In a legal challenge that raises questions about corporate responsibility, a California teenager’s mother is suing McDonald’s, alleging the fast-food chain failed to prevent her daughter’s assault at one of its locations.
The disturbing event, involving 13-year-old Kassidy Jones and 31-year-old Ariana Lauifi, occurred in Harbor City and was captured on video, sparking public outrage.
Jones visited the McDonald’s with friends after school only to be attacked by Lauifi, resulting in a harrowing scene of violence. The video, which swiftly circulated online, shows Jones being pulled, punched, and taunted, while onlookers — instead of stepping in — chose to record the incident.
UPDATE: Today, Protesters to Target LA Area McDonald’s Where Kassidy Jones (13) was Beaten by Grown Woman. Adult McDonald’s employees had an obligation under California AB 1422 to intervene or call police to stop the beating. More Info: https://t.co/zB8vWbnWCW https://t.co/aFUYeCexsH pic.twitter.com/hnsBEwAFyN
— Faith M. Jackson-🐦⬛🟦🟧 (@kissedbythesun) September 16, 2023
McDonald’s, responding to the troubling story, announced their cooperation with law enforcement, with the franchise owner, Tawnie Blade, pointing out that the police were called by employees. However, the family’s attorney, Toni Jaramilla, disputes McDonald’s claim of due diligence, arguing that the attack was preventable and criticizing the staff’s failure to act more decisively.
Jones’ mother, Angelina Gray, has expressed her shock at the staff’s inaction during her daughter’s assault, calling for businesses to ensure the safety of their patrons, particularly when those businesses are frequented by young people.
SHOCKING TEEN ATTACK: Family members and community leaders are calling for justice after a 13-year-old was attacked and beaten inside a Lomita McDonald's, an incident that was captured in a now-viral video. https://t.co/BZieIUIo5L pic.twitter.com/LaGzmqWVfH
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 18, 2023
As the courts consider McDonald’s responsibility, the lawsuit has sparked a broader discussion on what measures should be taken by private entities in emergency situations. While Lauifi’s arrest addresses individual accountability, the case against McDonald’s examines the wider implications for the safety measures companies should be expected to enforce.
The case comes amid a social climate where the safety of public spaces is under intense scrutiny. As Jones recovers, her experience is a rallying cry for a societal reevaluation.
On a moral level, it’s clear that the onlookers fell short of protecting a child from an older and larger aggressor. But on a public policy level, what kind of expectations should society have of the public places they go and the security provided — when police are unable to provide that security?