A New Jersey man expressed regret for recording video of another shopper’s racist rant instead of speaking up to defend a Latino family and Asian cashier.
Simoni Lovano pulled out his cell phone to record the video Sunday while shopping at a Sears store in Brunswick, where another shopper became impatient while a store employee examined coupons presented by the family, reported WKXW-FM.
“Send them back their own f*cking country,” said the angry customer, as a man shopping with her chimed in with Trump campaign slogans.
“Let’s drain the swamp!” the man shouted. “Hurry up!”
The woman then complained that “an Indian waiting on an Indian” had delayed her at the checkout line, although other shoppers pointed out neither the family nor the store employee were Indian.
Another store employee attempted to calm the woman down, but she was not asked to leave.
The 27-year-old Lovano, whose own family came to the U.S. from Sicily when he was a child, wished afterward he’d spoken up.
“Nobody intervened to actually address her hateful comments,” Lovano told the radio station. “I feel guilty as well that I didn’t speak up. I was so angry I was almost shaking and it was very hard for me to say something.”
Lovano said the others shoppers standing in line were all minorities, and he said everyone seemed uncomfortable and shocked by the incident.
“A lot of people say these things happen in Kentucky or Wisconsin or Tennessee, but it happens here, to,” said Lovano, who moved from California about eight years ago. “It’s just people don’t realize it.”
Lovano said the Latina woman targeted for abuse turned to the other customers and apologized.
“She actually felt she was the one at fault,” he said. “That is the saddest part of all.”