ST. LOUIS • A white woman in a video that has drawn national coverage said Tuesday that she was doing what the condo board asks all residents to do for safety – never allow building access to someone they don’t know – when she blocked a black man at the entrance to the downtown loft building where both of them live.
"So when I noticed an individual that I did not know, my only intent was to follow the directions that I had been given by our condo association board members, repeatedly, and that is to never allow access to any individual you do not know," Hilary Thornton said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Fox 2.
Thornton has not responded to interview requests from the Post-Dispatch since the video began drawing wide attention over the weekend.
D’Arreion Toles, 24, shot the video Friday night as he was trying to enter his home in the Elder Shirt Lofts building, 703 North 13th Street.
Thornton, standing at the entry door with a dog on a leash, blocks him and asks what unit he lives in during one of three videos Toles posted to Facebook. The post says the videos show what it’s like to be a black man in America.
Thornton said in the Fox 2 interview that Toles came to the door of the loft building as she had the door cracked to let her dog outside while she held its leash.
She said she asked if he had a key fob to open the door. "He would not answer me," she said. "He would not show me one."
Thornton says Toles forced his way past her to get in the door, something she says was not captured on the videos he posted. "There was an altercation at the front door and that's how he got in the front door," she said.
In the videos, Toles can be heard telling Thornton: "I’m going to my house. Where I live at — where I pay."
Thornton rides up the elevator with Toles and watches as he enters his apartment with a key.
Toles said in an emailed statement on Monday night that he was "accosted, harassed and stalked" by Thornton, who "got in my face, demanded to see my key fob, and proceeded to berate me and harass me for merely trying to go home after a long day of work."
Fox 2 interviewed another woman who lives in the same building as Toles and Thornton. That woman said she thought Thornton's actions were appropriate and she would have done the same thing.
Thornton says that since the videos of her encounter with Toles have gone viral, she has gotten death threats. But she stands by her actions.
"I do not think that I did anything wrong," she says. "I upheld the ask of me to its fullest extent."