New Jersey ‘Karen’ arrested after hurling N-word at Black woman in viral video
Claudia Emanuele, 60, was charged with bias intimidation and harassment
A New Jersey woman has been arrested after she was caught in a disturbing video yelling racist slurs at a Black woman.
The n-word was repeatedly hurled in the direction of Tameka Bordeaux as she walked down the street in Bayonne on Monday. It appears Bordeaux caught the incident on camera as the woman walked toward her and yelled obscenities.
According to a report from the Bayonne Police Department, the woman, identified as 60-year-old Claudia Emanuele, became irate when Bordeaux, 40, offered her “neighborly advice” on Monday as Emanuele complained to a mail carrier about mail being delivered late.
“As the victim attempted to calm Emanuele, Emanuele continued to shout racial slurs at the victim, causing the victim to walk away feeling traumatized,” the police report notes. As Bordeaux walked away, Emanuele reportedly followed her to a convenience store.
The police report continued: “Along the way, a concerned citizen observed the verbal tirade and attempted to intervene, even walking with thte victim to ensure her safety. Once the victim arrived at the convenience store, a second concerned citizen was able to intervene and calm Emanuele, ultimately coaxing her to leave the area.”
Emanuele was arrested and charged with bias intimidation and harassment. Prior to her arrest, New Jersey Assemblywoman Angela McKnight had publicly called for a police investigation.
“This behavior is becoming so common now that we simply refer to these racist people as ‘Karen’ and let it go, said McKnight in a statement posted to her Facebook page. “I can’t just do that.”
The assemblywoman is now launching an investigation into the matter, “This matter needs to be investigated for sure but regardless of the outcome of the investigation, one thing for certain is that Tameka was incredibly wronged today.”
McKnight said she was also disgusted to see so many white people excuse the behavior in the comment section of the now-viral video.
“To read the comments of some white people now making an excuse or defense for this behavior is alarming and gets us to the real problem of this systemic situation,” the lawmaker said.
Bordeaux originally posted the video to her Facebook page with a caption that read: “BAYONNE BAYONNE BAYONNE PLEASE PRESS PLAY. TODAY ON MY GLORIOUS WALK, I’VE BEEN CALLED A NIGGER….TOO MANY TIMES.”
Despite Emanuele’s arrest, there remains a debate among some, particularly government officials, about whether or not calling a Black person the n-word is criminal or creates a hostile environment, particularly in the workplace. As previously reported by theGrio, using the n-word does not create “a hostile or abusive working environment,” according to now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
A report from The Independent notes that in 2019, serving on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett wrote an opinion upholding the dismissal of Smith v. Illinois Department of Transportation, a case in which a terminated Black state employee, Terry Smith, filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Among Smith’s assertions is that Lloyd Colbert, his white supervisor, called him the n-word.
Smith didn’t make a strong enough case that harassment was occurring, Barrett asserted.
“The n-word is an egregious racial epithet. That said, Smith can’t win simply by proving that the word was uttered,” she wrote. “He must also demonstrate that Colbert’s use of this word altered the conditions of his employment and created a hostile or abusive working environment.”
theGrio’s Biba Adams contributed to this report.
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