A woman who says she, her sister and her 16-year-old son were called the N-word by a South Florida commissioner said she was in tears following the road rage incident.
"I never got called that word before," Layota Pinkney said.
The incident was sparked Sunday when a car began honking repeatedly at Wilton Manors Commissioner Ted Galatis in a Publix parking lot on Oakland Park Boulevard, according to a police report.
The car followed him home, where the driver said Galatis “began calling her and her passengers ’N______,’” the report states. The driver then called the police, saying she was upset about the slur and “did not want him to get away with it.”
Pinkney though said she wasn't following Galatis. She said the car she was driving almost hit Galatis's car when he slammed on his breaks, got out of the car and asked why she was following him.
"I thought he was a drunk man," Pinkney said. "He was looking drunk."
She said Galatis' wife came out of the house with a knife and yelled at her and her sister.
Galatis apologized and admitted to using the "N" word. He said in a statement provided to NBC6 by his wife Donna Galatis that he felt threatened by the driver and the people inside her car. He said he “may have” used the slur “while protecting myself from the immediate threat.”
“I apologize for my use of the ’N’ word. It is something I never say,” the statement reads. “I offer no excuse, other than it was uttered when I was being threatened in front of my own home.”
Donna Galatis, told NBC6 reporter Jamie Guirola that the other people launched verbal attacks of their own, telling her “white B****, I’ll slice you up.” She declined to respond to additional questions.
Some of the commissioner's neighbors and constituents said they are offended.
"Unfortunately that just doesn’t go," the neighbor said. "I mean, it’s unfortunate you can’t say words like that and take them back. You know you got to pay the price. Donald Sterling just paid the price for what his situation was. "
Police said no charges have been fired because no crime was committed.
"What he said was wrong, there's no excuse for saying what he said, but he was feeling threatened on his property," said Sgt. Shawn Chadwick with the Wilton Manors Police Department.
The mayor said he has no comment on the situation.