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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