Woman guilty of civil rights violations, told Black families in Swampscott to ‘to go back where they belong’ and nearly hit them with car

A Lynn woman has pleaded guilty to more than a dozen civil rights violations and assault charges in connection with an altercation at a North Shore cookie shop last year in which she shouted racist insults at a group of Black families and nearly hit them with her car.

On July 28, 2020, as a group of three Black women and their five children left The Cookie Monstah, a cookie shop in Swampscott, Rhonda Wozniak, 61, came speeding toward them in her car. When one of the women asked Wozniak, a white woman, to slow down, she shouted racial slurs and told them to “go back where they belong,” prosecutors said.

One of the children, officials said, later asked their mother, “where do we belong?”

Wozniak was charged with eight civil rights violations and eight counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. Appearing in Lynn District Court, she was sentenced by Judge Jean Curran to nine months of probation during which she must complete 40 hours of community service.

“The defendant’s action were harmful and offensive, not only to the victims, but also to the community at large,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “I am thankful to the Swampscott Police and my staff who ensured that the victims were heard and that the defendant was held accountable for her criminal behavior.

Swampscott police identified Wozniak using cell phone video filmed by one of the victims and surveillance footage from a nearby store, both of which captured her car’s license plate.

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