A mother was allegedly attacked at the grocery store by a shopper who vandalized her car and injured her leg, screaming, “Go back to Africa.”
Corie Blain, 24, posted on Facebook about the Feb. 1 altercation involving her mother, Lola Jean-Baptiste. “Public service announcement,” she wrote. “Today, my mother was in Market Basket and this woman told my mother to ‘go back to Africa [N-word]!’ because my mom took the parking spot she wanted.” The story was first picked up by local paper the Enterprise.
Jean-Baptiste, 58, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she parked at Market Basket to do her weekly grocery shopping, and a woman behind her started honking her horn. “As I walked toward the store she yelled at me, ‘Go back to Africa, you f***ing [N-word],'” she says. “I just ran inside.”
While Jean-Baptiste was getting sweet potatoes, the woman, whom police described to the Enterprise as a white brunette in her 50s with glasses, appeared. “She yelled so loudly, ‘[N-word], I just f***ed up your car,'” Jean-Baptiste tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “When I took her picture, she slammed her shopping cart into my leg and I dropped my phone. I picked it up from her cart and she yelled, ‘Help! Help!'”
The woman allegedly said, “I will take your photo and send it to ICE. You don’t belong here.” Jean-Baptist is a Haitian-American with U.S. citizenship.
Two managers offered to escort Jean-Baptiste while she paid and left the store. “The woman and her husband were laughing at me when I left,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Jean-Baptiste claims a responding police officer asked her to search for the woman inside Market Basket, and when she came back outside the officer had left. She also alleges Market Basket allowed the woman to leave the store, didn’t write down her license plate number as promised and refused to interview a witness named Joseph.
Yahoo Lifestyle left a voicemail for Market Basket operations manager David McLean. He told the Enterprise that employees did help by providing police with security camera footage and information about the shopper from a card her male partner used to purchase groceries. McLean said staffers didn’t know the entire context of the situation and that the suspect exited the store before Jean-Baptiste learned that her Mercedes-Benz had been scratched.
The Brockton Area NAACP wants police to charge the woman with a hate crime, sending a letter to the department and Mayor Bill Carpenter. “The mayor responded and said it’s an ongoing investigation and that this sort of thing should never happen,” branch president Phyllis Ellis told the Enterprise. “I’m baffled. I’m upset. I know this goes on all over the place all the time, but when it’s right in your back yard over a parking space? Come on. It’s unbelievable. I’m waiting for the results.”
Carpenter did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s interview request.
Darren Duarte of the Brockton Police Department tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the suspect received a court summons and faces charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation and malicious destruction of property. The investigation is not yet complete.
Jean-Baptiste has tried to move past the attack. “It’s painful to talk about,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I haven’t been back to Market Basket, and I won’t go back — I don’t feel welcome.”
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