MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - An argument filled with racial slurs caught on cell phone camera outside Wolfchase Mall is getting national attention. In the 4 ½ minute clip posted Sunday, a white man is seen yelling hate speech and profanities to an African-American man in his car.
Local 24 went to the accused man’s home in northeast Memphis. Neither he nor his wife were home, but neighbors on the diverse block are shocked and dumb founded, as is the man whose phone recorded the hateful words.
An apparent act of road rage turns into a racially charged rant.
"The problem is you sped up and drove around me, jumped ahead of me and made me slam on my brakes at a light. That makes you a n*****,” said the man in the video.
He used the n-word nearly a dozen times, as Brandon Levston held record on his cell phone.
"Black people were bound by contract and we got ripped off because y’all should have returned when it was proof that y’all couldn't do anything, because y’all live off welfare ...la..la.la..la..la... I'm answering your question n*****,” said the man as the rant went on.
"Instead of getting out of the car I just said, forget it, I'll actually start recording. I actually thought the guy would calm down,” says Levston. He said he pressed play when the other man's emotions boiled over. "If I didn't record and I got out and there would have been a physical altercation the only proof would have been my word against his."
We showed the video Monday to those who live on that man's street, including African-Americans.
"People shouldn't do that and he knows he was being recorded, that's just not right,” Tamari Roscoe.
“I have no tolerance for that kind of stuff. That's just very disrespectful,” says Debra Wassinger. She says she hopes this video is a wake-up call for such hateful words, and those hearing it on the other end. “Take the high road, don't equalize yourself with that kind of hatred. I try not to have any hatred for anyone else, it just eats you up and makes you a worse person."
An African-American woman who lived next door to the man on that video, told Local 24 off camera they got along fine and was surprised to see him make those comments on camera.