The racism that President Donald Trump puts on display on a regular basis does not exist in a vacuum. Adding to the list of other disturbing racist displays that his supporters around the country have put on, a woman in Houston, Texas, was arrested over Memorial Day weekend after she threatened a Latino couple with a hammer. It’s unclear how the woman — 60-year-old Constance Lynn Bono — ever became aware of the couple in the first place, but at one point, the two of them suddenly noticed her following them. After they subsequently pulled over and called police, Bono got out of her car and began swinging a hammer towards the couple while insisting that they should “get out of my country.”
During her screamed rant, Bono identified the couple as Mexicans, but they’re actually from Ecuador. The pair who were targeted, Dr. Lia Franco and her husband Arturo Cordovez, currently live in New Orleans, where Franco has been completing a medical residency and, most recently, treating Coronavirus patients. (Louisiana has been hit very hard.) Meanwhile, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most recent publicly available post on Bono’s Facebook page is a pro-Trump diatribe. Other posts rant against the public health measures that have been imposed in efforts against the Coronavirus and rant against the mainstream media.
Cordovez explained to local media, referring to Bono:
‘She stopped behind us. After that she started showing a hammer through the mirror. She was shaking her arm… and cursing at us I think. I was thinking what did I do?’
‘So we stopped a little bit on the side and she was still there… She screamed ‘You Mexicans, get out of my fucking country. Go back to your fucking country.’.. I think she needs help, she needs treatment, but that doesn’t justify the fact she needs to follow the laws of her country. If she broke the laws here, she needs to pay for what she did. But for me as a physician, I think the most important thing is she needs treatment, she needs help.’
Bono was arrested while she threatened the couple with her hammer. She “is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony with a punishment range of up to 20 years in prison,” a local media outlet reports, adding that “if prosecutors believe racism was the motive, the charge could be enhanced to a first-degree felony, with a punishment range of up to life in prison.”
The incident emerged as the U.S. grappled with continued racist violence like a Minneapolis police officer’s murder of a black man named George Floyd.
Four people have been fired from the local police department over the incident, but many are clamoring for much sharper action against those behind the heinous violence, which the cops and their supporters might like to chalk up to just the vagaries of police work. The problem is that they’re trying to excuse a systematic targeting of non-white people that has left heartbreaking cases of violent, preventable deaths at the hands of police all around the country.