GRAND ISLE, LA – A 29-year-old woman who was cursed at, called the n-word and spat on by a Louisiana homeowner will return to work this week, but Brandi Worley says she remains shaken by the incident last Tuesday. Meanwhile, the man who did it said he “blanked,” as the result of a really bad day.
“We were outside and we were cleaning up a one lane street,” said Worley, who works as a debris assessor for Metric Engineering, a FEMA contractor in Grand Isle. “You had whole houses worth of debris set on the side of the curb for crews to clean up. It was a scene like [Hurricane Katrina]; just miles and miles of debris, wreckage from houses piled up.”
Worley said she and two other black women were working with a crew of about a half dozen men, all of whom were white. The narrow road only allowed one truck at a time to make its way through the houses and debris, and so when the truck was hauling a load away, the crews had perhaps 20 minutes of downtime in the searing heat. She said she and the other workers were resting underneath a tree when an angry homeowner emerged from his property and began yelling at the crew.
Worley said the man, Josh Jambon, 51, began askign “who was in charge and why was there trash on his property. One of the ladies told him nicely our supervisor is not out here yet, [and] we’ll let you know when he comes out here.” But she said, Jambon began yelling and cursing at the crew, yelling, “look at the lazy pack of ni**ers sitting under the tree!”
“I was floored,” Worley told theGrio, “but I didn’t say anything.” She said one of the two other black women asked the man not to call the other African-American women names, but that he continued.
“He went on this tirade where he started calling us a bunch of lazy ni**ers and b*tches and she kept asking him not to call us that and he got in her face, and they passed words, and he ended up hitting her in her head and caused her helmet to fall off,” Worley said the second black woman came to her colleague’s aid, and was as struck as well. Worse, said Worley, “I was standing there watching it and the white men were just standing around watching.” None of the male workers did anything to stop the abuse.
“Nobody said, ‘man, stop, don’t do that, this is wrong — don’t hit those women,’ she said.”I was standing in the background and he was going off, cursing and [the two other black women] were arguing with him and he was calling us ni**ers and one of the black girls was getting ready call the police.” That’s when Worley says she took out her cell phone and began filming the incident.
“After I started filming,” Worley said, adding that it was difficult for her to retell the story, “he caught me filming and he came directly towards me, trying to get the phone from me, cursing, saying, ‘give me the camera, b*tch, and when I wouldn’t let go, that’s when he spit in my face.”
“I didn’t provoke him in any way,” she said. “Even on the video you could hear me pleading for him not to touch me, because I had already seen him hit those other women.”
Worley said the police arrived, and didn’t seem prepared to arrest Jambon, until she produced her cell phone video and gave it to a female officer. “And I have to give her credit that as soon as I showed her the video she arrested him,” Worley said of the officer, although she notes that Jambon spent very little time at the police station.
“At the police station, we weren’t even there fifteen minutes,” she said. “The ink wasn’t even dry on our statements and he was walking out [of the station] free, with the police chief like they were best buddies.”