Two Boston women, Jenny Ennamorati and Stephanie Armstrong charged w/ hate crimes after attacking mother & daughter for speaking Spanish in public.
‘This is America, speak English!’ Defining who America belongs to.
‘As they beat us, they yelled ‘This is America, speak English!” the mother, who was only identified as Ms. Vasquez, said of the incident which took place on February 15th as she and her daughter were making their way home that evening.
Vasquez, 46, and her 15-year-old daughter were walking near an East Boston train station after having dinner when they had an altercation with two women. The mother says they were set upon, punched, kicked and bitten, The Boston Globe reported, citing a police report.
Jenny Leigh Ennamorati, 25, and Stephanie Armstrong, 25, come Thursday were each charged with two counts of violating constitutional rights with bodily injury and two counts of assault and battery charges, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Ennamorati was charged with an additional assault and battery with dangerous weapon for using a shod foot.
‘There is no place for hatred or bigotry in Suffolk County. The sense of entitlement and privilege these defendants must have felt to utter these hateful and racist words, and then to physically attack a mother and her child for laughing and speaking Spanish is outrageous and reprehensible,’ Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.
Arrested women conceded having been ‘drinking and acting belligerent.’
‘Most of the time, victims and witnesses are reluctant to speak out of fear and trauma,’ Janelle Dempsey, a lawyer for the group, wrote in a statement. ‘But the Vasquez family wants the police to hold the assailants accountable.’
Surveillance video shared by the civil rights advocates, shows a woman crossing the street and shouting at another woman, who appears to be the mother. The pair then start shoving and hitting each other. It remained unclear in the video who first instigated physical hostilities.
Ennamorati and Armstrong told police they heard the Vasquezes laughing and speaking Spanish and believed they were making fun of them, according to a police report.
First they had a ‘verbal argument,’ only for one of the Vasquezes to punch one of the women in the face, the report noted one of the women telling cops, with the woman saying she ‘defended herself’ by fighting back.
Ennamorati and Armstrong’s names were redacted on the report but police said one of them had ‘multiple small scratches on her face and a small amount of blood around her fingernails,’ the report said. Police said the women noted they had been ‘drinking and acting belligerent.’
A #Latina mother and her teenage daughter say they were attacked by two white people because they were speaking #Spanish, rather than #English, near the #MaverickSquare t-station in #EastBoston #7news pic.twitter.com/kVx0zlO0zS
— Kimberly Bookman (@KimberlyBookman) February 24, 2020
Setting a precedent in addressing wave of hate that has spiked in Massachusetts and across the country against non whites….
Vasquez and her daughter countered, telling police that they were the ones attacked by the other women, the report states.
Police saw that one of the Vasquezes had scratches on her face and a laceration to her right thumb, the report says, while the other Vasquez told them she was punched in the face multiple times and pulled by the hair.
All the women declined medical treatment, police said, but it appears that the teenager had been wearing a neck brace after the incident.
‘We were attacked, punched, kicked, and bitten. I’m having nightmares. I’m afraid to take the train to work, and my family is afraid to speak Spanish in public. My daughter is still wearing a neck brace and she’s having trouble sleeping. We are all very shaken,’ Vasquez said in a statement through her attorneys.
Janelle Dempsey, an attorney with Lawyers for Civil Rights applauded the district attorney’s office actions, saying that the Vasquezes’ confrontation was not an isolated event in East Boston.
‘This prosecution will go a long way in setting a powerful precedent for addressing the wave of hate that has spiked in Massachusetts and across the country,’ the attorney said according to a report via CNN.
Ennamorati and Armstrong are scheduled to appear in East Boston District Court on March 9.