A white woman repeatedly asked a landscaper at a city-owned housing complex in California to show her his “papers,” video shows.
The unidentified woman first blows a kiss to the landscaper as he worked Wednesday at an affordable housing complex in Rancho Mirage, according to a 2-minute clip shot by Juan Carlos Andrade Mendez.
The smiling woman then circles Mendez before blocking his way, prompting the man to ask her to step aside as he shuts off his mower, video shows.
“Can you move?” Mendez said. “I’m doing my work. Can you move?”
The landscaper also asks the woman to put on a face covering, saying she was standing “too close” to him amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the clip.
“You’re not wearing a mask, can you step away?” Mendez asks.
“Can you show me your papers?” the woman calmly replies before cutting the landscaper off when he asks if she an immigration official. “No, no, I want to see your papers.”
The woman then walked away briefly before returning and continuing to ask where the man was from,” video shows.
“No, you’re not Mexican,” she told Mendez after he made a playful reference to Mexico.
“What am I?” Mendez replies.
“I don’t know, you tell me,” said the woman, who later surmises he may Filipino or Vietnamese, according to the clip.
“I’m Chinese, actually,” the man replies. “Oh my goodness, you’re funny. You just made my day.”
The vile clip that went viral on social media sparked an investigation in Rancho Mirage that had been “pretty much” completed as of Sunday, the Desert Sun reports.
“It wasn’t very difficult,” city attorney Steve Quintanilla told the newspaper.
The investigation centered on city housing policy and whether any steps needed to be taken to prevent similar encounters from occurring, but officials decided it was an isolated incident, Quintanilla said.
Still, property managers at the development – Parkview Villas on San Jacinto Drive – are conducting a separate investigation that could to the woman’s eviction, Quintanilla said.
“I can say action will be taken,” Quintanilla told the newspaper, declining to elaborate.
Quintanilla also refused to identify the woman. City officials have said, however, she was a resident of the complex for people 55 and over, the newspaper reports.
“This matter will not be ignored, nor tolerated,” Mayor Dana Hobart said in a statement. “It is appalling to learn of the hateful misconduct of one of Rancho Mirage’s senior living residents. Racist conduct if any sort is strictly prohibited and not taken lightly in our public housing.”
Mendez, meanwhile, told Storyful it wasn’t the first time the woman interrupted his work, saying he recorded the interaction to show a property manager at the property, where he works twice a week, he said.
Mendez told NBC Palm Springs the woman also told him to “go back to his country” as he worked there some months ago.
“Like any other complex, I was just doing the work for all of them, mowing the lawn,” he told the station. “I passed by her apartment and when I turned around to do the second round, that’s when I saw her standing … When she was harassing me, I started to feel mad because I was just doing my work.”
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