The Brooklyn Park woman accused of beating former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew at the Mall of America is expected to make her first court appearance on Monday.
FOX 9 reported that Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain, 18, has been charged with one count second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with the Thursday incident.
Meanwhile, the graphic photo of a bloodied Andrew that was part of WCCO's coverage is getting international media play.
The Daily Mail of London carried a full account of the incident, which twice said that Andrew was "mercilessly beaten." The story included a mug shot of the suspect, before and after photos of Andrew and a short video from his mayoral campaign. The headline reads,"'They thought I was easy pickins': Mayoral candidate beaten up by two teenage girls with a billy club at Mall of America Starbucks after having iPhone stolen."
The disturbing nature of the incident has been the catalyst for numerous comments and conversations. On his Facebook page, BringMeTheNews founder Rick Kupchella called the attack "soulless."
Last Thursday, Andrew, who came in second in his effort to become the mayor of Minneapolis and who is a former Hennepin County Commissioner, said a man grabbed his iPhone 4S phone from his table at the Starbucks at the Mall of America. When Andrew chased the thief, the criminal complaint said that he was attacked by two girls. The complaint said Cutler-Cain jumped on Andrew's back while a 17-year-old girl struck Andrew in the head with a metal rod.
Police arrived and took both of the women into custody. Police have not yet located the man who stole the phone and fled the mall. Shoppers who had seen him drop the phone returned it to Andrew.
Andrew said that he plans to stay involved in the case. “I’m not going to let someone take my phone," he told the Star Tribune. “I’m not going to let that pass. They thought they wouldn’t get chased.”
The incident has led to a more stringent enforcement of the Mall of America's policy regarding unaccompanied teenagers on the premises.
Earlier this fall, police at the University of Minnesota warned students to beware of what is termed "apple picking." During a spate of armed robberies on and around campus this semester, students have been targeted for their smart phones, laptops and other high tech possessions.