OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Oakland School Board member Jumoke Hinton Hodge is under criticism after a video surfaced of her in physical confrontation with a group of picketing teachers Friday. The video, shot by teacher Daphne Crane, shows Hinton Hodge with her hand on the throat of kindergarten teacher Darnisha Wright.
Wright told KTVU, “I felt something on my neck and found that someone was choking me. All I can say is thankfully it's not just a still picture. It's a video. People just have to look at that and take the truth as they see it.”
Hinton Hodge said that she, too, had been attacked. In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Hinton Hodge said, “I was pushed to the ground, briefly disoriented, and tried to get back up. In doing so, I realized I was inadvertently pushing up against a teacher's neck..."
Daphne Crane, who shot the video, disputes that. “When your hand is around someone's throat and the person is saying, ‘Stop choking me,’ that's intentional to me,” Crane said.
Hinton Hodge wasn’t the only school board member to clash with protesting teachers on Friday. Board member James Harris got into a shouting match with some of the teachers who blocked him from entering the building where the board was scheduled to vote on $21 million in cuts to the district.
In her statement, Hinton Hodge offered an apology to Wright, saying, "I would never have intentionally touched another person (or a sister) in that way. And I regret any harm that I might have caused her... I offer my sincerest apology to Ms. Wright."
Darnisha Wright said she has some physical discomfort from what took place, but was not seriously hurt.
“I don't believe that she was targeting me,” Wright said. “I feel like I was just an unfortunate person in the wrong place at the wrong time.”