Two Massachusetts women face hate crime charges after physically attacking a mother and her 15-year-old daughter who were speaking Spanish in East Boston, prosecutors said Friday.
Jenny Ennamorati, 25, and Stephanie Armstrong, 25, were both charged with misdemeanor counts of assault and battery and felony counts of violating constitutional rights with bodily injury. Ennamorati also faces a felony charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for kicking one or both of the alleged victims with her shoed foot.
"The victims and witnesses each allege that without provocation Ennamorati and Armstrong began shouting at the mother and daughter and then physically attacked them because they were laughing and speaking to each other in Spanish," said a statement from the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.
The mother who was attacked, identified by Lawyers for Civil Rights as Ms. Vasquez, 46, said in a statement that she and her daughter "were attacked, punched, kicked and bitten."
"I’m having nightmares. I’m afraid to take the train to work, and my family is afraid to speak Spanish in public," Ms. Vasquez said. "My daughter is still wearing a neck brace, and she’s having trouble sleeping. We are all very shaken."
Ennamorati and Armstrong are due in court on March 9. They told police officers "they had been drinking and were behaving belligerently," according to the district attorney's statement.
District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she would "personally be watching this case at every step."
"There is no place for hatred or bigotry in Suffolk County," Rollins said. "The sense of entitlement and privilege these defendants must have felt to utter these hateful and racist words, and then to physically attack a mother and her child for laughing and speaking Spanish is outrageous and reprehensible."
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.