A Galesburg, Ill., man is facing hate crime charges after authorities say he repeatedly screamed racial slurs at a black woman in the drop-off zone in front of a local high school.
According to the Register-Mail, Bradley J. Qualls, 37, is facing multiple charges including two felony counts of hate crime, misdemeanor criminal damage to property, misdemeanor reckless driving and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
It was actually an off-duty Galesburg officer who noticed the altercation while dropping off a student at Galesburg High School on Thursday. A police report indicated that the off-duty officer was passing the front drive at around 7:40 a.m. when he heard a male voice yelling, “Bitch fucking nigger.”
The off-duty officer reports that he saw Qualls, who is white, yelling at a black woman who was driving another vehicle.
Qualls repeated the slur at least three times before he screeched his tires while fishtailing onto another part of the street and screeching his tires again as he turned onto another road, according to the report.
The officer parked his car and approached Qualls, showing his badge. The officer said Qualls repeated his insults, saying that “that bitch nigger” needed to learn how to drive.
The officer said that he asked Qualls to park his car in a nearby church (again, according to the report, he did this while screeching his tires, so maybe he’s the one who needs to learn how to drive).
At this point, an on-duty officer arrived on the scene. Qualls kept insisting on calling the woman by the same slurs and insults, police said.
As the officers investigated, it was determined that Qualls had allegedly hit the rear bumper of the woman’s vehicle, damaging both her bumper and Quall’s front bumper. But, of course, Qualls was the one who got out of his car threatening the woman, saying, “I am going to beat your ass, nigger bitch,” according to the report.
Qualls was taken into custody, where he attempted to explain his actions by telling police that he was on medication for “anger issues” and that the medication needed to be adjusted.
He then went on to say that he calls everyone a nigger, “white, black and everyone else.” So I guess that means it wasn’t anything racist (right).
The woman who was attacked, and who remained unidentified, told police that she was dropping off her daughter and waiting in traffic when she heard a vehicle behind her rev its engine. The woman said she threw her hands up to indicate that she couldn’t move when Qualls started shouting.
The woman said she heard Qualls yell that he was going to “beat her ass” and also heard him get out of his vehicle, according to the police report. But he then got back into his car and began to push her car from behind, bumper to bumper.
The terrified mom told police that at that point, she felt like she could “die.”
Despite this interaction, according to the Register-Mail, Judge Scott Shipplett questioned whether Qualls’ actions actually constituted a hate crime.
“I’m inclined to say this is more of a road rage incident than a hate crime ... the use of racial epithets and conduct gets it past” this hearing, Shipplett noted.
Qualls was appointed a public defender, and his bail was set at $25,000. A condition of Qualls’ bail mandates that he not go to the hight school while the case is pending.