Woman says neighbor maced her, yelled racial slur


Barbara Helderman-Kinney shared photos of her injuries after she said she was maced

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman who said she was maced by her neighbor after being called a racial slur is speaking out about the alleged attack.

The same suspect in this case was accused of yelling a racial slur at a Black couple in McMinnville more than a year ago and pleaded guilty to a number of charges.

Barbara Helderman-Kinney said the trouble started while she was shoveling snow and her neighbor, Amber Rocco, started circling her. Helderman-Kinney said her friend, Joanne Yohe, witnessed the confrontation from the porch.

Barbara Hilderman-Kinney in a photo after she said she was maced. (Courtesy Barbara Helderman-Kinney)

“She was holding [it] like this, right, when she was shaking, and her face was just—so much hate,” described Helderman-Kinney.

Both women said that Rocco started yelling at Helderman-Kinney while she was trying to clear her driveway so she could go to the store.

“I kept shoveling. She yelled,” said Helderman-Kinney. “Finally, she held that mace up the third time and I said, ‘What is that?’ and she said, ‘Why don’t you go back to Mexico if you don’t know you dumb [expletive].”

That was when Helderman-Kinney said she was pepper sprayed.

“I saw it on her face when she walked by me,” said Yohe.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Rocco was arrested and jailed on the 14th. And this wasn’t the first time she had been in trouble with the law.

Amber Rocco (Linn County Sheriff’s Office)

There is video of her from December of 2018 when she approached a Black couple in McMinnville and started yelling racial slurs. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail after she pleaded guilty to the unauthorized use of a weapon, intimidation, and harassment.

KOIN 6 News attempted to get Rocco’s comment on the new allegations for this article, however a man at her listed address declined to comment.

Helderman-Kinney said something needs to be done.

“Since then, it’s just been a nightmare,” said Helderman-Kinney.

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