The former manager of a Wendy's in Plainfield who is accused of using a racial slur against two Woodstock Academy basketball coaches is now facing increased charges. After a court hearing Tuesday, Brett White admitted to using a racial slur and said he regretted it.
“I just have bad anger issues. I am more of an a**hole than anything. I am not a racist person. I try not to be racist,” said White.
Plainfield police arrested 22-year-old White, of Canterbury, on Feb. 9 after receiving a 911 call about a verbal argument at Wendy’s.
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The Woodstock Academy basketball team stopped into the Wendy’s that night on the way home from a game.
According to the school, White refused to serve the team. Coaches Donte Adams and Denzel Washington said that when they tried to have a conversation with White, he used a racial slur and directed expletives at the coaches.
“Scared, shocked, disbelief,” Washington said, describing how he felt in that moment.
White was originally charged with breach of peace. He is now facing additional charges of intimidation based on bigotry or bias and deprivation of a person’s equal rights and privileges by force or threat.
“I have really bad anger issues. I should take better care of it, but from one instant led to another instant to another instant,” said White. “In the end, I did say that word. But, like I said, I should not have used that word.”
White’s attorney, Rich Rothstein, told NBC Connecticut that he does not believe it is a racial case.
“It’s not,” said White. “Like I said, I just have bad anger issues.”
Coaches Washington and Adams said it is difficult to accept White’s apology and it is difficult to accept that it is not a racial case.
“If we weren’t Black, what would be the language that was used? How was this not a racial thing? If we were anything else. If we were not African American, would you still have called us that racial slur in the way that you did?” said Washington.
Washington and Adams said that White repeated the racial slur multiple times that night. Adams said he was surprised at White’s statement after court.
“Anger issues can be handled in a different manner,” said Adams.
“It’s actually disheartening and causes more hurt than anything because it is as if you are dismissing what was said and why it was said,” Washington added.
In response to the upgraded charges, White said, “It sucks, but I’m going to have to deal with it. I’m an adult. I should be an adult and deal with what I did. I dug my own grave.”
Since the incident, Adams and Washington said they have experienced an outpouring of support from the Woodstock community and beyond. When the basketball team played Griswold recently, Griswold students wore shirts that said, “Griswold stand with Woodstock #endracism.”
“It made me feel much more supported,” said Adams. “I just wanted to say thank you again.”
The coaches said they have heard messages of support from people across Connecticut and even out of state.
“It has been phenomenal. We are more than thankful,” said Washington.
After the incident, Woodstock Academy held a meeting on campus to help the team process the incident.
“This experience is not only life-changing for those involved, but it has also shown that the work we have been doing as a school community in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion is more important than ever,” Chris Sandford, Woodstock Academy’s head of school said in a statement after the incident.
The franchise organization that owns the Wendy’s restaurant in Plainfield condemned the behavior the manager was accused of and said White no longer works there.
"We are aware of the incident that occurred on February 9, 2023, at the Plainfield, CT location. Inspired by Opportunity has zero tolerance for racial harassment or discrimination. We condemn this manager’s conduct as completely inconsistent with our values and have taken prompt and immediate action. The manager is no longer employed with the Company. We are committed to working with our teammates to ensure that our restaurants continue to be welcoming to all who visit," Inspired by Opportunity, LLC said in a statement.
White will appear in court again April 3.