A video has emerged of a white restaurateur calling a Black man racial slurs and threatening him in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on June 5.
John Shea, the owner of the Cape Cod bar and eatery Trader Ed’s, called Millyan Phillips the N-word and a “monkey” after Phillips tried to prevent the bar owner from drinking and driving by calling the police. He also threatened to shoot Phillips in the head.
Phillips told the Cape Cod Times that he witnessed Shea drinking and driving while dining at Trader Ed’s at 21 Arlington Street.
The 24-year-old said that he saw Shea order a vodka drink and noticed that his car was parked sideways and running in the parking lot. When he and his friends left Trader Ed’s, they called 911 to notify them about Shea drinking and driving before taking a car service to Embargo, a restaurant and live music venue located at 453 Main Street.
About 40 minutes after arriving at Embargo, Phillips saw Shea walk in and dialed 911 again to notify them. The group then decided to leave, and while outside, they notified officers from the Barnstable Police Department who were on the scene to help a woman who had fallen outside the restaurant.
“I just didn’t want John Shea to hurt anyone,” said Phillips. “That was really the only reason I said something.”
About 10 minutes later, Shea confronted Phillips outside Embargo as the group waited for their rideshare and called him the N-word. Phillips told WCVB Channel 5 Boston that Shea also called him a monkey and threatened to shoot him in the back of his head.
He came out the door and said, ‘Where’s the n—r from Boston? Where’s the n—r from Boston,’” recalled Phillips. “He turned the corner and got in my face and started threatening me. … He basically came up and started harassing me, saying I didn’t belong here and calling me a monkey and stuff. Like ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’ll get you shot with a shotgun. I’ll shoot you in the back of the head.'”
Phillips’ girlfriend Madilynn Galloway said she began recording the incident as Shea’s threats “became scarier and scarier.”
Shea is heard on the video saying, “Do you f—kin’ know who I am? Get the f—k out of my town. Get the f—k out of my town! You use my name again, you’ll end up in a grave. You use my name again, you’ll end up in a grave.”
After Phillips asks if Shea called him the N-word, the drunken man replied, “I just called you the N-word… Because you act like one.” The video also captured Shea stepping on Phillips’ foot.
“Mr. Shea clearly holds power and leverage in what goes on in ‘his town,'” said Galloway. “It was absolutely heinous. This situation isn’t a possible hate crime. It is a hate crime.”
Shea reportedly apologized on Facebook. “This is not my character, and I will apologize to your friend too,” he claimed while also accusing Phillips of making disturbing comments about pictures of Shea’s daughter displayed inside Trader Ed’s. The bar owner also told NewsCenter 5 that there are two sides to every story but declined to comment further, citing the advice of his lawyer.
The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office is reportedly investigating after the video was shared on social media.
“Barnstable Police Chief Matthew Sonnabend and Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois announced today that they are investigating a matter widely reported by media outlets and on social media platforms allegedly involving the proprietor of a local business known as Trader Ed’s,” read the statement.
Phillips said the police did absolutely nothing to protect him from Shea. “If the roles had been reversed, I’m positive the outcome would be different,” he said. “It was pretty disappointing.”