By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State police determined that charges could be filed against the woman seen on video calling Gisele Fetterman a racial slur, but the family wants to avoid prosecution.
The second lady of Pennsylvania posted a video of the confrontation Sunday on Twitter. Fetterman also claims the woman told her, “She doesn’t belong here.” Fetterman is Brazilian-American.
The state police announced Thursday that following an investigation, “the conduct of the individual depicted in the video does meet the culpability threshold necessary to support charging of several violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code,” but the family prefers “the woman be given an opportunity to engage appropriate social services and other resources.”
Fetterman says state police identified and spoke with the woman involved in the incident. Fetterman says the woman appeared to recognize her and began harassing her late Sunday afternoon at a store near the family’s home in Braddock.
According to Fetterman, the woman directed a racial epithet at her repeatedly and even followed after the second lady as she retreated to her vehicle in the parking lot. That’s where Fetterman recorded a two-second clip and posted it to social media.
“This incident is a reminder of the toll racism takes on individuals as well as the community. The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to fair and thorough investigations and encourages victims to immediately report crimes motivated by hate or bias to law enforcement,” the state police said in a release.
In a tweet on Thursday, Fetterman thanked everyone for their support.
“It’s our fervent hope that she is able to secure the necessary treatment and intervention needed in order to break this cycle. The optimal outcome to this scenario lays in a way forward and away from hate,” Fetterman said.
Thank you all so much for your outreach & kindness this week. It’s our fervent hope that she is able to secure the necessary treatment and intervention needed in order to break this cycle. The optimal outcome to this scenario lays in a way forward and away from hate. pic.twitter.com/8bFmorxDoi
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) October 15, 2020
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman said he and Gisele “believed the best outcome of this situation lay outside the criminal justice system.
“We both hope the individual receives the intervention + compassion needed to reject hate,” he said on Twitter.
Gisele + I always believed the best outcome of this situation lay outside the criminal justice system.
We both hope the individual receives the intervention + compassion needed to reject hate.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) October 15, 2020
Earlier in the week, Governor Tom Wolf condemned the verbal assault and hate speech. In a statement, Gov. Wolf said of the incident:
“The ethnic intimidation and racist speech spewed at the Second Lady of Pennsylvania is shameful and unacceptable. Racism and hate speech are always unacceptable, and unworthy of Pennsylvanians. No Pennsylvanian should ever be made to feel unwelcome in our commonwealth because of their race or ethnicity. Gisele Fetterman spends much of her time devoted to making our state and world a better place and she — and every Pennsylvanian — deserves our respect, not the hatred too often displayed by people who seek only to further divide this country at a time when unity is so desperately needed.