The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Racial charges upgraded to hate crime
Former Wendy’s manager accused of racial slur directed at high school team
DANIELSON — Prosecutors have upgraded the charges against a former Wendy’s manager who is accused of hurling a racial epithet at Black basketball coaches from Woodstock Academy this month.
During Brett White’s arraignment Tuesday in state Superior Court in Danielson, the prosecutor said the state is adding a charge of third-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias, a Class E felony, to the original charge of second-degree breach of peace, a Class B misdemeanor. He also is being charged with another misdemeanor, deprivation of a person’s equal rights and privileges, according to his court file.
White also is not to have contact with the victims in the case, specifically, the high school basketball coaches, who are Black.
Outside the courtroom, White said he is sorry about using a racial slur and described the events that led up to the incident.
“I wish I said something altogether different in the moment,” he said. “I do regret it.”
White, 22, of Canterbury, was charged with second-degree breach of peace after the incident on Feb. 9 at Wendy’s in Plainfield, police said. He was released from custody after posting $10,000 bail.
In a statement released a few days later, the owners of the restaurant condemned his language and said White “is no longer employed with the company.”
The incident happened about 10 p.m. Feb. 9, when Woodstock Academy’s boys basketball team arrived after a game. Some players left the bus and ran into the restaurant, but the manager started cursing at them, claiming they were closed, police said. The Wendy’s website states the restaurant is open until midnight.
The players turned to leave as the coaches were coming in.
White yelled again, and this time “he started throwing in the N-word,” said Chris Sandford, Woodstock Academy’s head of school.