Ted Galatis, a Republican city commissioner from South Florida, issued an apology Monday for yelling the “N-word” at an African-American woman during an apparent road rage confrontation in Wilton Manors, a small city outside of Fort Lauderdale. Galatis is an elected city official in Wilton Manors.
There are two distinct versions of what led up to the commissioner yelling the racial slur at Layota Pinkney on Sunday. Pinkney was in the car with her sister and 16-year-old son when Galatis directed the epithet at her and her family outside of his home, an incident which Pinkney says reduced her to tears.
“I never got called that word before,” Pinkney told NBC Miami.
According to a police report, the road rage conflict began when a car in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket in Wilton Manors began honking at the car driven by Galatis. The report says the car followed Galatis to his home.
Galatis then began the racially charged barrage of insults. Pinkney said that she thought he was intoxicated.
“I thought he was a drunk man,” the mom said. “He was looking drunk.”
But Pinkney denies that she followed Galatis to his home. Instead, she says that he suddenly screeched to a halt in front of her car, causing her to narrowly miss rear-ending the city commissioner’s vehicle.
She says that Galatis then jumped out of his car demanding to know why she was following him.
According to Galatis’s wife, Donna, Pinkney or someone in the car yelled, “White b*****, I’ll slice you up!” But Pinkney says that as Ted Galatis was yelling, it was Donna Galatis who rushed out of her house brandishing a kitchen knife.
It was Pinkney who brought police into the incident, saying she called the authorities because she did not want Galatis “to get away with it” after he berated her and her family with racial slurs.
Galatis issued a statement Monday apologizing for his use of the derogatory racial term, saying that he used the word “n*****” because he felt he was in danger.
“I apologize for my use of the ‘N’ word. It is something I never say. I offer no excuse, other than it was uttered when I was being threatened in front of my own home,” Galatis said in the written statement.
But even neighbors were not convinced by his apology.
“Unfortunately that just doesn’t go,” said one neighbor of Ted Galatis. “I mean, it’s unfortunate, you can’t say words like that and take them back.”