WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — What began as a day at the park turned into a hateful, racially charged confrontation for a Grand Rapids couple.
Quincy Price was with his now-wife Renee on May 24 as she took pictures of Ideal Park in Wyoming. They were considering places for their upcoming wedding reception.
“I just started hearing someone cursing, saying, ‘Go back to your own country,’ all different sorts of things like that.” Quincy Price told News 8.
On Wednesday afternoon, 59-year-old John Haan of Wyoming was charged with ethnic intimidation in the case. A second charge of assault was dropped in consideration of a possible plea to ethnic intimidation.
Price said Haan continued hurling racial slurs at his wife as he confronted him. The suspect then went to his bike, reached in a bag and pulled out what appeared to be a pocket knife, walking toward Price, who was by that point standing between Haan and his wife.
“He’s really just trying to scare me. I guess he thought I was going to run or something like that,” Price said.
A worker at Ideal Park saw the incident and intervened. Haan eventually left.
“Tell the people that I’m really sorry,” Haan said as he left the courthouse following his Wednesday hearing.
“It’s 2021, and I think with everything going on, there’s just been more instances (of racism), not only here in Kent County but across the country,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said. “You’re just seeing people doing really offensive and stupid things.”
Haan has an extensive criminal record dating back to the late 1980s, including drunken driving and assault charges.
For Price, the incident will serve as an unfortunate lesson for his future family.
“I just tell my kids just to be patient and just know that there’s people who’s going to misunderstand you and not know what type of people we are,” he said. “Being as Muslims, we are very peaceful people.”