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.
Sexual harassment and assault of women is rampant across every country, culture, workplace, and industry. Sadly, it’s common for women to have to endure harassment and for comfort sake’s or a desire to remain safe, stay quiet. Recently, women on Twitter shared what it’s like to have to be quiet in uncomfortable situations they realize are harmful or unsafe.
*Trigger Warning: the stories in this piece deal with sexual harassment and assault.*
They’re also sharing their personal, horrifying stories.
Check them out below.
“This is a terrible feeling. A couple years ago I went into a neurologist’s office for an EEG, which involved attaching dozens of electrodes to my scalp. The tech who was attaching them told me how silky my hair was. Began asking me questions about whether I was single, if I ever planned to have kids. Later, he asked me my weight. Told me I was too thin (I had a BMI of 22-23) and that men liked women with more weight on them. I was 33 years old, and for the first time in my life—after growing up in a highly abusive, silencing household—I spoke up. Told him how unprofessional he was being, and that I would file a complaint. He said, ‘Do what you need to do.’ And then I did. I filed that goddamn complaint with shaking hands. It felt awful and uncomfortable and I have no regrets about doing it. I hope it made a difference.” –ennovahs
“This is the worst part of being a victim. The urge to make it go away, you want to believe if you move on, you can’t be upset by it. But it doesn’t work like that, it just hits the snooze button. Enough shitty moments like that and your jenga tower comes down and you turn into a salty bitter person that loses faith in humanity and it’s so much harder to heal from later than if you do something and process it now, enforce your boundaries now. It also like, primes you to let it happen again the next time. You let this one slide, and then someone else does something else inappropriate later and it’s like “where do I draw the line? I didn’t say something that other time”. And then when you finally reach the limit, all the other times you let people violate your boundaries without saying something haunt you and you can’t tell if it’s your fault or theirs Take care of yourself by honoring and enforcing your own boundaries. Don’t create additional pain you’ll have to heal from later with your own self-betrayal. You are worth the effort it takes to file a report, even when it’s exhausting. Is there a way you could offer to help her file? Like figuring out how to do it and helping her fill it out? If she says no, that’s her right. But I feel like so often we get betrayed twice, once by others and once by ourselves.” –valicat
“I got felt up by my masseuse and then he asked for my phone number. I just froze said I have a boyfriend and went to pay. Later I was telling my friend about it in a haha can you believe that happened and my friend looked at me all serious and said, so you were sexually assaulted, tipped him for it then want to laugh about it. I started crying and then went through the hell of having to report him and getting his license revoked.” –pulchritudinousss
“We should complain, though. For our sisters. My company offered an in-house massage therapist. Nothing like saving up coffee breaks for a proper massage! But he was … personal without being sleezy, like, “Nice breasts for a woman your age” said in a neutral tone of voice. He also liked to be rough when massaging. I like a hard massage, but the other stuff wasn’t right. When he offered to give me massages as his private office (elsewhere in town), my gut instinct kicked in and I said no, and I also stopped seeing him at work. A month later, he was gone. Somebody else had complained. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking up. I hadn’t overreacted about him and it wasn’t just me.”-ThinkbigShrinktofit
“As a woman who kept quiet when people did or said things to me that made me uncomfortable until I was in my 40s (all in the name of avoiding confrontation, not upsetting the other person, wanting to be liked, etc.), it took one really bad experience to finally realize that enough was enough. People are going to be shitty and there isn’t anything I can do that will change how shitty of a person they are. But, I can actually start telling them how unacceptable their behavior is and if it continues to happen, remove them from my life. It’s been rough, trying to speak up when warranted. Sometimes, I come off as pretty harsh. But, people are starting to realize that I’m not going to allow that type of behavior anymore. It has cost me some ‘friendships’ but my life is actually much better off without them in it.” –idreamofgin
“Speaking from experience, I can understand your friend not wanting to do anything. I was getting a physical for the military. The last person I see is this old guy. We are told to strip down to our underwear. This guy is asking all these medical questions, poking and touching. Turn your head and cough stuff. I can’t remember how, but at some point he called me cutie. I later said something to the military person running the facility and it turned into an investigation into me. After being repeatedly told my entry would be delayed, but if I withdrew my “comment” I could ship for basic training. My experience is nothing compared with what a lot of what women go through in similar situations. Every time I hear of a rape, I think about how much more horrible it would be. Any woman that comes forward and presses charges is braver than I ever could be.” –Barbuckles
“Went to take my husband to work and the man at the check station pointed out my tongue ring and made vaguely sexual statements about it like how I ‘must be fun.’ Insanely inappropriate. I was a little bitch so I cried when I got home. I did report him but he still worked there through the season.”-hattallb1tch
“I had a similar experience. I’d been having intense lower abdominal/pelvis pains and went to get an ultrasound because my doctor was concerned. Went to the place and the guy was being super rough with the thing, and it hurt. I let out a gasp of pain because it had been painful even without someone mashing an ultrasound thingy right in the painful spot, like it felt like someone just stabbed me; and he just laughed and said ‘Don’t get so excited, I haven’t gone that low down yet.’ and winked. Turned my stomach. Like, okay I am no longer comfortable being in a room alone with you, with your hands at hip level. But he seemed so comfortable making such an inappropriate joke that it’s like… this shithead probably gets away with doing it all the time. My boyfriend was furious and just couldn’t understand why I was apathetic about it. It’s something you get used to. Those casual threatening sexual jokes.”- cinnamonbrook
A 22-year-old woman is getting a major lesson on how being Latino does not automatically grant you asylum when it comes to being racist.
Miya Ponsetto gained national attention and managed to distract everyone from their holiday break this past week when her racist behavior was captured on video. In an incident posted to Instagram the day after Christmas, Ponsetto could be seen attacking the 14-year-old son of trumpeter Keyon Harrold after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone.
Miya Ponsetto was taken into custody on a warrant from New York after a brief car chase with police in California.
According to New York Daily News police used physical force to restrain Ponsetto. “They had to pull her out of the car. They did use physical force,” Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department explained. “She tried to slam the door on the leg of one of our deputies and so she was forcibly removed from the vehicle.”
Two officers with NYPD’s Manhattan South detective bureau were sent to California on Wednesday to work with LA police to find Ponsetto, question her and convince her to return to New York with them.
“I have no clue if she’s in custody. I had a difficult day with her. We had an interview lined up, and within 10 to 15 minutes, I realized she was not well, not mentally fit to do any interviews,” Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan said “So I’m not surprised this has happened if she’s in custody. I haven’t heard it. She was very much MIA for a while, and when she finally came to the big interview, it was clear to me she shouldn’t be there. I’m concerned for her wellbeing.”
Video of Miya Ponsetto fighting with cops during a DUI arrest weeks before her assault of Keyon Harrold, Jr. has surfaced.
In the video of the incident that took place on Oct. 3 outside of a Chevron gas station. Ponsetto can be seen acting out against police officers attempting to detain her after confirming she was intoxicated. Ponsetto’s mom, Nicole Ponsetto, can also be seen.
In the video, Ponsetto resists the efforta of an officer to place her in cuffs.
“I’m not even touching you,” she screams. “You are asking for literally a lawsuit. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“I just think you guys are like a joke,” Ponsetto says at one point while pinned to the ground. “There are gang members that are killing people right now and you’re arresting a girl?”
In a virtual interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King that took place hours before her arrest, Miya Ponsetto wore a Daddy hat.
During an interview, which her lawyer sat in on, Ponsetto told Gayle King, “I admit, I could have approached the situation differently, or maybe not yelled at him like that or made him feel … inferior, or like I was hurting his feelings.”
Later, as King pressed Ponsetto to admit she had grossly misbehaved, Ponsetto insisted she was just. girl. “OK, so basically I’m a 22-year-old girl. Racism, uh, is … how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?” Eventually she snapped at Gayle’s questioning saying “alright Gayle, enough!” She even flounced a hand at Gayle while her lawyer attempted to get her to reel it in.
No doubt, Ponsetto’s decision to wear a hat with slang referring to the authority of a man was poorly made. It was also extremely disrespectful considering that she did so knowing that she would be in the presence of a well-known and respected Black journalist who had offered her a chance to redeem herself with an interview. Ponsetto’s hat proves to be a representation of her character: a privileged woman, making no attempts to endear herself to a woman of color who worked hard to get where she is despite the many ways the world has tried to hold her back.
In response to her interview, the 14-year-old Keyon Harrold, Jr.’s parents say they don’t buy her apology one bit.
Speaking to CBS This Morning host Gayle King in a later interview Keyon Harrold, Sr. explained that he felt “her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.”
“‘I apologize. Can we move on?’ Those were the exact words that she used with you,” Kat Rodriguez, Keyon’s mother, said in another interview. “Does that sound like an apology? She knew she assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Not a guy, not a man.”
The incident took place at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel where Harrold and his son were guests at the hotel located in lower Manhattan. In the video, Ponsetto can be seen confronting Harrold and his son with accusations of theft. In the post to Instagram, Harrold explained that he and his son had left their room in the hotel to get breakfast and had just left the elevator when the woman confronted them. In the video, Ponsetto could be seen and heard demanding Harrold’s son, Keyon Harrold Jr., to show her his phone.
In response, Harrold Jr. told Ponsetto “this is my phone” to which his father told him that he did not have to explain himself to the woman. Ponsetto then came closer and demanded to an interviewing hotel guest that the case be taken off the phone.
“Literally get it back for me, please,” Ponsetto says in the video to the manager who then asked the teen to see the phone before his father could intervene. “I’m trying to settle this situation,” the manager claimed in the video, to which Harrold explained he was only making it worse.
After Harrold and his son attempt to leave the situation the woman followed after them saying, “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.”
Security footage shows her tackling Harrold Jr. to the ground. When she approaches them again the teen’s father shouts for her to get her hands off of his son before the video cuts out.
In his post to Instagram, Harrold claimed that Ponsetto scratched him and grabbed his son. Harrold later told NBC that after the video cut off, Ponsetto, “tackled my son, you know, trying to reach in his pockets, reach in my pockets.”
According to NYPD, moments after the incident, Ponsetto’s phone was returned to her at the hotel by a ride-share vehicle she used.
Harrold told NYPD that he suffered slight injuries but his son was not injured.
“I don’t know what would have happened if my Dad wasn’t there, honestly,” Harrold Jr. explained before stating that if ever presented with an opportunity to speak to Ponsetto, he’d want an apology.
Speaking about the incident at a rally, Harrold noted that the entire incident was emotionally damaging for his son and could have become even worse had he not been with his son when it all occurred. “I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want. … I come from Ferguson and this has been my passport to the world,” Harrold explained, referring to his trumpet and the doors his career in music has opened for him. Harold has played at the White House, and contributed to recordings by JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Anthony Hamilton, Mary J. Blige, and Maxwell. “And I can’t even come downstairs in New York City … and just go get brunch without being attacked and wrongfully accused of something.”
Harrold Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, also noted that hotel management was culpable in the incident after failing to de-escalate the situation as well as for allowing Ponsetto to leave the scene before police arrived. She also demanded that Ponsetto be charged with assault.
“This fight is not only for our son. It’s for all of our sons and daughters,” Rodriguez explained. “If we were a family that didn’t have these connections … if I was a maid, this story wouldn’t have hit the news. What about those people that don’t get to get heard?”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out about the incident last Thursday and remarked that the woman should face charges. “You have a teenager here who did nothing wrong, who was clearly profiled because he was young and male and Black,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on New Day. “That is racism pure and simple, that is unacceptable in this city, in this country.”
Keyon Harrold Jr. is now seeking therapy for the incident. Harrold told TMZ recently that his son “wonders if he’s good enough to own an iPhone, or whether he’s out of place at a nice hotel.”
Ponsetto has since disputed the accusations against her using her ethnicity as a defense.
The NYPD is currently attempting to track Ponsetto down for assaulting Harrold Jr. On Jan. 1, the New York Post confronted Ponsetto in a video and asked her about the incident to which Ponsetto replied “I don’t know what the problem is here,” she replied.
When asked once again if she had any regrets about the incident, Ponsetto replied, “I’m good, thank you. Have a very good day. Take care of yourself.” “I’m actually 22 so I don’t know what the problem is here,” she added again. “And I’m also Puerto Rican so thank you. Take care of yourself.”
In a statement, about the incident, Arlo Hotels agreed that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the statement said. “In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence …. No Arlo guest — or any person — should be subject to this kind of behavior.”