Man arrested, 2 others sought after racist attack caught on video
By Judith Lavoie, Canwest News Service
July 6, 2009 10:13 PM
VICTORIA — Police on Vancouver Island have made one arrest after an apparently racist attack was caught on video and posted to YouTube.
Jay Phillips, 38, a landscaper in Courtenay, B.C., about 220 kilometres northwest of Victoria, held back three young men who are shown on a YouTube video throwing punches and yelling racial slurs.
As the attackers surround Phillips, who is black, he can be seen knocking at least one of the men to the ground.
“They kept yelling they were going to lynch me and kill me and my whole family and this is a white town and get the f--- out of here,” said Phillips, who spends much of his spare time at the gym.
“Once they figured out they had met someone who was not afraid they didn’t know what to do. They were like little hyenas trying to dart in and out to engage the lion, but they wouldn’t engage me one on one.”
One arrest has been made following the Friday night fracas in a parking lot near a Courtenay restaurant. Other arrests are expected, said Const. Tammy Douglas of the Comox Valley RCMP.
The video was taken by an onlooker and is being scrutinized by the RCMP as they investigate the assault and whether it was a hate crime.
“Police are currently reviewing video evidence and conducting witness inquiries to determine the cause of the incident. Preliminary investigation indicates that there may have been a racial element involved in the incident,” Douglas said in a news release.
The video shows three white men, two of them shirtless, dancing around Phillips kicking and hitting out.
When he falls to the ground, the three leap on him, punching and yelling.
“I was so happy about the video. No one even got the licence plate,” said Phillips, who has two stitches in his head and sore ribs.
There has been an outpouring of horrified reaction on YouTube.
Phillips, who grew up in Maple Ridge, B.C., and has lived in Courtenay for six years, is heartened by the support.
The incident is spurring Phillips to start speaking out about racism, trying to ensure no one else has a similar experience and that his son, now nine months old, will never face such ugly threats.
“There are so many up-and-coming young kids of colour in this town, and I don’t want them to have to go through this. I don’t want them to have to go down the street looking over their shoulder,” said Phillips.
“This has galvanized me big time,” he said.