More men arrested in attack broadcast on YouTube

More men arrested in attack broadcast on YouTube
The Vancouver Sun

7/7/2009- Two more men have been arrested after a confrontation in a Courtenay parking lot, later broadcast on YouTube, in which three white men attacked a lone black man while yelling racial slurs. Three men, age 19, 24 and 25, have now been arrested and face assault charges in what Cst. Tammy Douglas of Comox Valley RCMP said today appears to be a “racially motivated” incident. One of the men had earlier been arrested after the Friday attack. RCMP are investigating whether or not to consider it a hate crime.

The two-minute video shows three young men, two of them shirtless, yelling racial slurs and throwing punches at Jay Phillips, 38, while also trying to corner him and throw him to the ground. The video starts when the fight is underway and it is unclear what prompted the initial confrontation. Phillips, a landscaper and athlete, yells and fights back, and manages to knock at least one of the men down before the others circle him, punching and kicking him as he falls 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,” Phillips said yesterday. Widely viewed on YouTube, the attack has generated support for the Courtenay man and as well as talk on radio shows about how ashamed people are that this type of incident still happens on Vancouver Island. Phillips was left with two stitches to his head and sore ribs.

The video, captured by an onlooker, has been viewed on YouTube over 5,800 times as of mid-day Tuesday, and broadcast on a number of news media outlets. Clearly visible in the footage, is the red pick-up truck the men left in, as well as the licence plate. The video has generated an outpouring of horrified reactions, with commenters lauding Phillips’ actions in defending himself. “I knew that my friends would be mad at what happen, but people I’ve never met from halfway across the world and all across Canada are calling and e-mailing to say they support me,” said Phillips this morning. Phillips, who has a nine-month old son, said that he has even had strangers approach him on the street, asking him to speak with school groups about racism.

Phillips grew up in Maple Ridge, but has lived in Courtenay for the past six years. He said that he’s experienced racism as a child, with a teacher once calling him a racially derogatory term. Most people in Courtenay are great, Phillips said, but a small group causes problems. “You always get a few in every town who are really ignorant,” he said. The incident is spurring Phillips to start speaking out about racism, to ensure no one else, like his son, 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.”

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