The Black female security guard who punched one of the Pro-Trump rioters on the night before the Capitol protests turned riots has reportedly been fired. The guard, who goes by the names Ashanti S. or Griselda Blanco online, claimed that she only responded in self-defense towards the protesters, who were both harassing and assaulting her. Ashanti, who is being deemed by many as a hero, is now receiving tons of support from people who have rallied behind her via social media.
In the now-viral tweet from user @deep_dab, with over 182k Likes and 53k Retweets, Ashanti is seen talking to one of the protesters when from the side, a hand comes towards her face by a white woman who has now been identified by Newsweek as Therese Duke.
After Ashanti punched Therese, things quickly escalated as she was grabbed by protestors, fellow guards tried to escort her away and other Trump supporters tried to get some jabs in towards her as well. In the aftermath, Therese is seen with blood all over her face. In video follow the punch from that same night, after being asked “who hit you?” She responded, “that girl punched me in the face, that Black girl.”
Since the altercation, which was posted on January 6, Ashanti has been using social media to share her side of what happened that night. In screenshots from a Facebook post where the 28-year old seemingly goes by the name “Griselda Blanco,” she said she never thought she would “go viral,” but that she was “harassed” and “jumped” by three of the protesters who surrounded her. She also confirmed that after the incident, she lost her job.
“Omg so never planned to go viral smh,” she said. “But yes that is in me in the video. They constantly harassed me and all 3 jumped me. Me hitting her was a reflex. I asked them constantly to stop touching me, following me, and bothering me, they kept surrounding me trying to steal my keys out of my pocket and trying to take my phone as seen in the video. Yes I lost my job. Yes I’m good. I’ll respond to everyone once I get my phones out of property.”
In another post she made it clear,” don’t come with no bullsh-t while I’m working bc I’ll say f–k this job real quick 😌 . Respectfully 😘 ”
A GoFundMe page was created in support of her, and it has raised almost $75,000 in a matter of a few days. On it, Ashanti continued to describe the event in detail through her own words. According to her, the incident happened at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C. Once surrounded by the “Trump extremists,” Ashanti said she “honestly feared for her life” due to the group not wearing masks and assaulting her. She also informed us that in addition to losing her job, she’s apparently facing criminal charges.
“Hello. My name is Ashanti. I am a 28-year-old Black woman who lives in the DMV AREA. I recently was assaulted, attacked and harassed by a group of Trump supporters on Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC on January 5th, 2021. A video has surfaced where I was surrounded by a group of Trump extremists, and I honestly feared for my life,” she said. “The video makes me look like I am the aggressor, but it does not show what happened prior to my defending myself. People shoved me, tried to take my phone and keys, yelled racial epithets at me, and tried to remove my mask. I asked them to social distance and stay out of my personal space due to COVID. They refused, and I was afraid of being hurt and harmed. After being assaulted, I defended myself. I am now facing criminal charges. I have also been relieved from my employment pending an investigation, which places me in a hardship. I am asking for support and help with funds for my legal fees and to maintain the essential things that I need to survive during this time. Any amount of help is truly appreciated. Thank you in advance.”
Therese’s daughter, Helena Duke, has come out in recent days since the post has gone viral to denounce her mother’s actions in the video. Helena hopped on Twitter to let the world know that her mother, who ironically told her not to go to Black Lives Matter protests in the summer because “they could get violent,” was the one in the video who touched Ashanti before getting punched by her.
Helena told the New York Post that even though she was apprehensive about outing her mother, she decided to do it because Therese had previously kicked her out of the house for attending a Black Lives Matter protest. Overall, she thought her mother’s actions were just hypocritical.
“At first I was kind of uneasy about it, but I think it was definitely so hypocritical of her to end up kicking me out of the house for going to peaceful protests because she assumed they’d be violent, and then end up going to this, which was obviously a very violent attack on the Capitol — and end up harassing a cop,” the 18-year old said.
After watching the clip, it’s hard to comprehend how anyone could find Ashanti as the one at fault for how things escalated during the protests at Black Lives Matter Plaza. Unfortunately, even though she was only defending herself, losing her job and now being criminally charged is the system’s way of holding her responsible for the chaos Trump’s supporters brought to D.C., and have wreaked across the country. Like many other Black women who have been at the forefront of the movement for change, even though Ashanti’s being called a hero by some now, the impact of that night, both good and bad, are consequences she’ll have to deal with well into the future.