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Woman faces felony hate crime charges over viral video showing her demanding a beach pass from a black patron


She's in some trouble

Image source: Twitter video screenshot

A woman is facing hate crime charges after she allegedly harassed and struck a black man at a beach in Winnetka, Illinois.

The alleged incident was captured on video and widely shared on social media.

What are the details?

In August, the video of 65-year-old Irene Donoshaytis went viral after she approached Otis Campbell, a black male, at a Winnetka beach, demanding that he show his beach pass.

The male — who was with friends on a bike ride — did not have a pass, because the beach is public access.

"This is America. This is America, you can't do this," Donoshaytis insisted. "I'm from Winnetka. You need to go back where you're from."

Campbell called authorities and reported the exchange in which Donoshaytis can be seen lunging at him, reportedly striking him twice. During the exchange, she can also be heard admitting she felt threatened because Campbell is black.

"You want to kill me?" she says in the video. "No? It feels like."

Campbell fires back, "Why would I try to kill you? Is it because I'm black?"

In the video, Donoshaytis answers in the affirmative.

Woman forced to surrender passport

Prosecutors allege that the elderly woman's actions were racist and illegal.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Deputy Police Chief Brian O'Connell said that Donoshaytis turned herself in on the hate crime charge on Wednesday morning.

She was previously charged with battery in connection with the August incident.

The outlet reports that the Cook County state's attorney's office filed the Class 4 felony hate crime charge that morning.

She was released Wednesday on bond. As part of the conditions, Judge Anjana Hansen ordered Donoshaytis to have no contact with either the victim or any eyewitnesses. Donoshaytis is also required to surrender her passport.

Her attorney, Jeffrey Fagan, says Donoshaytis was a refugee of the Soviet Union — and she isn't racist.

"Her story and version of events amounts to a misunderstanding between the parties that was escalated based on the timing of where we are as a culture," Fagan explained.

'Stand up for yourself'

Campbell said that Donoshaytis' punishment should serve as an "example."

"It should be something that's an example and let people know — hey, when you see this, stand up for yourself, or see your friend going through this, stand up for him and anybody going through this," he said. "Make a difference."

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