(CINCINNATI, OH) — Two sisters were stripped naked, beaten and robbed outside a Cincinnati housing complex last week, and video of the attack was posted on Facebook.
Cincinnati police arrested one woman, but said they are working to find six to eight others responsible for the attack Saturday near Craft Street in Winton Hills.
The video lasts about a minute and a half and shows the assailants removing the clothes from two women restrained on the ground.
The attackers then begin to kick, slap and punch the sisters, as others watch in the background and record video with their smartphones.
One person after another jumps in to join the assault. One of the women is seen kicking another woman in the face.
Police arrested Kianna McMeans and charged her with two counts of aggravated robbery after the attack. An arrest warrant has been issued for Jakeda Phillips.
Authorities said Phillips stomped on a victim’s head before taking her purse and other items.
The department has identified two other women – Lashawnda Jones, 24, and Geawnna Higgins, 23, both of whom live on Winneste Avenue – they believe were involved in the attack.
McMeans was arraigned Friday morning where one charge of aggravated robbery against her was dropped. Though she was not originally jailed, the judge said after hearing the whole story he wanted her locked up and set her bail at $50,000.
Her lawyer argued she should be released because she has six children to take care of all under the age of 11.
The judge denied that request saying the case is more serious than he first thought, and he made that decision based on the video evidence.
McMeans’ mother claims all of the women involved are friends. She said her daughter was actually helping the victims before the fight started.
“She goes to work every day, she has her own place her own car her own everything. What does she need to steal from them for when she bought them clothing to wear out to the club? They had no money, they didn’t even have a ride to get to the club — she went and got them,” Bunise McMeans said.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 7.
Near the end of the video, one of the victims is able to stand up with no clothes while the other remains face down, unconscious in the grass.
One of the victims, a 21-year-old woman, told WCPO she thought she was going to die.
“They just start swinging. First we were just tussling, then it became too much to fight back so then I just started to shield my face,” she said. “I was getting my head stomped in… I feared for my life. I thought I was gonna’ die right there in that dirt.”
The woman said she and her sister were jumped by a group of women from her old neighborhood.
She said she was so dizzy, she couldn’t tell she was being recorded by the crowd around her.
“At first I could see a glimpse of people,” she said. “I was stomped out basically. After that I don’t remember anything. I don’t remember the people. I just remember voices. All I heard was, ‘Get her purse. Get that purse. She got that purse.’”
She said she and her sister are now recovering from cuts, bruises, bloody eyes and concussions.
Despite the physical pain, the 21-year-old said she is horrified and humiliated because video of the attack was posted and spread on social media.
“I tear up every time I see it,” she said. “(I’ve watched it) a thousand times. Every time I get on Facebook — every time I scroll down my newsfeed, I see a screengrab of me laying on the ground.”
The woman said her attackers have since contacted her, asking her not to press charges and to let the incident go. She told WCPO she will not back down from pressing charges.
Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell watched the video with WCPO’s Jason Law, and said the attack was disgusting and barbaric.
“That’s completely unacceptable. I mean that is horrific behavior,” Blackwell said. “People should be repulsed by that in Cincinnati.”
The worst part, Blackwell feels, is the number of people standing around the attack. The recorded it with their phones instead of helping the victims.
“That’s the type of behavior that is completely unacceptable and like you said, to have people watch and applaud it and cheer it on, is … you can’t even find words to explain it,” Blackwell said.
He said investigators will hunt every person in the video.
“It’s completely barbaric behavior,” Blackwell said, “and we are going to aggressively pursue criminal charges against everybody in that video without a doubt.”
“It’s unacceptable and I share your feeling that the most heartbreaking part of it is that no one intervened. No one in the crowd thought enough of those two victims to stop it. Unfortunately that lawless, reckless behavior is far to prevalent especially in many urban parts of Cincinnati.”