Woman visiting Surfside says motorist used hate speech against her

SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - An Orthodox Jewish woman visiting South Florida said she was the victim of hate speech in broad daylight.

Bassie Medalie was walking along Abbott Avenue in Surfside, Wednesday afternoon, when she said a man in a vehicle yelled out to her.

“He rolled down his window and started to scream and shout obscenities at me,” said Medalie. “Then he said, ‘Why don’t you go to Gaza and kill some more Palestinians?'”

Medalie is currently in town from South Africa visiting family in Surfside.

“I was dumbstruck. I just stood there, and I couldn’t believe what was going on,” she said. “Here I am in Surfside. I just came from South Africa, where I never had this type of abuse, ever. This guy is just carrying on. What did I do? What do I have to do with Palestinians in Gaza?”

Medalie said she went and found a police officer after the incident.

“I just stood there and listened to him. I wasn’t afraid, but I was shocked,” Medalie said. “How could anybody say that? What do I, a pedestrian in the street, have anything to do with killings in Gaza?”

Surfside Police were able to quickly track the man down, who, they said, adamantly denied saying anything about Gaza to Medalie.

“I would say he is a desperately sick liar,” said Medalie.

Surfside Vice Mayor Daniel Gielchinsky said police are now investigating the matter.

“I think it is a big deal. You have to understand, in this day and age, that that sort of dialogue, that sort of hatred, that sort of speech is not tolerated,” said Gielchinsky. “I’ve already asked our police to do a very thorough investigation, look into everything that has occurred. I understand that process is ongoing.”

Medalie said she is very serious about this incident and wants to press charges against the man.

“I’m very emotional because my children live here. My sister lives here, all my children’s friends. I am very frightened of it as well,” said Medalie.

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