Jennifer Susan Wright is the Florida doctor facing a hate crime charge after police said she physically attacked a Hispanic man who asked her to maintain social distancing at a grocery store. Police said Wright also called the man a racial slur and keyed his car, the Miami Herald reported.
The confrontation happened on January 20. But Wright, 58, was not arrested until February 19, according to Miami-Dade County court records. She was released on bond and was due back in court on March 22.
Wright’s attorney, Carlos F. Gonzalez, told the Associated Press that his team “looks forward to discrediting this ugly attack against our client that is filled with lies and twisted information to fit someone else’s political agenda.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victim Asked Wright to Back up as They Stood in Line at a Grocery Store
The confrontation took place at a Publix in Hialeah, Florida, on January 20. The Miami Herald, citing police, reported that Wright and the victim were both in the checkout line waiting to pay. The man felt Wright was standing too close to him.
He asked Wright to back up in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. According to the Miami Herald, the man spoke to Wright first in Spanish and then in English. Wright at first ignored the man before “mumbling bad words” following the second request.
Police said the man did not further engage with Wright. He left the store with his groceries and walked to his vehicle.
2. Wright Punched the Victim After Following Him to His Car
Wright followed the victim to his car. According to the police report cited by the Miami Herald, Wright got close to the man’s face, prompting him to again ask her to give him space.
Police said Wright used a racial slur and told the man, “we should have gotten rid of you when we could” and “This is not going to be Biden’s America, this is my America.” Wright reportedly added, “We should have burned it all.”
The Miami Herald reported Wright then used her keys to scratch the victim’s car while telling the man he “needed to go back to his country.” When the man got out his phone to call the police, Wright punched him and the phone dropped to the ground. Police said Wright kicked the victim when he moved to grab his phone and tried to break the device. She left the scene before the police arrived.
3. Officials Added a Hate Crime Enhancement to the Battery Charge Against Wright
Wright was arrested on February 19. She posted bond the same day and was released, Miami-Dade County court records show. She faces the following charges:
- Criminal mischief (Misdemeanor)
- Tampering with a victim (Felony)
- Battery with prejudice (Felony)
The battery charge against Wright was upgraded to a felony hate crime. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the “Florida Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines Hate Crime as a committed or attempted criminal act by any person or group of persons against a person or the property of another person or group, which in any way constitutes an expression of hatred toward the victim because of his/her personal characteristics.” The characteristics include race, gender, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, advanced age and homeless status.
4. Wright Was an Anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai in Miami Beach But Was Removed From Patient Care Following the Arrest
Wright is a licensed anesthesiologist. According to her profile on the Florida Department of Health website, Wright has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Florida. She earned her medical degree from the University of Miami in 2004.
She went on to complete her internship and residency program at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Her profile noted that Wright has “staff privileges” at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. The record does not specify how long she has been working at the hospital.
According to the Associated Press, Wright “is no longer responsible for patient care” at Mount Sinai. President and CEO Gino Santorio explained in a prepared statement, “Our top priority is the safety of our patients, visitors, and employees. Law enforcement and other appropriate authorities have our full cooperation in this matter.”
Heavy reached out to Mount Sinai’s marketing and communications department to request a comment but did not hear back.
5. Wright Has Suggested on Facebook She Doesn’t Believe ‘Hate Speech’ Is a Real Thing
Wright has been a registered member of the Republican party in Florida since December 30, 2000, according to voter registration information publicly available on the Florida Department of State website. Wright noted on her Facebook page that she lived in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, before moving to Florida. (She appears to have deleted her account following her arrest)/
Wright posted support for former President Trump on Facebook. In December, she uploaded an image that read “World knows Trump won #MAGA” as her cover photo.
According to the Miami Herald, Wright was known in her Miami Springs neighborhood as a “fervent” supporter of the 45th president. The newspaper reported that during Halloween, Wright had a Joe Biden mannequin in her card with a sign that read “Expose the Biden Crime Family.”
On February 9, Wright posted a meme that said, “It’s okay to be white.” On February 12, she uploaded a meme that read, “They don’t want you to have free speech. So they invented the term ‘hate speech’ to shut you up.”