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ST. CROIX — While the Virgin Islands Police Department confirmed to The Consortium on Monday afternoon that it was investigating an incident that occurred in the Estate Little Fountain community on Sunday, where a White man hurled bricks at a Black woman and her children while they were in their car, police had not sought to arrest the individual and could not say when or if such action would be taken.
That’s according to V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte, who added that if any action were taken relative to the incident, the media would be updated. The woman, Chenelle Cuencas, had made a wrong turn onto the man’s driveway and was attempting to leave when he threw bricks at the vehicle.
On Sunday afternoon, Ms. Cuencas and her two daughters were in the Estate Little Fountain area in search of a Villa that her son had a sleepover in. Ms. Cuencas also brought along her cousin and her cousin’s husband, who rode in a separate vehicle, to help her find the villa, as she was unfamiliar with the place. In search of the villa, Ms. Cuencas said she entered a driveway that she thought was the villa’s. Attempting to find out whether she was at the right location, she drove up the driveway and greeted a man to ask questions. What she said she was greeted with in return stunned Ms. Cuencas.
“He then cursed at me telling me that we locals need to get a “fucking” map and that he’s tired of people mistaking his entrance for the Little Fountain Cottages entrance. He told me he isn’t giving me directions and that I needed to get off his “fucking” property. My cousin’s husband then stood out of their vehicle behind me and told the guy that he didn’t have to speak to me like that,” Ms. Cuencas wrote in a status update on Facebook.
Ms. Cuencas then told the man that he was rude, and that she was leaving the property. “My daughters were in my vehicle, witnessed this and were very scared and shaken by it all,” she said.
As they reversed down the hill out of the man’s driveway, Ms. Cuencas said he was still angry, and was using profanity while threatening to throw things at them. “I told him that he’s racist and that he needs to go back to America when I heard him say he was gonna throw things at us,” Ms. Cuencas said.
It was at that point that the man grabbed a brick and hurled it at Ms. Cuencas’s vehicle as she was reversing off the property. “He threw bricks at us and it only missed the back of the rental I was driving by an inch because I had swerved,” Ms. Cuencas said. “I was in shock, disbelief and angry. I was on his property by accident. He had no reason to stone us with bricks. We never cursed at him.”
Ms. Cuencas told The Consortium on Sunday that she called the police to report what had happened. “The police arrived in a timely manner and I made my report. They too were saddened and very concerned about what transpired. They took my report and I was on my way. I will take further action. Apparently he is mad about people mistaking his residence for the cottages next to him. It was an honest mistake. I’m not familiar with that area. I greeted him politely and he was irritated the moment he stepped out to speak to me. I was taken aback by his rudeness,” Ms. Cuencas said.
On Monday, Ms. Cuencas told The Consortium that she tried on multiple occasions to reach the V.I.P.D. relative to the incident to see what, if any actions were being taken, but had not gotten a response. “I am hurt that the police isn’t treating this more forcefully. I was assaulted both verbally and physically. My children are traumatized,” she said.
She added, “My youngest daughter who rode in the backseat hadn’t said much after we got home yesterday. She spent the remainder of the day in her room. My older daughter questioned me as to why do White people hate us so much. ‘We didn’t do anything mommy. All you did was ask for directions.’ This hurts my heart because not all White people act like that. I don’t want my children to grow up in fear or be stained by this memory. I urge the police to please treat this as a hate crime. It was racist and my family and I were scared and traumatized.”
At least two lawmakers took to their Facebook platforms to condemn racism in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Senator Myron Jackson went straight to the point. “The Virgin Islands is not open for racism,” he said.
Senator Kurt Vialet went further. He reminded that the territory was a melting pot of races and cultures, but stated bluntly that racism would not be tolerated. He also called on Public Safety to investigate the matter and issue a report to the people.
“The Virgin Islands serves as home to a diverse population of all races and ethnicities. We have no space or tolerance for sick ideologies or racism of any kind,” Mr. Vialet wrote. “The recent incident must be investigated by Public Safety and a report should be issued to the people of the Virgin Islands. I caution all to not let this one incident taint our minds or change our perceptions of all who live here. However, I encourage all who have decided to make the VI their home to respect our people, our culture and our laws. This foolishness will never be tolerated. I encourage all businesses to provide sensitivity training to our new implants, this is not the continental USA. We live as one as was reflected by the recent parade. St Croix is moving, let’s keep it that way.”
The Consortium reached out to Government House for comment from Governor Albert Bryan, but received no response.
The incident has riled the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the call for action has gone beyond public officials and Ms. Cuencas. Th Consortium will reach out to the V.I.P.D. again to see whether anything has changed.
In a video recorded by one of Ms. Cuencas’s daughters, the man is seen picking up a brick and hurling it a the vehicle as Ms. Cuencas was reversing off the property. The daughters were audibly disturbed by incident, and pressed their mother to move faster, as the man was said to be picking up more bricks and hurling them their way.
“Mammy hurry up please,” a traumatized daughter is heard screaming as the man ran down his driveway looking to throw more bricks at the vehicle Ms. Cuencas was driving.
“He’s running still,” the daughter warned, as Ms. Cuencas honked her cousin and her cousin’s husband, who were in the vehicle at the front, to move faster.
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