Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, “I can’t be racist because I have mixed family members”... at least that’s what one Pennsylvania man would want you to believe after his life has gone to shit since video of him screaming “monkey” and “nigger” at a black motorist went viral.
You know how it do.
John Rodgers is trying to set the record straight after he was caught on video terrorizing Zhaqweyza Armstrong, in an incident he tried to play off as road rage.
“I am not racial,” Rodgers, a 52-year-old commercial truck driver told the Daily Local News. “I have a mixed-race grandchild. Biracial grandkids. I wouldn’t normally say that word. I am not a racial person. I don’t see color. I see ignorance.”
But let’s rewind a little before we get into Rodgers’ fauxpology (though he didn’t even particularly seem apologetic, to tell you the truth.)
The incident started back in mid-July when Armstrong was driving along the Route 30 bypass on her way home to Coatsville, Penn. The 20-year-old college student pulled out her cell phone and started recording.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I was terrified,” she told Fox29 at the time.
“Go to Africa. Hurry up, go to Africa! Run nigger run, monkey, monkey, monkey,” the man, identified later as Rodgers, shouted for seemingly no reason.
Armstrong said that as they sped along the bypass, Rodgers continued to be a menace.
“They continued taunting me. He hops in front of me, slams on the breaks, then continues to go from lane to lane,” Armstrong said.
As authorities stepped in, they began to investigate the incident as possible road rage. As it turns out, Rodgers had the audacity to try to frame Armstrong, claiming she started the whole incident.
“He went in and said in a statement that I was calling him racial slurs, tried to throw something out the window at him, yelled at him. I did not say one word to that man at all,” Armstrong insisted.
But again, Rodgers is apparently trying to insist that he’s the real victim here, claiming that threats have come to his family home, causing him to be concerned for his safety. He is attempting to claim that his screams came from a place of fear, frustration and anger but not hatred, the Daily Local reports.
Rodgers claimed that Armstrong—who appeared to be on the phone while driving—almost hit the back of his car and was cutting in and out of lanes before she started recording. After this continued for some time, Rodgers claimed he asked her what her problem was, only for Armstrong to apparently call him “white trash.”
That’s when he decided to go on his little racist rant that was totally not about race.
And apparently, a civil affairs investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police agreed with that take, helping Rodgers get out the message that he’s apparently not racist.
“[He] was upset and said some things he didn’t necessarily mean, out of anger. He wanted to convey to me that he wasn’t a racist. I gathered that from our meeting after seeing photos of his family,” Sgt. William Slaton told the Daily Local.
“Do I believe he is a racist? No,” continued Slaton. “Do I believe he used words out of anger? Yes. He isn’t a racist. I did not perceive that when I met him. He said he just doesn’t like stupid people ... His sole purpose now is to get the message out that he is not a racist ... I think he just chose the easiest words he could to offend someone because he was extraordinarily angry.”
And apparently Rodgers’ words are gold, as Slaton reportedly encouraged her to take down her social media posts, which she did.
“She was afraid of getting in trouble ...,” Rodgers said, claiming that after she was questioned about what happened, “[state police] determined that she had not told the entire truth.”
According to Slaton, both Rodgers and Armstrong have agreed not to press charges against one another in the case. However, state police are still investigating those who apparently made threats against Rodgers and his family.
“You can’t just threaten people based on a 30-second news clip,” Slaton said.