A woman could face charges after an incident at Lake Chabot Regional Park on Sunday in which she shouted insults at a group of Muslim men praying in the park and then allegedly struck one and threw coffee at him, an East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman said today.
The woman, identified as Denise Slader, encountered the men around 3 p.m. Sunday at the volleyball courts near the park’s entrance, according to parks spokeswoman Carolyn Jones.
Jones said Slader is an employee of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. That department was not immediately available to confirm her employment there.
The men were praying and the woman got into a conversation about religion that escalated into an argument. Jones said the victims described the woman saying things like “Your God is Satan” and “the Koran is evil.”
The men began recording the incident in a video that has since gone viral on social media.
The woman can be seen on the video saying “The people you torture are going to be in heaven. You are very deceived by Satan. Your mind has been taken over, brainwashed, and you’ve got nothing but hate.”
A park ranger can be seen in the video trying to intervene, but the woman responds angrily, saying it is inappropriate for the man to tape her.
The victim, who cannot be seen on camera, can be heard saying “This lady was talking about my God.”
The woman then allegedly struck the man with an umbrella and threw her coffee on him, Jones said.
Park district police responded and an officer took statements and wrote a report recommending a charge of misdemeanor battery, Jones said.
The report is expected to be forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office today and the decision on whether to pursue a hate crime charge will be left up to prosecutors, Jones said.
Jones said prayer in the park is legal, as is stating your views, as long as you don’t disturb the peace.
“Lake Chabot is a very popular park and a very diverse area and 99 times out of 100 people are very tolerant and accepting of each other,” Jones said.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News