FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – An elderly Fort Lauderdale woman is upset following a decision by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office not to press charges against the condominium manager who, she claims, attacked her and mouthed an antisemitic slur.
Speaking with 7News alongside her husband Martin on Thursday, Martha Arnold said she is afraid to return to her apartment at the Ocean Summit condo on Galt Ocean Mile in Fort Lauderdale.
Martha said she hasn’t been gone since the March 16 incident.
The 71-year-old was using the residential elevator instead of the freight elevator when the condo office manager approached her.
“She lunged herself towards my neck, and she pushed me forcefully, very hard, towards the elevator, smashed my head in the back, smashed my back,” said Martha, “and at the same time, she has her band on my [collar] here.”
The condo manager was trying to tell Martha she couldn’t use the residential elevator when things got out of hand.
The manager was not initially charged by Fort Lauderdale Police, and the case was instead handed over the to the Broward State Attorney’s Office, who just decided they’re not going to move forward with the case.
“My wife was attacked in her home, without provocation and overwhelming force,” said Martin. “If that is not criminal, what is?”
According to a memo, the State Attorney’s Office said the condo manager first tapped Martha on the shoulder to get her attention because she was wearing headphones, going on to say that Martha then pushed her.
“This woman is choking my wife, and we asked them, ‘You’re telling us this is not criminal activity? This is not battery?’” said Martin.
Martha called police, and that was when, the couple said, the manager uttered an antisemitic slur.
“She put her two hands right her [next to her mouth], and she says, ‘[Expletive] Jew,’” said Martha.
According to the State Attorney’s Office memo, there was a “delay in reporting the hate crime [and] the lack of surveillance to substantiate it.”
However, the Arnolds said, that’s not true at all.
“We believe that there’s a video — certainly in the lobby, we know there is — and we believe there’s another one also in the office, the manager’s office, where she uttered the slur,” said Martin.
“There’s no justice in Broward for the elderly people and for Jewish people,” said Martha.
The State Attorney’s Office determined the exchange between Martha and the condo manager was “under 20 seconds,” and “there were significant issues with this case,” going on to say “the initial officer determined that this offense involved mutual combat.”
Investigators with the State Attorney’s Office thought that they would have a hard time winning this case in court, so they didn’t pursue it.
“It’s astounding that they can look at these unprovoked, violent acts against a 71-year-old woman, who weighs 50 pounds less than the perpetrator, and they would actually look us in the eye, and the State Attorney says, ‘There’s no crime here,’” said Martin. “It’s beyond comprehension.”
The State Attorney’s memo went on to say that there was also a witness that corroborated the office manager’s account, but the Arnolds said the office manager is the witness’ boss, so he is biased.
The couple said they are trying to figure out what their next steps will be.
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