UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — A few days ago, Utica native Jakeila Phillips was driving down Genesee Street when a man pulled up beside her, rolled the car window and began shouting racist comments towards her. She immediately pulled out her phone and started recording.
“I was just in so much disbelief. I just couldn’t believe that he was saying these things.” – Jakeila Phillips
In the video, Barry Wardell, of Utica can be seen shouting racial slurs towards Jakeila. Despite his aggression, Jakeila says she remained calm and because she feared what he could’ve done to her.
“As a pregnant woman anything could’ve happened. He assaulted the lady before me, he could’ve assualted me. Good thing he wasn’t driving, he could’ve drove me off the road, he could’ve done anything to me. And I’m glad that issues like this are being brought forward and that people are seeing what’s going on.” – Jakeila Phillips
The Utica Police Department says they are actively looking into the incident to identify if any crimes have been committed. Wardell’s employers at Hamilton College said he worked at one of their food service providers, but he has been since been terminated and banned from their campus. Members of community came together to show support on the street where it all took place. Jakeila says she’s is hoping that some good can come out of her experience.
“Hopefully laws can be changed and that maybe they can make it illegal, make it a hate crime, put something in place. So that people can’t just scream that out at people.” – Jakeila Phillips