A Run-in with Hate: One Man’s Story

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What started as a normal evening hanging out with friends took a quick turn for Richmond resident Phillip Sampson. As Sampson was walking down the street with a friend, a stranger approached. Sampson, who describes himself as having an outgoing personality, went to greet the passerby with a friendly “Hello!”

Before the words came out, Sampson was struck across the chest with a fist to his shoulder, knocking him back, while slurs were shouted at him.

“Expletives start flying out, and he starts cursing at me and yelling, and I’m like ‘what is going on?’” Sampson said.

The individual, who Sampson later found out is his friend’s brother, continued to yell at him and his friend before trying to break into the friend’s car. Still in shock over the situation, Sampson went to sit in his car and wait for the police to arrive.

Sampson identifies as gay and believes that was the motive behind the incidents. Having never been in this type of situation before, he was relieved when police arrived within minutes.

He said the two officers who arrived handled the situation professionally and took time to make sure he was OK. After telling the police what happened, Sampson said he was surprised by the compassion and genuine concern expressed by the officers.

“They walked me through what my options were and provided contact information so that I could reach out if I needed anything,” Sampson said.

He considers himself lucky that he was not seriously hurt but feels others in similar situations might not be as fortunate.

Sampson said that he did not need to utilize any victim resources, but he is glad to know that they are available to others.

“I was happy to see what was available to me had I needed them,” he said. “It’s comforting to know that there is help out there for those who really need it.”


By Jayla Marie McNeill and Ben Burstein, VCU Capital News Service

The NorVA