BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A California woman who was caught on camera yelling and swearing at a Black Lives Matter protester has issued an apology for what she called a moment of “anxiety, frustration and panic” caused in part over caring for an elderly mother vulnerable to health complications and an autistic son.
Carrie Maxwell said she had seen news coverage of protests turning into riots and, on Friday, heard protesters gathering and loudly chanting profanities near her home in northwest Bakersfield, California. She became overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, she said, and after being told by police that there was nothing they could do she went out to ask the protesters to move away.
The protests began round 6 p.m. when groups protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality were met by counter-protesters carrying American flags and “Make America Great Again” flags.
About an hour into the demonstration, protester Erika Baze decided it was time to head home. She said she and her daughter were walking back to their car when they were confronted by Maxwell.
Baze said Maxwell told them they weren’t welcome in the area and that she was going to call the police. The mother said Maxwell tried to get violent so she started recording video and captured the rest of the confrontation. In the video, Baze’s 8-year-old daughter can be heard crying in the background.
“There was a woman who became confrontational and I responded in an inappropriate manner,” Maxwell said in a statement released Monday through her attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey. “I never intended to cause fear. I never spoke to or threatened this woman’s daughter. I have never been in a physical altercation in my life.”
“I am humiliated by my actions,” she said.
She said she apologizes to anyone hurt by her behavior in the video, where at one point she says “I will f-ing kill you,” before her husband drags her away.
She also said she’s sorry if she distracted from the point of the protest.
Like everyone else, she said, she was horrified by the video that captured the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
“Every man, woman and child deserves to be treated with dignity, compassion and equality, regardless of the color of their skin, and every person deserves to live a life free of fear,” Maxwell said.
Humphrey said the video is not reflective of the type of person Maxwell is. She’s been a dedicated teacher for a dozen years and works with each child to make sure everyone gets equal time from her and is treated the same.
She “clearly made a bad choice,” Humphrey said, but there was no fear or perceived threat as a result of what she said. The attorney said the video didn’t capture the entire confrontation and the back-and-forth that occurred before the protester began filming.
The Bakersfield City School District Superintendent Doc Ervin issued the following statement about the incident:
“The Bakersfield City School District strives to be a model of inclusion and equity for our students, staff, families and community members. The District is aware of the incident that occurred on June 5 involving an employee. We do not condone nor endorse the action and behavior captured on the video. The district is currently conducting an investigation into the incident.”
Full statement from Maxwell’s attorney:
The Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey as representatives for Carrie Maxwell are providing this response from Ms. Maxwell to the partial video circulating on social media involving a confrontation between Ms. Maxwell and a protester:
I want to offer my sincerest apology to anyone who was hurt by my behavior in that video.
My behavior was never intended in any way to diminish this important time in the life of our country. Like everyone else, I was horrified by the video of the murder of George Floyd. every man, woman, and child deserves to be treated with dignity, compassion, and equality, regardless of the color of their skin, and every person deserves to live a life free of fear.
What you saw in that video was a captured moment of my anxiety, frustration, and panic for the safety of my family. I am the caretaker for my 18-year-old autistic son and my elderly mother who has COPD and is extremely vulnerable to health complications. I had seen news coverage of the protests turning into riots across the country and was aware that the protest near my home had turned to confrontation the day before. When I heard protesters gathering near my home, loudly chanting profanities, I became overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. I called the police and was told there was nothing they could do. I went out to ask the protesters to move the protest away from my home. This was not shown on the video that was posted. there was a woman who became confrontational and I responded in a inappropriate manner. I never intended to cause fear. i never spoke to or threatened this woman’s daughter. I have never even been in a physical altercation in my life.
I am humiliated by my actions.
I am heartbroken to think that any of my students or their parents might see that video and believe that it is in any way reflective of my values or views regarding race or inclusivity.
My family and my students are my greatest joys in life. I take pride in creating a classroom environment that is welcoming and safe for all my students, regardless of their race. In my twelve years of teaching, I have predominantly taught students of color. I have always been and will continue to be passionately protective of my students’ well-being. I work every day to ensure that my students are afforded every opportunity for success. As teachers, we are not only educators, but also counselors, social workers, guardian, and friends. I take pride in the relationships I have cultivated with my students and their parents. In the future I will continue to support and uplift my students and stand against inequality of all types.