”