A woman in East Rochester, New York is speaking out after her 14-year-old son was targeted in a confrontation she says had racist undertones.
“It was like a scene out of the 60s,” Poles told Rochester First. “You don’t see stuff like that in 2019.”
The frustrated mother said she didn’t know the severity of the situation until someone sent her the video, which has since gone viral. In the clip, Poles’ son and the man are seen arguing in the front of the man’s home. Things escalate, and the man warns the teen that he “shouldn’t be f—–g with the klan” before calling him the n-word.
“Tell your klan to pull up, n—a,” the teen shoots back. “It’s free smoke, n—-a.”
Moments later, the man grabs his hose and douses the teen as he leaves with his friends.
East Rochester Police confirmed to responding to two calls about the incident last week, Spectrum Local News reported. The confrontation reportedly started at a nearby park where Poles’ son and his friends claim the man was taking photos of them. The man, who also called police, said the youths had been unkind to his mother.
The teens reportedly followed the man to his home, and that’s where the dispute took a turn.
“He was outside doing it again, flipping them off,” Poles said of the white man. “My son said something along the lines of ‘why do you keep flipping us off,’ said some other profanities I wish he hadn’t.”
Though she doesn’t condone her son’s foul language, she commended the teen on how he handled himself in the face of hate.
“I, as an adult, wouldn’t have been able to handle an attack like that,” she added.
Police eventually got ahold of the video and are now investigating further after speaking to both parties about what happened, according to Spectrum Local News. East Rochester Police Chief Steve Clancy said its possible the man could be charged with harassment for spraying Poles’ son.
The family has since hired an attorney as police continue their investigation.
“Luckily, the East Rochester Police Department has contacted Ms. Poles today asking her to bring her son in and to do a deposition so that appropriate charges may be filed stemming from this incident,” Poles’ lawyer, Rebecca Indralingam, told the outlet. “But it’s our hope that this incident and whatever charges are filed they will be prosecuted as a hate crime because it’s very clear that this incident was racially motivated.”
Watch more in the video below.