A plant manager at a North Hollywood middle school says he was doing his job, keeping the campus grounds clean, when he was targeted by a racist rant Thursday morning.
Jardiel Ochoa, 39, says he began recording the interaction on his cellphone after he asked a woman to pick up excrement her dog has left on the school’s lawn while taking a walk. Ochoa asked that the school he works at not be identified.
The video, posted to Ochoa’s Facebook page, opens with him asking the woman, “You want me to go back to Mexico?”
She responds, “I sure do. I’m tired of your bossy attitudes.”
The woman, who has not been identified then tells him to stop “stalking” her, at which point Ochoa informs her that he’s in charge of the property.
“You just think it’s your property because you’re Mexican,” she says. “That’s how Mexicans are. They think they own America, and we’re sending them back.”
But Ochoa was born in the United States.
“I’m more American than you, ma’am,” he tells the woman. “Next time just pick up after your dog.”
In an interview with KTLA Friday night, Ochoa said he was initially shocked by the woman’s reaction to the simple request.
“But at the same time, that’s why I started recording, to protect myself from any he said-she said type of thing,” he said.
The school employee’s 9-year-old son, Elijah — who has never been to Mexico — said the video made him feel “sad, because my dad, he’s a kind person. He doesn’t say mean things to people. He’s just kind, calm.”
But Jardiel said he has a simple explanation for the heated interaction.
“It’s the Trump effect in full effect,” he said. “I feel that that’s just the political climate right now and people feel emboldened to put other people down.”
Editor’s note: This video contains language that some viewers may find offensive.