Fort Lauderdale, FL – An elderly couple is speaking out after a disturbing confrontation between a condo manager and a resident in her 70s.
Speaking with 7News on Wednesday, Martha Arnold said it was bad enough that she was physically attacked, but it’s what she said the manager told her that may have been even worse.
“I was petrified when I saw her so close to me,” she said.
Martha, 71, said she’s terrified to go home after the attack at the door of an elevator on the property, which was caught on surveillance video.
“I was screaming like a madwoman,” she said.
Martha and her husband, Martin Arnold, live at Ocean Summit on Galt Ocean Mile in Fort Lauderdale.
On March 16, Martha said, she was wearing her headphones listening to music and heading up to her condo.
“I was coming from the pool area after I did my exercises, like I do every morning,” she said.
When the freight elevator didn’t arrive, she moved to the resident elevator. That’s when, she said, the office manager attacked her.
“I feel this hand pushing inside my body and screaming, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ The first thing I said was, ‘Don’t push me,’” said Martha, “and I face this hand, raising towards me, and she strikes me.”
The building’s guard stepped in between, but it didn’t end there.
“She lunged herself toward my neck, and she pushed me forcefully,” said Martha, “very hard towards the elevator, smashed my head, smashed my back, and at the same time, she has her hand on my thing here,” she adds, wrinkling her collar.
She immediately called police.
“You have to look at the video in slow motion to note that she was pushing up and impacting on her windpipe,” said Martin..
Police arrived and took statements. Martha said she looked at the office manager and told her…
“‘Don’t you ever do that again,’ and the police turned to look at me, and she put her two hands right here and she says,” Martha says covering the sides of her mouth and whispers, “‘You [expletive] Jew.’ By her calling me effing J, that was a big shock for me.”
In an email sent to the condo association, Martha told the association how the office manager mouthed the antisemitic remark and asked for the surveillance video from her office.
“We don’t understand the reason for the attack,” said Martin, “unless it’s an ethnic attack on us as Jews.” .
The condo association released a statement that read, “The office manager is still employed and the condo association cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation, as police and the State Attorney’s Office is investigating and we are monitoring that closely.”
This, as the Arnolds say they can’t return home.
“The enemy is inside of my house,” said Martha. “She has the keys of our apartment.”
“I think it’s fair to say that my wife suffers from [post-traumatic stress disorder],” said Martin. “She’s really frightened. It’s really affecting her.”
Martha said that before the attack, she hadn’t spoken with the office manager in months, and she’s shocked that she still has her job.
Fort Lauderdale Police have handed over their investigation to the State Attorney’s Office, who will now decide on charges.