Award-winning Charlotte reporter Steve Crump was in Charleston, South Carolina, working on a segment about Hurricane Matthew when a man sitting outside a church began verbally harassing him.
Brian Eybers claimed he was doing commentary on the neighborhood with his iPad. According to The Charlotte Observer, Crump said he overheard Eybers say, “There’s a Black guy walking around here, no, he’s a slave, no, he’s the N-word.” That’s when Crump and videographer Devin Futrelle confronted the man.
“I went from zero to 60 like that,” Crump said.
“Steve isn’t going to let something like that lie,” said Dennis Milligan, WBTV’s news director. Crump approached Eybers, who initially hesitated when he saw the camera, but spelled out the insult he’d called Crump when asked to repeat what he said.
“And what gives you the right to call me that?” Crump asked.
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“The Constitution of the United States does,” he replied. Eybers then added that he had the right to call Crump the N-word because he was a superior person. The exchange continued before Eybers added, “You’re a f**king idiot. So you really are a n****r, then. You’re acting n****rly.”
When the reporter tried to leave, Eybers stood in front of the vehicle. Crump reported Eybers to the police, who arrested the 21-year-old and charged him with disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia after finding him in possession of a glass pipe used to smoke crack.
Later, Crump tweeted video of the incident, which has since gone viral. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg apologized to Crump. The reporter added that the incident was especially horrifying because it took place so close to where the Charleston church shooting occurred: “You still have this kind of mentality being carried out where the wounds are very fresh and very real,” he said.
Eybers is currently in the Charleston County Detention Center; he is scheduled to appear in court today.