3 men in racist YouTube assault found guilty
Three men who attacked a black man in a swarming that went viral on YouTube have been found guilty of assault by a judge who says "the acid fog of racism" permeates the case.
Provincial Court Judge Peter Doherty said Thursday that one of the men who pummelled Jay Phillips, 39, yelled a racial slur when he was confronted in Courtenay, B.C., last July.
"The three young white men, fuelled by alcohol and testosterone and their own immaturity, crossed paths with a black man and lives changed forever," Doherty told a packed courtroom.
Doherty concluded that David White, 19, called Phillips "nigger" as he sat in the back of a truck leaving a restaurant while his co-accused, Robert William Roger and Adam David Huber, both 25, sat in a cab as they saw Phillips standing in a nearby parking lot.
The trial heard Huber believed Phillips was a drug dealer in the Vancouver Island town.
"In the end it does not matter one way or the other to the issue at hand except to note that Mr. Huber, when confronting Mr. Phillips, thought he was high on something," Doherty said. "I think he was just in a rage."
After White yelled the racial slur, Phillips threw a water bottle at the truck, prompting Huber to ask Phillips if he'd tossed something at the vehicle.
"Mr. Huber, unable to walk a mile in the shoes of Mr. Phillips, let alone stand in them for one moment, repeated the question several times," Doherty said.
White also threatened to kill Phillips and his entire family.
"What Mr. White said was ugly, racist and provoking," Doherty said. "It is not surprising then, that Mr. Phillips reacted by throwing a water bottle at the receding truck."
Court heard the three men spent the day tubing and drinking before the attack on Phillips, which was videoed by a man from his balcony.
"As I have observed in other cases, it has been my experience that the collective IQ of young men, filled with testosterone and alcohol, declines with the numbers involved," Doherty said. "In relation to the three accused, that certainly proved to be the case."
White and Rogers kicked Phillips at least five times, Doherty said.
"The kicks applied to Mr. Phillips while he was on the ground were beyond the consensual nature of the fight," he said. "They were applied with force and I infer they were intended to cause, and did in fact cause, bodily harm."
Phillips was not in court to hear the verdict after having testified in the trial for two days.
"Jay chose to stay away from this," his mother, Kirsten Phillips, said outside court. "He did not want to be a part of it."
"Racism is here as it is everywhere," she said. "People should be allowed to walk around parking lots and not be assaulted. A lot of people are angry about this," she said of the town where residents staged a rally against the attack last summer.
A date for sentencing the three men will be set on Aug. 12.