‘Swing Set Susan’ Charged With Impersonating an Officer After Video of Her Harassing Latina Teens Goes Viral

Lead Photo: Empty colorful swings at the park. Getty Images
Empty colorful swings at the park. Getty Images
Read more

A Texas woman who said she was a cop and harassed a group of teenage Latinas playing at a park in Fort Worth has been identified and charged with impersonating a police officer.

On October 16, the teens posted a video on Twitter that showed the woman, now identified as Samantha Louise Eley, cursing at the girls for playing at the recently-opened Dream Park and threatening to arrest at least one of them. The clip, which has since been retweeted more than 42,000 times, caught the attention of the Fort Worth Police Department, which shared that the woman was not a local officer and that they would be investigating the incident.

Later, her face was picked out of a lineup by one of the girls she harassed. Following confirmation, The New York Times reports that the once rowdy and loud 38-year-old woman had no comment and refused to be interviewed by the detective in charge of the case. On Wednesday, FWPD tweeted that Eley had been charged for impersonating a public servant and was in Tarrant County Jail.

Online, Twitter users who helped elevate the story celebrated the news and the power of social media and technology. Though not always successful, they say this is an example of collective power.

Similar to past offenders, like BBQ Becky or Permit Patty, people have knighted Eley with a nickname of her own: Swing Set Susan. She is reportedly facing up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

This case is the latest eerie reminder that oftentimes children of color aren’t given the chance to be, well, children.