A New York state man was charged with a hate crime after he used racial slurs toward a couple and punched their car so hard he left noticeable damage.
Athina Mitchell and her boyfriend Charles Wilkinson got into an altercation with Derrick Kennedy on July 5 while seeking a fishing spot in Plattsburgh, an upstate New York town some 60 miles from the Canadian border. The 35-year-old reportedly approached them as they reached the end of a road near the fishing spot in their car and began yelling “here, n****r, n****r n****r,” as if he were calling a dog. Mitchell is multiracial, according to the Press-Republican newspaper, and Wilkinson is white.
A brief clip posted on Mitchell’s Facebook page showed Kennedy running after their vehicle and shouting.
“We just decided to try to get out of there, and as I was reversing the car he started to chase me and a couple of feet later down the road he actually reaches the hood of my car,” Mitchell recalled to NBC 5.
“I began to speed up because I realized that I was really at risk for my life, so when we actually got out of there is when we contacted the police,” Mitchell added.
Kennedy claimed Mitchell provoked him after he told them to leave the area.
“When they came down here, I told them not to go up there because it’s posted and there is 2 foot of garbage across the trail. Then they looked at me and my father and said, ‘F— you, white trash.’ After that, that’s why I chased them down the road,” Kennedy told WCAX. “I have nothing against them until they said that. That’s why I said it.”
New York State Police arrested Kennedy and charged him with fourth-degree criminal mischief on July 7. The case will be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Mitchell is glad he will be prosecuted and hopes it will stop Kennedy from exhibiting similar behavior in the future.
“I’m not even that dark, so I don’t know what he’s going to do to people who are darker than me or appear to be more Black,” Mitchell told the Press-Republican. “I was scared because I don’t know what this man could do to anyone, not just me.”
Kennedy was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court on July 28.