A Massachusetts woman is facing civil rights charges after she allegedly drove her car toward a group of three Black women and their five children and shouted racial slurs at them earlier this summer.
Rhonda Wozniak, 60, of Lynn, is accused of speeding toward the group as they were walking in Swampscott's Vinnin Square on July 28, the Essex County District Attorney's Office said.
The victims told police they were on their way to their cars after visiting the Cookie Monstah on Paradise Road when a white Ford Escape barreled toward them, coming dangerously close. One of the women told Wozniak, who is white, to slow down. She allegedly responded to the women by shouting racist insults at them and telling them to go back to where they came from.
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"This behavior has no place in this community," Swampscott Police Chief Ronald Madigan said in a statement. "This incident is particularly troubling given that children were present and were subject to vile racial slurs. I am hopeful that our response to this incident sends the message that this behavior will not be tolerated in Swampscott."
Wozniak was arraigned Thursday in Lynn District Court, where she pleaded not guilty to eight counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon and civil rights violation, as well as single counts of disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.
A judge ordered Wozniak to be held on $1,000 bail and to be barred from contact with the victims.