GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A Mesa County woman whose racist rant against a local Latino mom was videotaped and posted on Facebook, says she regrets her words.
The family of the woman she targeted says her contrition doesn’t sound sincere.
The confrontation occurred earlier this week outside the Mesa County Health Department. That’s where Yolanda Flores Chavez had taken her son to get a physical, so he could play football. They left their dog in the car.
Laura Bennett walked by, saw the dog and confronted Yolanda’s son and 6-year old granddaughter when they came out of the clinic.
She told them “police were going to take their dog away,” said Wendy Flores, Yolanda’s daughter.
The fireworks began in earnest when Yolanda came back out.
Ms. Flores Chavez says Bennett yelled at her about the dog, then began calling her names.
In the video, you can hear Bennett say, “Be the wet***k coming to get services honey. You! Your kind! You’re the one that gives brown people a bad name.”
Bennett went on to say, “F*****g just want to get something for nothing. Just get yourself a job.”
Yolanda, who has lived in this country legally for 23 years and who speaks broken English, got flustered and began to reply in Spanish.
That’s when Bennett yelled, “Speak English b***h. It’s America. Put that on YouTube,” and then, “Down with Mexicans who don’t learn the language of the world.”
The video ended with Bennett saying “G****m Wet****s!”
“I’m angered by the fact that everything she said, she assumed,” Wendy Flores said. “My mom was not there to get assistance. She was there so my brother could get a physical.”
“As soon as I saw the video…my heart started racing and my blood just boiled because I couldn’t believe that stuff was being said to my mom,” said Haily Flores, Yolanda’s other daughter.
“I guess what upset me the most,” Haily said, “was that she was telling my mom to get a job. She has a fulltime job and that’s taking care of us, taking care of my Dad and others who are in our house. We’ve never had to ask for help.”
Bennett told ABC affiliate KJCT in Grand Junction that she used “inappropriate” words out of anger and frustration.
“I totally have regrets,” she said. “But I don’t regret helping the animal…my only regret is the language I used and my approach of how I handled the situation.”
KJCT says Bennett told them she lost her job over the incident.
“Tempers were hot on both sides,” she said.
Haily Flores told Denver7 she thinks Bennett’s only regret is “being exposed.”
“She wouldn’t even admit to being racist,” Flores said.
“She regrets what she said because I posted it and it went viral,” Wendy Flores said. “I bet she regrets it because people are seeing her true colors. This is who she is.”
Denver7 reached out to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and asked for reaction to the video.
Karen Sherman Perez said, “First, I was appalled and then deeply saddened that something like this is actually taking place in our community.”
Sherman Perez says the rant points to a certain ignorance that still exists about people of color.
“The assumption, based on the (victim’s) language and skin color, were that she was using public benefits,” Sherman Perez said.
She added that posting the video online is a great way to start the conversation about racism and fear.
Click to see the video below. Warning: Video contains language that some might find derogatory or offensive.