During the summer of 2020, a white woman from New England pled guilty to assault charges related to a “run-in” with three Black women and their five children. She admitted to infringing on their civil rights and was sentenced to probation and community service as a result of her acts.
Rhonda Wozniak yelled racial comments at an eight-person party on July 28, 2020, before terrifying them with her car.
As the group stood outside of a Swampscott cookie store named the Cookie Monstah in the Vinnin Square parking lot, the 61-year-old Lynn, Massachusetts native rode her car toward them. The mothers were walking back to their automobiles with their children, who ranged in age from five to twelve.
In her presentation to the court, prosecutor Jenn Capone claimed the woman “came rushing toward them in her motor vehicle, nearly hitting them… and urged them to go back where they belong” after one of the moms asked her to slow down.
The woman drove away after the incident and had to be identified by her license plate. Several surveillance cameras from the complex’s stores, as well as mobile phone footage obtained by one of the victims, helped local cops identify the attacker.
During an arraignment process in Lynn District Court on Sept. 30, 2020, Wozniak pleaded not guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, disturbing the peace, disorderly behavior, and eight counts of civil rights violation. The Honorable Judge Cesar Achilla set her bond at $1,000 and told her to stay away from the people involved in the case.
“The defendant’s acts were hurtful and disrespectful, not just to the victims but also to the community at large,” said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who is heading the case.
Wozniak pleaded guilty to eight charges of assault with a dangerous weapon (her automobile) and civil rights violations over a year later.
Doug Ryan and Joe Simons, Wozniak’s lawyers, said their client wanted to make a deal. Despite their office’s preparations for a trial, their client “ultimately opted to plead guilty, and in exchange was sentenced to probation,” they said in a statement.
Judge Jean Curran of the Lynn District Court sentenced the woman to nine months of probation and 40 hours of community service as a result of her acts. Her sentence was less severe than the prosecution had recommended.
Capone wants Wozniak to serve a year on probation with 100 hours of community service.