Things That Matter

She Chased Latino Teens Off A Playground And Now ‘Swing Set Susan’ Is Facing Criminal Charges

A woman the internet nicknamed “Swing Set Susan” was charged with a felony this week. Samantha Louise Eley, a 38-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas was charged with impersonating a public servant, according to the arrest warrant affidavit

Eley became a viral meme when a video showed her pretending to be a cop in order to intimidate Latinx teenagers off a playground at Dream Park. The video was viewed over 5 million times on Twitter. 

Eley was arrested earlier this week on an unrelated bond violation, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, from a previous arrest in a domestic violence case. ‘Swing Set Susan’ along with “BBQ Becky” and “Permit Patty,” are a part of a string of recent incidents where white people have invoked the police to complain about people of color’s innocuous behavior. 

‘Swing Set Susan’ targets a group of Latinx teenagers. Then goes viral.

A teenager shared a video captioned with, “We were just trying to play. I guess we’re adults.” The teen was one of many having a good time on a swing at Dream Park when Eley interrupted by pounding on the swing as she screamed at the children. 

“Stop! Stop!” Eley is heard yelling at the teens. “It’s a children’s park, stop. Stop now.”

Eley accused them of not really being kids. When one girl corrected her, she went on a tirade. Eley insisted the playground was only for thirteen-year-olds and under. In a statement by the Fort Worth Police Department, they said the parks and playgrounds are open to all ages, even if some equipment is recommended for younger children. 

“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,” Eley screams in the video. 

The girl then says they’re 16. Eley continues to argue with the children about whether they are children, before telling them 16 is old enough to be arrested as an adult. The kids largely remain quiet while some can be heard saying they should just leave. 

The Star-Telegram reported that a man who witnessed the incident told officers Eley left when he said he was calling the real police. 

Fort Worth Police Department investigate the incident. 

According to the Washington Post, Detective B. Cantu created a six-page photo lineup that included a mugshot of Eley. After identifying the teen in the video, they had her come in and choose the offender from the lineup. She chose Eley’s picture. 

“The teen told the detective that she did believe the woman was a police officer and that she and her friends left the park because of their interaction with her, according to the arrest warrant affidavit,” Lateshia Beachum reported for the Washington Post. 

Eley was already in police custody on a charge of bodily injury assault.  When the detective went to read Eley her Miranda rights and to interview her at Tarrant County Jail, she allegedly declined to speak.

The Star-Telegram reported that she had been charged on August 29, for assaulting a family member. In 2014, Eley was also sentenced to 16 months probation. In 2017, she spent 50 days in jail for DWIs, the newspaper found after reviewing Tarrant County court records. 

“Swing Set Susan” could face $10,000 in fines and 10 years of incarceration if she is convicted of impersonating a public servant. 

This isn’t the first time Latinx folk have been targets of white ire.  

In 2017, BuzzFeed News reported a man went on a racist tirade after overhearing a Puerto Rican man speak to his mom in Spanish. 

“Learn how to f—— speak English,” he shouts in a viral video. “We live in America.” 

Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. In 2018, Vox reported a white lawyer who threatened to call ICE when he overhead two restaurant workers speaking Spanish. 

“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he says to one employee in the video. “This is America.” The United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking nation, with more Spanish-speakers than Spain. 

This year another white man had a meltdown because he couldn’t understand why a Mexican restaurant had a menu in Spanish. 

“That’s bulls—” he said in a video according to The Hill. ‘It says it in Mexican. We’re not in Mexico. We’re in America! Above the border. The red, the line. I’m an American!”

These are just a few incidents of many that have swept the nation since Trump has taken office. In the United States, hate crimes rose by 17 percent in 2017, with anti-Latinx crimes raising by over 24 percent according to the FBI. 

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