The sense of safety and security that two Black sisters in Charlotte, North Carolina, believed they had suddenly vanished after their encounter with a racist neighbor who threatened them, they said recently about the episode that was caught in a video that went viral.
Leisa Garris said she avoids going out at night and keeps the front door to her apartment locked, the Charlotte Observer reported.
“It just took me by surprise. It hurt me really bad,” Garris said, recalling the Oct. 19 encounter with Susan Westwood, who surrendered to police after disappearing for days to avoid arrest.
Westwood was facing criminal charges, including communicating threats and misusing the 911 network.
Cases like these can typically result in fines ranging from $200 to $1,000, Charlotte criminal defense attorney Darlene Harris told NewsOne.
“If she does have a prior that we don’t know about, she could be looking at jail time,” though that was “unlikely,” Harris stated, adding that probation, anger management or substance abuse treatment are possible.
In the video, Westwood appears intoxicated and begins questioning whether the sisters live at the upscale apartment complex. She demands to know why they are “congregating” in the parking lot. Garris was indeed a resident. She and her sister were waiting for AAA to arrive to help with their stalled vehicle.
Westwood, who appears to be intoxicated, doubted that a Black person could afford an apartment in the complex. She brags about earning $125,000 a year, adding that she’s “white” and “hot.”
Garris called 911 to report the harassment. As she and her sister walk away, Westwood screams, “Do I need to bring out my concealed weapon, too? This is North Carolina by the way.”
Westwood also called 911: “They are actually people that I’ve never seen here before. They are African-American,” she told the dispatcher, adding that she suspects them of breaking into apartments.
In addition to legal consequences, Westwood’s employer Spectrum Communications fired her, and the apartment complex is evicting the 51-year-old woman.