*Cameras for Charleston, SC’s WBTV (Channel 3 news) were rolling when its veteran reporter Steve Crump confronted a white man who had called him the n-word, then, blocked his news van when Crump tried to leave.
Brian Eybers, 21, of Virginia, is in the Charleston County Detention Center with a Friday court date on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia – a glass pipe, police said.
Crump, a 59-year-old reporter who has produced hours of specials for public TV about civil rights in addition to his reporting for Channel 3, said Tuesday that he was in Charleston Oct. 8 to cover Hurricane Matthew. He had just finished an interview and was returning to the van when Eybers began filming him with his iPad.
“He was doing commentary of the neighborhood,” Crump told The Charlotte Observer. “Then he starts off saying, ‘There’s a black guy walking around here, no he’s a slave, no he’s the n-word.’”
“I went from zero to 60 like that,” Crump said.
In the video, Crump is seen approaching Eybers, who is sitting in front of a Catholic church. Crump asks the man to repeat what he called him, and to spell it out.
“N as in Nancy, I as in indigo, G as in grant,” he began, eventually spelling the entire slur.
After an exchange in which Eybers showed his ignorance regarding the U.S. Constitution, Crump turned to leave. That’s when Eybers stood up and moved in front of the van, blocking it from moving forward.
WBTV photographer Devin Futrelle, who had filmed the entire confrontation, continued shooting inside the van as Crump called police.
Watch the entire exchange below:
A report by Charleston officer A. Bricker said Eybers admitted calling Crump the racial slur.
He listed a home address in Arlington, Va. and plays guitar in a band called Face Control. It was not immediately clear what he was doing in Charleston.
John Tecklenburg, the mayor of Charleston, contacted Crump later that day to apologize on behalf of the city. Tecklenburg was already familiar with what happened – it occurred in front of his mother’s house in the 100 block of Broad Street, the Observer reported.
Crump said the site of the confrontation also was only about 10 blocks from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, better known as Mother Emanuel, where nine people were shot to death in a racial killing in 2015. Crump covered that attack and was sent back by WBTV in June to cover the one-year anniversary.
Throughout his career, Crump has covered the Ku Klux Klan and interviewed many of its leaders, both wearing hoods and without, noted the Observer.
“None of them have ever called me the n-word,” he said.
“We may not see eye-to-eye on racial issues, but not a single Klansman I’ve interviewed in 35 years of doing this stuff has stooped to this level of vulgarity.”