RIFLE, Colo. — An alleged act of hate inside a western Colorado grocery store was recorded on video, and so were the actions of a woman who stepped up to put a stop to it.
It happened Monday at the City Market in Rifle.
Kamira Trent had stopped to do some shopping, like she always does, when she heard a woman telling two Hispanic women to get out of the country because they were speaking Spanish.
“I mean, I was disgusted. I couldn’t believe I was hearing that,” Trent said. “Nobody should be treated that way, ever.”
She says instinct kicked in.
“They were scared,” Trent said. “They didn’t know really how to react to it. They both tried to walk away from her and she wouldn’t let them walk away.”
Trent did react.
“You harass people. Get out of here now. Do not … I’m calling the cops,” she yelled back in defense of the two Spanish speakers.
Little did Trent know that someone was recording the confrontation. The video has gone viral.
The woman in the video who confronted the Spanish-speaking women is Linda Dwire. She was arrested and charged with two counts of bias-motivated harassment.
“It is absolutely comforting to see people will stand up for other people,” Scott Levin of the Anti-Defamation League said.
His organization is tracking a big spike in hate crimes.
“Yes, it’s been rising for all groups,” he said.
Levin said confrontations such as this one can be dangerous.
“This got close,” he said. “It looks like she was actually grabbing her a little bit.”
He commends Trent for what she did.
“We need to make sure people understand Colorado is not a place that stands for hate but instead we’re going to be respected people,” Levin said. “We’re going to be acting with kindness.”
Trent said she has no regrets about intervening.
“She was just being a hateful person,” she said.
She hopes the video will inspire others to do the same.
“I honestly hope this video has inspired people to do that,” Trent said. “Stand up. Speak up. Don’t sit there and let it happen. It’s not OK.”
Dwire told police she’s not racist. She just finds Spanish “offensive” and she maintained she was exercising her freedom of speech.
Levin said if anyone encounters something like this, the best thing to do is to focus on separating the target or the victim of the harassment from the aggressor.
One of the women speaking Spanish posted the following on Facebook:
I never thought this would happen to me. I was in a store chatting in Spanish with a friend when suddenly a woman started insulting us, saying that if we lived in this country we shouldn’t speak Spanish, only English. Thanks to another woman (who we didn’t know) she defended us and called the police; I think officers arrested the woman who was harassing us. I always see these videos on social media and it makes me so mad; in my case, today, I can say I felt so helpless.