A woman allegedly harassed two people for speaking Spanish in a Colorado grocery store, making the customers lose faith in humanity. One of them, however, confronted her in an attempt to restore it.
As of this article, the footage of the event has been viewed more than 1M times since it was posted to Facebook. It shows Kamira Trent shouting down Linda Dwire in a store in Rifle. As Trent and Dwire walk away from the person recording them, a store employee is seen following the two women.
Eventually, Trent called the police and the officers arrested Dwire, taking her to Garfield County Jail, and charging her with two counts of bias-motivated harassment. She was released on bond and is due back in court in November.
The conflict began when Dwire overheard two women speaking in Spanish to each other and interrupted them to ask if the women lived in the US and whether they liked it. After they said yes to both questions, Dwire told them to learn English.
One of the women who has been in the US for eight years and was accompanied at the market by her three children told BuzzFeed News that Dwire was aggressive and kept putting her hand in her face.
Trent was shopping nearby and overheard Dwire saying, “You’re in America. You’re in my country. You can’t speak Spanish here. You need to speak English if you’re going to be in America.” Trent claimed she wanted to de-escalate the situation, reminding Dwire it was a free country and that she couldn’t tell the other women how to speak. “She just got angrier and angrier. I was trying to get her away from the two women, but she wasn’t going to leave them alone,” Trent said. “What she said and the way she said it was wrong.”
But their exchange heated up and about 10 minutes later Trent called the police. The arresting officer, Carlos Cornejo, wrote that when he arrived, he heard Dwire yelling “something to the effect of ‘this is what is wrong with our country’ and ‘they should not be speaking Spanish here.’”
Dwire told the officer she was exercising her right to freedom of speech and that she found it offensive the two women were speaking Spanish because they “didn’t have the respect to speak English.”
“It has nothing to do with race. It’s a patriotic thing,” Dwire told BuzzFeed News. “When people come to my country, they need to love it enough to speak English.” She claims that she confronted people in public places about not speaking English before and believes US immigration laws should stipulate that immigrants learn English.
She added that she has received threats since the incident went viral and isn’t sure if she’ll be able to find an attorney to take up her case. Meanwhile, the internet has quickly identified Trent as a “shero,” thanking her for stepping in to defend the women.