Racial slur leads to fine in Passaic

16 01 2008

One man who decided to use a racial slur learned a costly lesson.

The man called a Passaic Public Works employee the N-word, and that’s when the worker got even.

New Jersey reporter Toni Yates has the story.

Department of Public Works employee Aregawi Kishen says he took his complaint to a judge to make a point

“The N-word is a word that comes with a negative affect,” he said.

He hopes the Clifton man who called him by the racial slur back in September got more than the $150 fine. He hopes he also learned a permanent lesson.

Kishen says he doesn’t know how the encounter digressed in the first place. He said he had his truck parked on the corner of Washington and Hoover streets. He doesn’t even think the truck was blocking the man’s car.

But he says the man jumped out and hit him with a barrage of racial slurs.

“He got angry and he called me a million names, and finally the N-word,” Kishen said.

Passaic joined that surging nationwide effort last year to ban the N-word. But to be fined for using it? Passaic mayor Sammy Rivera, who appointed the judge who leveled the fine, agreed with the action.

“At least fined,” he said. “It’s everybody’s city, everybody’s country.”

“All the lives we lost behind that,” one area resident said.

The resident spoke openly and honestly outside City Hall about how stinging the word can be.

“I even went to jail behind that,” he said. “Honestly, for a caucasian calling me that. Me acting out on it got me four years in prison.”

Kishen’s case was decided yesterday. He feels comfortable now putting the matter to rest and forgiving his offender.

“The gentleman, he apologized,” he said. “And apology accepted,

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