“It was really scary,” said Jordan Brooks, a bystander who recorded the incident, “definitely hate crime-y”.
Witnesses report that a white man in a red shirt followed a Muslim couple to their car, threatened them with violence and threw his drink at them, all while saying things like “I am being racist!” and “This is a hate crime”.
The man’s name has not yet been revealed, but a recently created Twitter account @h8crimesallday posted “Just did a hate crime at walmart #itwasme” a few minutes after the incident.
While the incident appears to be a very clear cut act of hate-motivated abuse, many online aren’t yet ready to pull the trigger on the label ‘hate crime’. “The incident is racially charged, sure,” said Kingston resident Kenneth Scott on his blog, “Even race-related. But how closely related? What if the man told this Muslim couple to go back to their own country and then threw his drink at them for a completely different reason? Or what if the couple did a hate crime on him first, and it equalled out?”.
An anonymous commenter on Scott’s blog also posted this: “The video doesn’t show what happened before or after the incident. If the recording had started earlier, maybe we’d be watching a video of the couple asking my client to yell epithets at them for fun. Maybe they were all rehearsing a play? Wake up sheeple”.
At press time, most newspapers and publications were calling it an “alleged sort of racist-ish incident” just in case.