Woman who shouted racial slurs pleads guilty to assault, civil rights charges

A white woman involved in a racially motivated incident in a cookie shop parking lot has pleaded guilty in Massachusetts to eight counts of civil rights violation and eight counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

On July 28, 2020, Rhonda Wozniak drove her car toward three Black women and their five children, ranging in age from 5 to 12, in the parking lot of a Swampscott, Mass., cookie shop called The Cookie Monstah. When she nearly hit them with her car, one of the Black women asked Wozniak to slow down. Wozniak responded with racial slurs and said the women and children should go back where they belong, according to a release from the Essex District Attorney's Office

"Where do we belong?" one of the children asked their mother.

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Wozniak was sentenced on Tuesday to nine months of probation and 40 hours of community service after her plea. She was also ordered to stay away from the victims and make no contact with them, the release said.

"The defendant’s action were harmful and offensive, not only to the victims, but also to the community at large,” Jonathan Blodgett, the district attorney for Essex County, Mass., said in a statement. “I am thankful to the Swampscott Police and my staff who ensured that the victims were heard and that the defendant was held accountable for her criminal behavior."

Doug Ryan and Joe Simons, the attorneys for Wozniak, said that they were preparing for a trial, but Wozniak “ultimately decided to plead guilty, and in exchange was sentenced to probation,” according to The Associated Press.

The Hill has reached out to Wozniak's attorney for comment.