Several Hancock County residents protested Saturday in front of a mobile phone business, where a few days earlier a white employee and two black customers allegedly exchanged racial slurs and physical threats.
In addition to the protests, both parties involved in the incident have signed criminal charges against each other.
According to a police report filed with the Bay St. Louis Police Department, Constance St. Julien, 63, and Ebonae Early, 24, went to the Boost Mobile store on U.S. 90. Employee Courtney Rester, 18, began answering questions about a phone, officials said.
The conversation soon became heated, and at one point, both parties began using racial slurs, officials said.
St. Julien filed a criminal affidavit Monday against Rester for charges of “simple assault to create fear and disturbance of the peace.”
In the affidavit, St. Julien claims Rester called her a “black n....” and attempted to “come around the counter and get” her.
Rester on Monday signed charges of simple assault and disturbance of a business against St. Julien and simple assault on Early.
According to the report, Rester claims she was called “white trailer trash” and Early and St. Julien were asking her to “come from behind the counter.”
Neither of the complaint documents noted who used the racial slurs first.
Word of the incident spread Friday and several residents decided to protest outside Boost Mobile, officials said.
Greg Barabino, president of the Hancock County chapter of the NAACP, said Tuesday the protest was necessary.
“I thought that something needed to be done,” he said. “It was not an official NAACP protest, but rather a group of concerned citizens. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated, especially with the current state of race relations in this country.”
The protest was peaceful and lasted several hours, he said. No arrests had been made in the case by 1 p.m. Wednesday.
After all three people are arrested, a court date will be set for the case to be heard in Bay St. Louis Municipal Court.