When Road Rage Turns Racist

road-rage-no-one-winsby Noel Prophet

In reply to the story recounting an incident of road rage turned into a racial attack (“Road Rage Erupts Into Racial-Inspired Assault,” Berkshire Eagle) , I had a similar incident happen to me a few months back while visiting my hometown of Pittsfield.

I was entering the city through Allendale when a man in a pick-up truck drove up fast behind my car, then swerved around quickly in front of me to take a right turn where we were at. I beeped my horn and kept driving. In my rear-view mirror, I noticed the truck jump the median on the road it had turned onto, to turn around and speed up Dalton Avenue and pace my car on the left side. I heard a man yelling and screaming but didn’t look over right away because I wasn’t sure if it was a carload of trouble or what.

We arrived at a red light, and I rolled down my window to ask him if there was a problem. He was a white male, approximately 50+ years old, wearing a bandana on his head like a pirate, and he was damn near foaming at the lips. In the most racially derogatory terms, he proceeded to threaten to “kill me” and that I’d better “go back to Albany” (whatever that meant). He called me “nigger” and talked about “beating my black ass” (of course, I am BROWN, but facts don’t matter to irate men), all the while instructing me to pull off to the side of the road so he could enact his rage on me.

When I told him I was going to call the police, he said it didn’t matter, and continued screaming his threats. I then pointed out that the name of his company (Cetti Transportation) was emblazoned across his vehicle door, which actually turned out to be HIS name. Even that didn’t stop him. All this in the time it took for a traffic light to change.

Once it did, I proceeded on my way. He followed me for a minute and then sped past me again, and disappeared down a side street. The next morning, I did call the Pittsfield Police Department to report him, and talked with one officer (on a recorded line) and a detective. The latter said that he knew exactly whom I was talking about, and that if I filed a formal complaint online, he would “take care of it” once the complaint was approved. So I did.

A few days later, I received an official email that said the complaint was approved… and that’s the last time I heard anything about it. I don’t know if they spoke with Mr. Cetti, or brought charges, etc. I’m going to assume that nothing of consequence occurred since they never contacted me. Suffice it to say that I’ve limited my trips to Pittsfield since this happened, and when I do have to go, I’m on high alert. Welcome to Donald Trump’s version of Amerikkka. I don’t have any other explanation of why this occurred, including what the original road rage – before he saw my skin color – was about. It was rainy and dark, and I was driving cautiously through Allendale. Perhaps a bit too slow for Mr. Cetti, who then flipped his lid at the mere beeping of a horn. Your guess is as good as mine.

Noel Prophet, Deerfield, Mass.



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