Woman sought in videotaped beating of New Jersey woman in front of victim's toddler

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 4:40 PM

SALEM, N.J. — A woman kicked and pummeled a mother in front of her toddler as at least one witness recorded video but did nothing to stop the savage beating, police said Thursday.

Latia Harris, 25, of Salem, was charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threats in the Tuesday evening assault. Salem police had not located her as of Thursday afternoon.

The video shows the mother falling to the ground as a woman repeatedly punches her face, kicks her in the back and spits on her. Several people watch as the woman also threatened to attack the victim's 2-year-old son, who yelled and kicked the suspect's legs in a futile effort to stop the violence.

Police Chief John Pelura III described the video as "physically sickening to watch," and he blasted witnesses for recording the beating instead of calling for help. The footage was posted to Facebook.

"There is so little regard for human life — by the actor and the bystanders," Pelura said in a statement.

The assault took place in a field between a McDonald's and an apartment complex in Salem, a small city about 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Police received a call from the guardhouse outside the apartments and said they arrived to find the victim disoriented, confused and bleeding from the face. The victim told reporters she has a broken nose and mild concussion.

She told officers that a McDonald's employee named Tia accused her of spreading rumors about her and her manager, police said. The victim used to work at the McDonald's herself.

The owner of the franchise, Jim Burlaga, released a statement confirming the video shows one of his workers, who appeared to be wearing her fast-food uniform. Burlaga said he was "extremely disturbed" by the behavior and is cooperating with police.

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