In Custody: Latia Harris

(scroll for updates)

Police in Salem, New Jersey are searching for a woman caught on video savagely beating and stomping another woman as the victim’s 2 year old toddler watched, pleading for the attack to stop. At one point the child even attempted to intervene in the violent beating by kicking at the legs of the attacker who police say is 25 year old Latia Harris, of Salem.

Harris, who remains at large, is facing a number of charges including aggravated assault and 2 counts of making terror threats according to Salem Police Chief John J. Pelura.

“This video is physically sickening to watch,” said Pelura.


VICTIM: Catherine Ferreira

The amateur video was captured by onlookers who appeared on the scene after the incident began. The cell phone footage was posted to facebook last Tuesday evening but was quickly taken down. Luckily, authorities were later able to obtain copies of the video. Controversy has ensued as to whether the onlookers should have done more to help the victim, Catherine Ferreira, 27, also of Salem, escape her attacker instead of standing idly by recording the attack – especially considering the involvement of the child.

According to Pelura police officers were called to the scene “for a woman who was covered in blood and appeared to have been assaulted” Tuesday around 7:10 p.m. She was described as “disoriented, confused and bleeding from the face.” Ferreira quickly told police that a woman named “Tia,” who works at McDonalds, was responsible  because Ferreira had allegedly been “spreading rumors about her and her manager.”

In the video (bottom of this article) Ferreira is seen being thrown to the ground and beaten in her face and kicked in the back a combined 20 plus times by the suspect. During the beating the suspect was enraged, using a litany of foul language and at one point even threatening to kick the 2 year old child in the face.


Ferreira and her brave 2 year old son

She then spat on Ferreira and walked away, insisting those who recorded the incident not post it on facebook.

Ferreira suffered a broken nose and numerous contusions to her face and is recuperating at home following treatment at The Memorial Hospital of Salem County.

Chief Pelura said the fact that bystanders watched and recorded the incident and did nothing to stop it is sad.

“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, There is so little regard for human life — by the actor and the bystanders.”

Pelura has a simple message for Harris:

“Turn yourself in. You’ve been charged and you are going to have to face the consequences. Make it easy so you don’t have to continue to look over your shoulder (for fear of being arrested) … let’s get due process started.”

Pelura said Friday that the search for Harris has widened to multiple states. Bail has already been set for her at $35,000 cash.

“Police have been in contact with Harris’ family and are being told they are also pleading for her to turn herself in,” Pelura said.

Harris has not been seen in the city since the night of the beating.

Records indicate that Harris was born in Philadelphia and that’s one of the places where alerts have been put out for her capture.

Anyone with information on Harris is asked to call Salem City Police Department at 856-935-0057.

Video Coverage:

WARNING: This video contains scenes of violence and explicit language which may be disturbing to some viewers.


Update 6.30.2014

Latia Harris, 25, turned herself in to the Salem Police Department around 7 p.m. on Monday June 30th, according to the New York Daily News.