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St. Croix Native Black Woman Arrested For ‘Hate Crime’ After Health Officer’s Mask Citation Of Bartender

CHRISTIANSTED — A Health Department peace officer said a St. Croix native black woman called him names and allegedly spit on him in a time of coronavirus — and was arrested. A white man alleged accomplice was arrested a day later.

Nathalie Hollins, 51, of Estate Morningstar, was arrested about 9 p.m Saturday and charged with third-degree assault, the Virgin Islands Police Department said just before midnight on Tuesday.

Hollins, the daughter of top-producing St. Croix real estate broker Marcia Hollins of Jamaica and late Tide Village developer-builder Percy J. Hollins III of Canada is an in-demand singer-actress talent with the Caribbean Community Theater in Orange Grove who was trained in the performing arts as part of an American university exchange program with Russia.

James Bildahl, 27, police said “of no fixed address,” was also charged with third-degree assault after the alleged name-calling incident at Spratnet Bar & Grill in Cane Bay on Saturday night. Bildahl was arrested at 4 p.m. Sunday.

SURF’S UP: James Bildahl

Wanson Harris, the Virgin Islands Director of Environmental Health, said that he was called a “black monkey” by someone at the Spratnet Bar & Grill, and effectuated the arrest of Hollins after she became “belligerent,” according to a sworn affidavit filed in Superior Court.

Harris said Cane Bay-area restaurants had been singled out by the government for inspections and that he observed the bartender at Spratnet was not wearing a face mask about 7:15 p.m. Saturday and was attempting to cite her under COVID-19 protocols.

When St. Croix native Hollins and Bildahl attempted to defend the white female bartender — the black woman was arrested by the Virgin Islands Department of Health. Bildahl, who allegedly pushed Harris away as he tried to arrest Hollins, was arrested the next day.

Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. said that he approved of the Gestapo tactics employed by the VIDOH in this targeted sting operation of white-owned St. Croix businesses and that any person who interferes with the workings of a VIDOH officer will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Bryan added that he closed Spratnet “indefinitely” after the alleged name-calling incident.

“Absolutely, they were shut down,” Bryan told the Virgin Islands Daily News, adding that the “staff and patrons’ actions” were “not acceptable in every regard.”

Hollins and Bildahl were released following advice-of-rights hearings after authorities realized that they had no case against them.

A reader of the V.I. Freep on social media said that if the business had paid Harris his routine upfront baksheesh fee of $100 cash, the restaurant would not have been cited for any health code violations.

Meanwhile, the little story that could in the V.I. Free Press attracted a beehive of activity on social media.

Boi look deh devil feh mi,” Nyrone Hodge wrote on Facebook.

“Only her heart is black,” Maria Rivera said on Facebook.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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