A Michigan woman and her husband were charged with felony assault Thursday after she was caught on video pointing a gun at a Black mom and daughter following a fiery shouting match outside a fast-food restaurant this week.
The confrontation, part of which was captured on video and included accusations of racism, happened Wednesday in the parking lot of a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Orion Township, about 40 miles north of Detroit.
It all started when the white woman bumped into a 15-year-old girl right outside the restaurant, the teen’s mother told The Detroit News. When Takelia Hill’s daughter demanded an apology, the stranger became aggressive and started cursing her out, Hill told the paper.
The mom jumped in to defend her daughter, but the argument then escalated into a lengthy and nasty clash, with Hill and her daughter calling the unidentified woman “racist,” “ignorant” and a “dumba — b — -h,” according to a clip shared by a Twitter user who identified herself as the teen’s aunt and a longer video obtained by The Detroit News.
In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said authorities were “presented with two very different stories” as both families claimed they felt “extremely threatened.” But after a preliminary investigation, prosecutors decided to charge the white woman and her husband, who was also armed and briefly joined the confrontation Wednesday.
Authorities did not immediately name the suspects, but local news outlets identified them as Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42. If convicted, they could face up to four years in prison.
The longer video of the incident shows Eric Wuestenberg helping his wife get into an SUV as the mother and daughter appeared to be in their way while shouting at them.
After she finally got into the car and sat on the passenger’s seat, Jillian Wuestenberg tried to defend herself from the accusations.
“You cannot just walk around calling white people racist,” she was heard saying. “This is not that type of world. White people aren’t racist. No one’s racist.
“I care about you,” she continued. “I care about you and I’m sorry if you had an incident that someone made you feel like that.”
Although the confrontation appeared to be ending, the clash took an ugly turn just seconds later. When the man tried to back out of the parking space, he almost struck Hill with the SUV, she told The Detroit News.
That’s when Hill hit the back window of the car for him to stop, leading Jillian Wuestenberg to get out of the vehicle with a gun in her hand.
“Get the f — k away from me,” the woman repeatedly told the mom and daughter, while pointing the firearm at them.
The confrontation continued for at least another minute as Hill and her daughter appeared to call for the cops. Jillian Wuestenberg eventually got back into the car without firing any shots.
Deputies arrived at the scene moments later, handcuffed the suspect and seized her gun, Bouchard told reporters Thursday.
The sheriff also criticized the public for jumping to conclusions before deputies could even begin an investigation. He said his office received multiple threats of violence after the videos surfaced online.
“There’s a lot of tension in our society,” Bouchard said. “People somehow are picking sides… We don’t see sides. We see facts.”
The sheriff also pleaded for calm and urged people to treat each other with respect.
“We are asking and expect our police, and rightfully so, to de-escalate every situation they possibly can,” he said. “But I would also say that needs to happen with us individually, in our own lives, in situations that we interact with each other and de-escalate those moments.
“Remember, each one of us is a human being that deserves respect,” he added. “Let’s treat each other like that.”
©2020 New York Daily News