Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti and Angela McKnight (both D-31), along with Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, are speaking out against a racist tired against a Black woman that occurred in the Peninsula City yesterday.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In a Facebook live video, the woman who was verbally accosted, Tameka Bordeaux, said she felt no need to go back and forth since “aggression can be met with something opposite,” also thanking everyone who has stuck up for her.
McKnight was the first elected leader to react to the cell phone videos that Bordeaux had shared on Facebook, condemning the situation unequivocally.
“I watched the social media live video posted by Tameka Bordeaux of her being racially harassed as she walked down a street in complete outrage and disgust. The white woman shown in the video trailed her and hurled the worst racial epithets imaginable to a Black woman who was calmly walking down a Bayonne street on the way to a store,” McKnight said in a statement last night.
“This behavior is becoming so common now that we simply refer to these racist people as ‘Karen’ and let it go. I can’t just do that. I put myself in Tameka’s shoes and I know it had to take a lot of restraint for her to endure what she went through today. I thank her for being the strong black woman that she is to remain calm and reserved during the entire ordeal.”
She continued that she finds it alarming that “some white people” are making excuses for the woman’s remarks, which included using the N-word repeatedly, since racism should never be excused – though adds that sick people deserve to get help.
“We know Bayonne has a history of racist behavior and we can no longer sit by and make excuses for residents in any New Jersey town to ever be allowed to call someone the N-word,” the assemblywoman noted.
Back in July, Chiravalloti called for law enforcement to investigate a Facebook post in a Bayonne-centric group that he felt appeared to “endorse lynchings.”
As far as this incident goes, he said the comments were “repulsive” and, like his legislative colleague, is “disappointed” people are defending the use of this language since mental illness “does not permit someone to berate and harass someone on the street.”
“For those who still think this is no big deal, imagine if Tameka was your mother, your wife,
your daughter. How angry would you be? Would you not want to stand with her, support her, show her love?,” he added.
“I am not sure what else I can say other than, I stand with Tameka.”
Additionally, Davis said that Police Chief Robert Geisler has assured him that the incident is being investigated and called the videos “appalling.”
“The video content was appalling and certainly not indicative of who we are in Bayonne. Our community will continue to stand together and work to eliminate these acts of hatred,” he wrote on Facebook, including the hashtag “#nohate.”
This evening, Bayonne Police Capt. Eric Amato revealed that Claudia Emanuele, 60, of Bayonne, has been charged with bias intimidation and harassment in connection to the incident.
He indicated that Emanuele began shouting racially charged expletives as soon as the victim, Bordeaux, tried to talk to her regarding a late mail delivery.
“As the victim approached the female to offer neighborly advice, Emanuele immediately shouted racially charged expletives at the victim. As the victim attempted to calm Emanuele, Emanuele continued to shout racial slurs at the victim, causing the victim to walk away feeling traumatized,” authorities said.
“As the victim proceeded to walk toward a convenient store located on Avenue C, Emanuele followed, all the while continuing to shout racial slurs at the victim. Along the way, a concerned citizen observed the verbal tirade and attempted to intervene, even walking with the 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.”
Detectives arrested Emanuele at her house around 12:51 p.m. this afternoon, following the incident that occurred around 3 p.m. yesterday.
The Bayonne Police Department would like to extend thanks to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for their guidance and cooperation,” Amato added.
“A special thanks is also extended to the concerned citizens that aided the victim during this horrible ordeal. These citizens demonstrated bravery, courage, and a genuine concern for the safety of a fellow citizen.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information pertaining to an arrest made by the Bayonne Police Department.