A young mother was brutally beaten in front of her 2-year-old son outside a South Jersey McDonald's in what may have been a fight about workplace gossip.
The assault was videotaped by a number of onlookers, but no one called 911 or stepped in to help.
U.S. & World
"I think it’s messed up no one came to my rescue," said 27-year-old Catherine Ferreira, who had a broken nose, two black eyes and a concussion after the attack. Ferreira admits she was talking about her attacker’s dating life and that’s what provoked the assault.
The two women worked together at the McDonald's.
One of the onlookers posted a 54-second video of the beating online. It shows a woman in a McDonald’s uniform and Ferreira briefly exchanging words.
"I'm trying to tell her, 'I don't want to fight you,'" Ferreira said.
Moments later, the attacker throws the young mother to the ground, sits on top of her and repeatedly punches her in the face and chest.
"Mommy!" the victim's young son cries as his mother is beaten just inches from him. The boy tries kicking the attacker several times to get her to stop, but the punches continue to fly.
The attacker then gets up and kicks the woman in the lower back before threatening the boy.
"You better get your son before I kick him in the [expletive] face too," she screams.
The fast food worker then shouts at the woman about an issue she had at her job.
"It's not over... you almost made me lose my job," the attacker says before spitting on her and walking away.
As the entire attack takes place, several other people look on and do not intervene.
Salem City Police Chief John Pelura III said officers were called to the victim's home at a nearby apartment complex Tuesday afternoon, where they found her badly bloodied.
The suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Latia Harris, allegedly accused the woman of spreading rumors about her and her restaurant manager. The beating took place in a field next to the Salem City McDonald's along East Broadway, police said.
In a statement on Thursday night, Salem City McDonald's owner Jim Burlaga said he was aware of the scuffle and is working with authorities during the investigation.
"I am extremely disturbed by this kind of behavior and it goes against the values and standards that I expect from my employees in my restaurants," he said.
Harris, who is not yet in police custody, has been charged with aggravated assault and two counts of making terroristic threats. Police say she has not shown up to work at the fast food restaurant since the assault and that her last known address was vacant.
As for the people who recorded the beating and did not intervene, Pelura said he's disgusted by their actions.
"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," he said in a statement. "There is so little regard for human life – by the actor and the bystanders."
Salem City is about 30 miles west of Vineland and 40 miles southwest of Camden.
PHOTO: McDonald's worker Latia Harris is accused of beating a woman.