Photo by Tdorante10 via Wikimedia Commons
In Washington Square Park, a man shouted racial slurs at an Asian American police officer that was enforcing a curfew. The perpetrator shouted “c—-” nearly two dozen times, New York Post reports.
The New York Police Department officer involved in the incident is Philip Huynh. He called the encounter “degrading” and “upsetting.”
Video shows a passerby on his bike witnessing the incident and shouting at the perpetrator, “Stop calling people c—-s, man, that’s f—ed up! You racist as s—! You’re a racist f—!”
In response, the perpetrator, who is Black, claimed “Black people can’t be racist.”
“I feel like he was just angry at the uniform, at police officers, and he decided to add some racial slurs in it,” Huynh told ABC 7 NY.
The perpetrator, who ABC 7 NY identifies as Shermain Laster, also shouted at the officer that he is a state employee and is paid a salary. ABC 7 NY reports that Laster works as a cleaner for the SUNY Downstate as a cleaner. After the incident a spokesperson for Laster’s employer gave a statement saying the following:
“SUNY Downstate is committed to fostering an environment embracing global diversity. We have zero tolerance for hatred, bigotry, or racism in any form.”
Huynh stated that he has experienced racism throughout his life, whether it be as a child or an adult.
“It’s not new. Even in school growing up other kids could be bullies; they say racial slurs like that,” Huynh told ABC 7 NY. “I believe he was trying to provoke a reaction from me.”
Huynh wants accountability.
“Ignorance can come from any background, it’s up to him to be educated about it,” Huynh told New York Post. “He has to be held accountable for what he said.”
New York Post reports that an NYPD rep called the incident “disturbing.” However, he could not say if the perpetrator would face any charges.
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