Heated exchange over language barrier caught on camera in small Colorado town
Only on 11 News: A man was caught on camera berating a woman because she can't speak English.
This happened Wednesday night at an Elks Lodge in Monte Vista, which is southwest of Canon City near Alamosa.
A woman and her friends were there for bingo night, and the argument started when she asked the man for a card to play. A witness sent us a video of what happened, and you can hear the man, off-camera, yelling from a distance. You can watch parts of the video at the top of this article.
"No I'm not a racist, I'm saying speak English," you can hear a man telling a woman in the video.
The woman who sent us this video couldn't believe what she was hearing. The woman in the video, Maria Yanez, is originally from Mexico but has lived in the United States for 30 years. She called her daughter Nadia after the exchange and told her she was frightened.
"There's really no words to describe the feeling of fury that you feel knowing that not only a loved one but your mother was viciously attacked," Nadia Yanez explained to 11 News.
A few people stand up for Maria while the man continues to criticize her on video.
"Why don't you get the hell out," the man can be heard asking Maria in the video. "I don't have to learn, I live in America. I live in America … I speak English."
"This is such a close-knit community," Nadia told 11 News over video chat. "You don't think that that's going to happen here. And then when it does and it happens to someone that you love, it hits so close to home it's just so disappointing."
Police were called to the lodge. The police chief tells us this is being investigated as a harassment case for now.
Elks Lodge sent 11 News a statement, apologizing for the incident. You can read the statement below: