Lola Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian immigrant with U.S. citizenship, was attacked and threatened by an angry middle-aged white woman in Brockton, Mass.
The incident allegedly started when Jean-Baptiste pulled into a parking spot in a shopping plaza. The woman was supposedly waiting for the spot Jean-Baptiste parked. The woman was said to have been incessantly honking her horn and cursing at the elderly Haitian woman. The two coincidentally happened to be inside of the same market grocery shopping when Jean-Baptiste was confronted by the lady some 15 minutes later.
The woman actually confronted Jean-Baptiste in the store complaining that the parking spot was hers. At that moment, the unidentified woman began hurling slurs at the shocked shopper. She even also rammed her shopping cart into Jean-Baptiste.
“She went back to me, ‘You f—— n—–, I just f—– up your car. I just f—– up your car,'” said Jean-Baptiste, recounting the incident. “She said, ‘I’m taking your picture to send to ICE.’ I said, ‘What did you do’ I followed her. And as soon as I get my phone, she saw me, she hit me with a cart. My telephone fell on her cart. When I tried to pick up my phone inside her cart, she yelled, ‘Help, help!’ … It’s so painful. It’s so humiliating. I don’t even want to talk about this. It’s so tough to talk about.”
Jean-Baptiste spoke about how the store initially did nothing to deescalate the situation. They allowed the problem starter to finish her shopping. They didn’t offer to assist the victim, nor were they willing to turn over surveillance footage.
It wasn’t until her daughter shared the video on Facebook that the store responded.
The police were called, but even their report minimized the impact it had on the victim. The white woman had vandalized Jean-Baptiste’s 2013 Mercedes Benz she discovered upon leaving the store.
Jean-Baptiste’s vandalized Benz.
The Brockton chapter of the NAACP intervened, applying pressure to the police to do more. They pointed out that the police report did not list the assault, nor categorize it as a hate crime. Chapter president Phyllis Ellis sent a letter to Mayor Bill Carpenter and Police Chief John Crowley, addressing the very valid concerns Jean-Baptiste had.
“The mayor responded and said it’s an ongoing investigation and that this sort of thing should never happen,” said Ellis on Monday. “I’m baffled. I’m upset. I know this goes on all over the place all the time, but when it’s right in your backyard over a parking space Come on. It’s unbelievable. I’m waiting for the results.”
The store in question, Market Basket, denies that no action was taken. A spokesman stated that Jean-Baptiste was escorted out of the store and that the racist woman left before her. They failed to address why they didn’t call police when she identified that her car had been vandalized.
Currently, Brockton police are in the process of filing charges for malicious damage and violating civil rights against the perpetrator. They’ve only identified her as a woman from Easton.