While enjoying an afternoon downtown with friends last month, Gerald Mitchell stopped at a Loop Starbucks for a hazelnut latte–his favorite summertime drink.
As he was waiting for his order, someone else accidentally spilled a drink on the pants of another patron, 23-year-old William Boucher, according to Chicago Police.
“And the guy just lost it,” Mitchell said on Wednesday afternoon after a court hearing for Boucher, who is accused of lashing out at Mitchell and others in a racist diatribe, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
In a tirade captured on video by an ABC7 photographer who happened to be in the Starbucks, at 40 W. Lake St., Boucher allegedly called one person a “slave” and told another to “get on all fours.”
“I try to see the good in people,” Mitchell said. “I don’t know his background. I would try to give him the benefit of the doubt. I just know it was downright wrong. Disgusting.
“I hope he learns something from this,” Mitchell said.
Boucher, who didn’t speak at his hearing on three misdemeanor battery charges, declined to talk about his case with a Sun-Times reporter.
Police said the Rogers Park man “became irate,” left the coffee shop and punched a 59-year-old man “unprovoked”on the afternoon of June 6. He also allegedly spit on Mitchell, 30, and a 34-year-old woman, both of whom are black.
In the video, Boucher can be heard using racial slurs against African-Americans, including telling one man: “Your children are despicable vermin.”
He tells another person to “Shut up, slave;” and yells at another “Get on all fours. You don’t deserve to walk on two legs.”
After starting to walk away, Boucher punches an apparently homeless man, and is then grabbed and taken to the ground by two other men, one of whom was Mitchell. He said Boucher spit in his face and kneed him repeatedly as he held him down for 13 minutes until police arrived.
“He said a lot of stuff that didn’t make it on the video,” Mitchell said.
The woman whom Boucher allegedly spit on, who also appeared as a complaining witness at Wednesday’s hearing, declined to comment.
Last month, a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement: “We have absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior in our stores, and are grateful to the partners (employees) and customers who stepped in to help until officers arrived.”
Cook County prosecutors and Boucher’s public defender tentatively agreed to schedule trial for Aug. 17 at the Branch 29 courthouse, 2452 W. Belmont Ave.