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Man made Spanish-speaking 'slave' neighbors pledge allegiance to the flag on video, cops say

A Centralia, Washington, man arrested last week for making his Spanish-speaking neighbors into chore “slaves” also made them recite the Pledge of Allegiance, asked about their papers and broadcast the incident live on Facebook, a police report said.
A Centralia, Washington, man arrested last week for making his Spanish-speaking neighbors into chore “slaves” also made them recite the Pledge of Allegiance, asked about their papers and broadcast the incident live on Facebook, a police report said. AP

A Washington man who held his neighbors in his yard as chore “slaves” and forced them to recite the Pledge of Allegiance didn’t just terrorize the family — he also broadcast video of the humiliation live on Facebook, according to a police report.

Wellington Miles Waggener, 29, was arrested May 30 around 8 a.m. after he grabbed and hit a 12-year-old neighbor boy, made the boy do chores in his yard and forced the boy’s mother, brother and sister to do chores as well when they came looking for the child, police said. After an hour, the mother and three children fled when Waggener walked across the street. Waggener was arrested and taken to the Lewis County jail, where he is being held without bail, jail records said.

“He’s kind of an intimidating guy,” Centralia Police Commander Pat Fitzgerald said last week, explaining why the family didn’t flee the 6-foot-9-inch, 250-pound neighbor. “It’s taken five police officers to get him into custody [before].”

But a police report on the incident reveals additional “disturbing” and racial dimensions to the alleged crime, police said — in part because Waggener streamed so much of the incident on Facebook, which a police officer he’s friends with on the social network immediately noticed.

Toward the beginning of the live video Waggener posted, he decided he wanted to make the family recite the Pledge of Allegiance, police said.

"Go get that flag for me,” Waggener told one of the children, who are 12, 13 and 15, according to police.

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As the child fetched a small American flag from the yard, one of the “terrified” family members asked Waggener whether they could all leave so the mother could drop the children off at school, where one had a test, police said.

“No, y'all got to stay here,” Waggener responded, according to police. “This your school. Detention. Y'all been bad.”

That’s when the video “became even more disturbing,” according to police: Waggener made the family stand in a line and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, yelling at them as they tried to say the words and berating them for not saying it loud enough, police said.

But the mother, whose first language is Spanish, didn’t know the words — and so Waggener began calling her derogatory names and questioning her.

"You a citizen huh?" Waggener yelled at the mother, according to police. "I'm trying to make you a citizen!"

After the mother explained that she doesn’t know the words because she’s from Mexico, Waggener asks her “about her papers,” the police report said.

When the woman’s daughter told Waggener to stop berating her mother and cursing at her, the situation escalated further. Waggener yelled at the girl for not pledging allegiance loud enough and walked up to the girl as if he was going to punch her, according to the police report.

That’s when the mother stepped in to stop Waggener, police said.

Even when police came, though, Waggener kept recording the video on Facebook, police said. The family was “visibly shaking” when police got to the scene.

"Oh there's the class, hey class,” Waggener told a police officer he was speaking to, as the neighbors who fled earlier reappeared. “Here they come running. I'm making them clean the yard. I'm being a bad guy! Being a teacher."

The video ends when police tell Waggener to get onto his stomach so they can arrest him, police said.

“The suspect complied and then rolled over to his stomach and looked up at me,” a responding officer wrote in the police report. “I knew right then it was Wellington Miles Waggener and drew my pistol due to his past physical actions with police. I kept my pistol in one hand and pointed downward as Waggener screamed at me not to shoot him ... I have arrested Waggener numerous times and every time it has been a fight.”

But this time, Waggener was arrested without incident, police said.

Waggener also said “work, b---h, work” to the family as he made them pick up garbage, sweep and stack firewood, according to the police report. He told them doing the chores meant “they knew what it was like to be slaves.”

"Why you don't fix my lawn. You guys fix lawns great,” Waggener told the family — a comment they interpreted as racist, according to police. “You guys are landscapers."

Waggener was charged with malicious harassment, unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault after his arrest last week, the Centralia Chronicle reports. He’s scheduled to be back in court in June.

About 110 people from 45 countries took the oath of allegiance on Thursday during a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens. The ceremony was held at the Kansas City Central Library.

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