A black elementary school teacher in Nebraska says he was attacked by an angry mob of white teenagers while he working at night as a Lyft driver.
Jeremy Williams spends his days working as an elementary teacher for Lincoln Public Schools but in his free time and especially during summer vacation, he supplements his income by driving for Uber and Lyft, KOLN reports.
According to a report from the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News, Williams was waiting to pick up his second client of the night when a pick-up truck pulled up alongside his car and he was approached by one of the men.
“He’s like ‘What are you doing here?’ and I was like “I’m Lyft I’m waiting on a Mike’ and he goes ‘Well you don’t look like you belong here,” said Williams.
Williams says that man started to hit his car. He said he managed to move his car to the other side of the street in order to get away but it didn’t stop there.
“That’s when they all got out of their cars and starting hitting the car and kicking the car,” said Williams. “I know at one point they were trying to open my car door.”
Williams took off and called 911. He followed the 911 dispatcher’s instruction to meet with an officer at a gas station a short distance away.
Police responding to the call returned to the neighborhood where they interviewed seven teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17.
Lincoln police are currently investigating the incident and haven’t ruled out labeling it a hate crime.
Williams says the “You don’t look like you belong here,” comment he heard made him feel the attack might have been racially charged.
“They didn’t explicitly say, ‘You’re black, you don’t belong here,’ but what else doesn’t make me look like you that you say makes me look like I don’t belong here?” he told the paper.
Williams says the outpouring of support from the Lincoln community and beyond makes him feel blessed.
“I moved down here two years ago to teach I knew that it was an amazing school district,” said Williams. “I’m finding out now it’s an amazingly close community and we’re not going to stand for hate here.”