A North Carolina man was charged after he was filmed shouting racial slurs and threatening a Food Lion employee during an altercation last week.
The incident occurred on July 23 at a Food Lion grocery store in Hope Mills, North Carolina. In a video taken by shopper Shakihla Simmons, 41-year-old Eric Cahoon is seen shouting at an unnamed employee as another white man stood by. It is unclear if the other man, who was in a dark blue polo shirt, worked there or not.
The men argue for a few moments before Cahoon shouts “man up, n—-r!” Several other people audibly reacted when Cahoon said the word including Simmons.
“That man called him a n—-r,” Simmons noted.
Cahoon continued to shout obscenities as the employee demanded he leave the store. The man in the dark polo shirt touched Cahoon’s shoulder a couple of times, perhaps to calm him down, but did not intervene otherwise.
A white man in a black shirt and tie, possibly a manager, walked over, but he was not much help either. Cahoon taunted the employee by yelling “touch me” several times before a Black woman in a striped shirt stepped between them. He used the word at least seven more times and referred to the employee as a “Uncle Tom a– n—a.”
At one point, the Food Lion worker tried to lunge at Cahoon but he was stopped by the woman in the striped shirt and another Black woman in a red top. Simmons also urged the employee to keep his cool. The man in the tie told the upset worker to go to a different area of the store while Cahoon continued to rant.
The altercation did not end until Cahoon voluntarily walked out of the store.
“That’s what I thought!” Cahoon shouted as he left. “This motherf—r think I’m playing!”
Simmons’ video was viewed more than 230,000 times on Facebook.
“I like how the women intersected! Why the men stood there. Wow! The manager look like he was thinking O CAN’T TOUCH HIM and someone is recording,” wrote one commenter.
“How was he able to accost this man in his store?” asked another viewer. “That man got pretty far in that store. The store managers need balls because they allowed that to happen.”
“This is f–king privilege cause if it was the other f–king way around the black man or woman would’ve been arrested a long time ago and beaten. THAT MAN DID BETTER THAN ME CAUSEE BOYYY HE WOULD’VE GOTTEN ROCKED!!!” another Facebook user assured his readers.
Robert Keller, a witness, told CBS17 Cahoon was the aggressor.
“He was making the customers uncomfortable. I thought it was uncalled for, you know, like he was trying to start something, and I don’t think it was right,” Keller told the news station.
Cahoon arrested and charged with seven misdemeanor counts including ethnic intimidation, disorderly conduct, trespassing and communicating threats. If convicted, he faces 120 days in jail. He is currently housed at the Cumberland Detention Center on a $1,000 bond.
Store manager Brandon Tumblin told The Fayetteville Observer he is not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.