DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A man with a large Confederate flag on the back of his pickup truck is accused of getting into two separate altercations with another driver in Volusia County during which he brandished weapons and yelled racial slurs, according to the charging affidavit.
Travis Thompson, 18, was arrested Monday and charged with improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon in connection to the Nov. 11 incident.
Video posted to Facebook by witness Jean Jenner shows Thompson following a black Volkswagen Jetta in his silver Chevy Silverado. Jenner said he started filming when he noticed the pickup truck speeding, weaving and driving erratically to catch up with the Jetta.
The Jetta and the truck both pulled over and Thompson, who was shirtless and wearing camouflage shorts, got out of his vehicle to confront the other driver. He was armed with a wrench, the Holly Hill Police Department said.
Thompson called the African-American passenger a racial slur and told him he was a member of the Crips street gang, police said. The passenger can be heard in the video telling the man he's "tripping."
Thompson told police he and his girlfriend has been driving in Holly Hill around 11:30 a.m. Nov. 11 when the occupants of the Jetta flashed a gun at them because their pickup truck had a large Confederate flag on the back and was plastered with Donald Trump stickers, the incident report said.
"It's really crazy if he went with a baseball bat against people he knew were armed with a gun. That doesn't make any sense," Jenner said.
Jenner notified police of the incident and provided them with video, but officials couldn't press charges because no victims had stepped forward. Police were able to identify and interview the victims based on evidence in the video.
When interviewed, the victims in the case denied doing anything to instigate the altercation. They said they didn't step forward because they thought police wouldn't be able to arrest Thompson since no one had been physically injured, the affidavit said.
The passenger in the Jetta told police that the only reason Thompson stopped the verbal assault was because he saw Jenner recording video on his cellphone.
Jenner said it was obvious during the altercation that the driver of the Jetta was trying to get away. By the time Jenner stopped filming, he thought the encounter was over, so he was shocked to hear about a second incident later that afternoon on International Speedway Boulevard.
"He got out of his car. He had a bat and he was, like, beating the guy's car as if to break the windshield or something," a witness told a 911 operator.
Charges in that case have not been filed as victims have not stepped forward. Video of that incident was also posted to Facebook.
Thompson told police that since video of the incidents went viral on Facebook, his girlfriend has lost her job and they were evicted from their home. Thompson told police he has had to cut his hair, paint his girlfriend's truck and remove the Confederate flag and Trump stickers from it to "avoid controversy."
He told police he wanted to press charges against Jenner and has called Jenner multiple times to threaten him with a lawsuit.
Jenner said it's sad to hear about and witness such incidents.
"It's scary that this is going on and I'm hearing all the reports of people being attacked or bullied," Jenner said. "It's sad, it's very sad."
The affidavit outlined a third incident involving Thompson and an African-American man, but the subject in that case hasn't stepped forward so charges haven't been filed.
Holly Hill police interviewed Thompson after that incident and they said he admitted to getting into a verbal altercation with the man over a parking space. Thompson said the man insinuated he had a gun so Thompson armed himself with a baseball bat.
The confrontation de-escalated without any physical violence, police said.
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