(CBS Local) — A viral video showing an elderly white woman allegedly calling the police on a Hispanic mother who was sitting in a car with her sleeping baby has sparked a social media firestorm. In the video, the older woman claims she is concerned for the child’s safety. Now many are asking: is she a racist or a just a concerned citizen?
The debate’s raging all over social media after the mother posted a video of the incident in Riverside County, California, on Facebook (warning: the video contains graphic language). Twitter has since responded with the hashtag #ParkingLotBarbara.
In the video, posted September 22, the elderly woman apparently calls local law enforcement, saying she was concerned because the child wasn’t properly shielded from the sun’s rays.
“I have this child here — it’s in this car at the PetSmart parking lot and the car door’s locked and the sun is kind of beating right on the baby’s face in the back seat,” she says into the phone. “She’s still in a little car seat, I don’t know how old he is.”
“I’m in the car with her!” insisted the mother, who wrote that the air conditioning was “blasting” when the woman approached her vehicle.
“No you’re not, you’re out here yelling at me,” the woman responded.
That’s when the mother’s husband returns to the car.
“She’s calling the cops on me because she said the baby is in pain,” the mother tells him. “She says Elsie is in pain.”
“Why is she in pain?” he asked.
“Because she’s sleeping in the sun, she said,” the mother says.
When she spots the husband, the woman places the call on hold.
“Oh, because he’s white?” the mother says. “Because he’s white, it’s OK because he’s here now?”
“No because he’s acting sane,” the woman responds.
The husband points out the air conditioning was running and then asks the woman to admit her mistake.
“Yes, I can see that she’s OK now,” she replies.
She also insists that she didn’t realize the baby’s father was white, due to his baseball hat and beard.
Finally, the woman tells the mother, “You deserve that child to be injured. And you probably do injure it.”
“Look at you,” she adds as she walks away.
The woman in the video has not yet been identified, but the video does include a brief shot of her license plate on her silver KIA.