Authorities in Snohomish County, Washington, said a 59-year-old Edmonds woman was arrested after she was accused of launching into a racist tirade inside a McDonald’s on Highway 99 in Edmonds on Friday. She’s accused of telling a family that they didn’t belong in Edmonds.
Edmonds police responded when a witness called 911. The family of five included a 15-year-old girl and her younger brother.
Karla Cerbin-Cazarin, from Edmonds, feels comfortable speaking both Spanish and English. The incident has forced her to rethink some of her feelings. “I just don't feel comfortable speaking my own language in this country anymore.”
Cerbin-Cazarin said her family was speaking Spanish inside the McDonald's when the woman started yelling at them. A witness also told police the woman was yelling racist epithets at the family, telling them to "get out of our country" and “if you don't speak English, you shouldn't be here."
Cerbin-Cazarin said her family tried to answer the woman calmly only to be met with repeated insults. “Seeing my family go through that, I felt really angry, really disgusted at what she did.”
Witnesses also said the woman left the restaurant, opened the door of an empty car in the parking lot thinking it was Cerbin-Cazarin's family's car and spit inside the vehicle.
Rose Emmons said she was working at a nearby shop when she noticed the activity at the McDonald’s. “I just saw the police officer,” she said. Other witnesses, including Sara Foster, who works at a coffee shop next to the McDonald’s, said they were surprised that an allegation of hate speech drew out police. “Oh wow! that's a little surprising I wasn't expecting that,” said Foster.
Edmonds police said they traced the license plate of the suspect's car and arrested her in downtown Edmonds the same day.
For Cerbin-Cazarin, the tirade felt like a threat against her family, including her little brother. Cerbin-Cazarin translated the story of the incident for police and admitted that, although the woman was arrested, her family is reeling especially her little brother. “I was crying with him. He just doesn't feel right. He doesn't want to speak his own language anymore.”
Cerbin-Cazarin said a police officer helped clean the spit out of the car. She also said this is the first time she has experienced hate like this.
According to Snohomish County Jail records, the woman posted bond the same day she was arrested. She has not yet been charged.
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