Things That Matter

Woman Who Falsely Identified Herself As A Police Officer Tried To Intimidate Latinas Playing At Park

With one viral video, Public Park Penelope has been born, mi gente. 

A viral video posted to Twitter earlier this week shows a white woman berating and harassing a group of young Latinas who were playing in a public park in Texas. In the video the woman can be seen verbally harassing and cursing at a group of young girls who had simply been enjoying themselves at a public park earlier this week.

During her tirade, the woman falsely identified herself as a Fort Worth police officer, which has since launched a police investigation and conversations about the use of police as a threat against people of color.

The woman was filmed forcing the group of girls out of the park during a one-minute recorded video.

In the video, the woman can be seen confronting a group of girls who were playing on a large swing in the park and yelling at them to leave.

 “Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop It’s a children’s park. Stop now,” the unidentified woman yells before grabbing hold of the swing set the girls were on. The girl who had been on the swing calmly replied that they “are children,” and another off-screen replied “hell no,” to the woman’s aggressive behavior. 

Soon enough, the woman launched into a stream of expletives. “No you’re not,” the woman yelled. “Okay well I’m a f******* PD, so get the F**** out of here now if you’re not here to play as a child.”

After the girl who had been on the swing replied that she was fifteen-years-old, the unidentified woman launched into another rant. “You’re not a f–king child. Thirteen or younger,” the woman yells in the video. “You provoked yourself as a child, and you’re not. I can literally arrest you as a f–king adult. Which is your choice? Are you a child or a goddamn adult? Go. Get out of here.”

According to Remezcla, an article published by the local newspaper Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Dream Park is “an inclusive park that accommodates children of all ages.”

On Wednesday, the Forth Worth Police tweeted that the woman in the video is not a police officer in their department which contradicted her claims.

“We have received numerous mentions & messages regarding a woman in a park claiming to be “PD” & using vulgar & inappropriate language toward youth & children. She does NOT appear to be a #FortWorth police officer,” the department said.

On Thursday, the Forth Worth Police released another statement that they had confirmed that the woman is not an officer in their department and that she is instead a local resident.

According to the Forth Worth Police, the incident has sparked an investigation in their department for “several potential criminal charges, including impersonating a public servant and disorderly conduct.”

In either case, what is truly disturbing about this video is the way in which a grown adult manically and verbally attacked a group of young girls for simply having fun in public space where such type of play is encouraged. 

Public Park Penelope might not have called the police but her actions are extremely similar to the trend of videos that went viral last year of white people using the police to scare off people of color. 

While the unidentified woman at the park did not call the police, she did use the enforcement and threat of the police to achieve a goal of getting the girls away from the park. Her actions are not unlike the many episodes and events similar to these that people encounter while being Black or Brown in the United States. 

Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, POC captured national attention when they began holding white people accountable for using the very real threat of police against them in situations that were blown out of proportion. The videos put a blast on the racial targeting of POC by white people who had called the police in moments they claimed to have felt “scared” “uncomfortable” or “threatened” by the presence of Black or brown people. From the trend, Permit Patty, ID Adam, BBQ Betty And Pool Patrol Paula were born. The incidents highlighted the various mundane things that can spark a police confrontation when Black people are out and about in their community.  While the occurrence of such videos have slowed down, it appears the use of police as a threat against POC remains alive and well.

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Paul Morigi / Getty

As most Black families in the United States know, growing up as a Black person is seen as a great threat in and of itself.

In a country where the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is higher than that for any other ethnicity, it’s no wonder that this is true. Or, why learning to handle the police while Black is a lesson taught so prominently beneath the roofs of Black households.

In a recent episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed that she and her brother Craig Robinson learned this lesson years ago in a confrontation with the police.

Speaking with her brother in her podcast, Obama recalled the day Robinson was accused of stealing his own bike.

Speaking with her brother, a former basketball coach, and her mother Marian Robinson about childhood and parenting, Obama brought up a moment in which Craig was stopped by a couple of police officers while riding his bike.

At the time, Robinson was about 10 or 11 years old and had been gifted the yellow ten-speed Goldblatt by his parents. While riding the bike, a police officer grabbed hold of it and refused to let go despite Craig’s pleas and protests that the bike was his.

“I was like ‘Oh, you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and [the cop] would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken. And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike,” Robinson recalled.

Fortunately, Obama’s mother was home at the time and ushered Craig inside of the house, while she dealt with the police. As her son recalls, “she had that tight lip” as she confronted the officers who had accused her son of stealing his own bike.

Robinson revealed that she discovered the officers were friends with the people who had made the complaint about Craig stealing the bicycle and demanded they come to her house so that they could “admit [they] made a serious mistake.”

Robinson described the experience as a “heartbreaking” one at various times throughout the interview.

“I could tell [the cops] were trying to ask me questions that would trip me up,” he recalled. “If I wasn’t so sure that that bike was mine and showed any kind of reticence, I could see them taking me off to the police station, not calling mom until after I’ve been, you know, booked or whatever they do.”

At one point, Obama remarked that the story is particularly familiar with ones being experienced across the country, even today. “Nobody thinks about, you know, the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values, but when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is, is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution, and fear, because you never know,” she recalled

Obama’s mother also described the experience as being “part of a culture” among police.

“Because those two policemen were Black. And they were acting exactly the same as any other policeman,” her mother remarked. “It’s almost like, this is what they thought they were, how they were thought they were supposed to act.”

All three family members noted how the incident is so familiar today. Despite the fact that decades have passed. “That’s the perfect example of what all of these young, Black people are dealing with now, because this was, almost fifty years ago?” Craig Robinson said.

Listen to the clip from the podcast here.

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

CBS Television Distribution

Back in the 90s, Tia and Tamera Mowry were experiencing the height of their fame while on the hit show “Sister, Sister.” The series which followed Tia and Tamera as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell saw two actors play the part of two identical twins separated at birth and then accidentally reunited in their teens. It won several Emmys and Kids’ Choice Awards and cemented itself as essential Black TV. As a result, the twin sisters scored roles on other series, movies, and all kinds of media attention. And not for a lack of racist incidents that attempted to hold them back

Recently, Tia opened up about her experience as a Black teen actor in the 90s and shared a story that clearly still hurts her heart.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Tia shared that she and her sister were once rejected from appearing in a teen magazine cover because of their skin color.

Speaking about the incident, Tia recalled how she’d been subjected to racism when she was a teen on the show and attempting to be on the cover of a popular magazine at the time.

“It was around Sister, Sister days. The show was extremely popular. We were beating — like in the ratings — Friends around that time,” Tia said. “So, my sister and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular magazine at the time — it was a teenage magazine. We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”

The actress teared up as she went onto recall that “Here I am as an adult and, wow, it still affects me, how someone could demean your value because of the color of your skin,” she said. “I will never forget that. I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that isn’t right.”

Years later Tia says she has used that moment to drive her in raising her two children.

Tia (who is a mother to Cree, 9, and Cairo, 2) says that “to this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful.”

“What I’ve done with my children is [reading] books,” she explained to People. “You can read incredible books to your children about Rosa Parks, about Martin Luther King Jr. — pivotal people that had a huge impact within the movement.”

“The other thing is through television, especially during this time,” she went onto explain. “I was just having my children watch a whole bunch of [things] that starred a lot of African American actors, and one of them is [TheWiz. You had Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. It was just such a great story. And my son … he loved it, [and] it’s important.”

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