A white Florida man reportedly yelled slurs at a Black man, tried to run the man over and crashed into his car during a racist tirade touched off by a look.
Stephen Wieczkowski turned hostile when he noticed the Black victim “eyeballing” him as the two were in traffic, Lee County sheriff’s deputies said. He followed the victim to a nearby apartment complex and attacked him.
Wieczkowski, 26, was arrested following the Feb. 4 incident. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of property damage-criminal mischief $1,000 or more. All three charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.
Wieczkowski remained jailed in Lee County on a $35,000 bond Monday night.
The victim’s name, age and address were redacted from the arrest report. Court records show the man invoked Marsy’s Law on Feb. 8. The Florida constitutional amendment allows victims to shield their identities from being released in public records.
Wieczkowski was arrested after provoking the confrontation outside his North Fort Myers, Florida, development shortly before 10 p.m., authorities say. NBC 2 reported that the victim told deputies Wieczkowski called him the N-word and threatened to beat him up.
Wieczkowski was shirtless, barefoot and enraged by the time deputies arrived to the Windrush Apartments, the arrest report indicated.
The victim told investigators he was pulling out of a gas station around the corner from the apartment complex when he made eye contact with Wieczkowski, who was driving a Ford Focus. The victim pulled alongside several mailboxes and got out of his car when he noticed Wieczkowski yelling at him asking why the man was eyeballing him.
The victim told deputies he asked Wieczkowski to leave him alone multiple times, but Wieczkowski tried to punch him in the face. After the victim dodged the punch, Wieczkowski ripped the man’s driver’s side mirror off his vehicle. He then punched the rear window, causing it to shatter. The victim, meanwhile, took a photo of Wieczkowski’s license plate with his phone.
Wieczkowski got back in his car and accelerated toward the victim, forcing the man to dive out of the way. Wieczkowski barreled into the man’s driver’s side door, the report stated. The crash caused about $3,000 in damages to the vehicle, deputies estimated.
Wieczkowski then parked his car, got out and tried to fight the victim again. During that attack, he caused $1,400 in damages to another homeowner’s property. At that point, a deputy arrived at the scene, prompting Wieczkowski to retreat back to his vehicle. He was later detained for questioning.
Wieczkowski is scheduled to appear in court on March 8. Court records did not list an attorney for him.