Silvana Buscaglia will seek a presidential pardon for assaulting a police officer outside the Lima airport.
Buscaglia’s arrest became national news when a video of the 48-year-old tai-chi instructor’s arrest went viral in December. The video of a white woman pushing and insulting a dark-skinned police officer who tried to write her a parking ticket enflamed race and class tensions in Peru’s heavily stratified society.
Buscaglia gave El Comercio an interview from the Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima’s Chorrillos district in her first public appearance since she was seen driving her SUV toward police officers and slapping one officer’s helmet from his head.
“A person in my situation cannot be judged like a criminal,” Buscaglia told Somos magazine. “I do not sell drugs, I have no record. I am a mother devoted to her children and to her work. I do not deserve to be in jail.”
Buscaglia was immediately sentenced to six years and eight months in prison as the first Peruvian citizen charged under a new “flagrancy” statute which streamlines judgments for defendants arrested in the act of committing a crime.
“I know my side of the story is hard to believe because there is a video, which has been edited, and shows a very ugly and aggressive attitude of mine,” Buscaglia said when asked if she should not have hit the officer. “He chest-bumped me and I wanted him away from me. Unfortunately, my hand hit his helmet and knocked it on the ground.”
Buscaglia said that her lawyer will request President Ollanta Humala for a presidential pardon. She said that she is not racist, but a victim of reverse racism.
“There were four police arresting me while a group of taxi drivers shouted ‘gringa’ and ‘snob’ among other things,” Buscaglia said. “I have suffered racism because people have called me snob, haughty, arrogant. Being white, having blue eyes or owning an SUV does not mean somebody is a bad person or despises authority.”
Buscaglia has learned to make leather purses in the prison workshop, which she gives to her family when they visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays. She added that she would happily perform community service wherever necessary.