MONTE VISTA, Colo. (CBS4) – A man was caught on camera berating a woman because she doesn’t speak English. The tense exchange happened last week during a game of bingo at an Elks Lodge in Monte Vista.
The argument started when the woman asked the man for a card to play a round of bingo. A witness recorded the man defending himself for asking the woman to speak English.
“No I’m not a racist, I’m saying speak English,” the man was heard yelling to the woman.
The woman who the man was arguing with is Maria Yanez. She 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 said in an exclusive interview with CBS4 partner KKTV.
“Why don’t you get the hell out,” one person was heard yelling back at the man.
“I don’t have to learn, I live in America,” the man responded. “I live in America. I speak English.”
Elks Lodge released a statement apologizing for the incident. They said the man was a member of the organization but has since resigned.
“On behalf of the Elks Organization, the Monte Vista Lodge and its members we offer a sincere apology for the incident which occurred during the bingo session on Feb. 5, 2020. The vitriolic actions and words of the involved individual are inexcusable, intolerable and totally unacceptable. His behavior is not representative of the elks’ organization, the Monte Vista lodge or its members, or of their beliefs. That elk has tendered his resignation, is no longer an officer, and has been discharged from the bingo committee. The person at whom those hurtful words and actions were directed was personally apologized to that evening and an apology was made to everyone in attendance.
It is the hope of the Monte Vista Lodge that the community will view it in light of its charitable work and activities performed by its members and volunteers and not for the repugnant act of one individual. The Lodge offers its heartfelt and sincere apology to everyone affected by the divisive action of one person.”
Police were called to the lodge and are investigating the incident as possible harassment.
“This is such a close knit community, 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,” said Nadia.