Business owner sentenced for racial exchange during Columbus road rage incident

Local News

The business owner who was caught on video calling a black man the ‘n-word’ was sentenced in court.  Jeffrey Whitman, a white man,  called Charles Lovett, a black man, the ‘n-word’ several times after a road rage incident.

Whitman was in his Uriah’s Heating and Cooling company van at the time of the incident.  Lovett posted the video of the racial exchange and it went viral.  In court, Whitman said he’s lost his $400,000 a year business and is looking into filing bankruptcy.

He pleaded guilty to ethnic intimidation, a reduction from the original disorderly conduct charge. 

NBC4 interviewed Whitman in an exclusive interview where he told us he did not regret calling Lovett the ‘n-word’ the same day we got the viral video into our newsroom. Whitman has since changed his mind and did take the time to apologize to Lovett.

“I would like to apologize to Mr. Lovett and his family. What I’ve done, and, ugh, I deeply regret it, and it is genuine,” said Whitman in court.

Whitman’s lawyer Mark Collins also said Whitman got professional help to learn why calling black people the n-word is wrong.

“Though the counseling and through the outreach of his community and his discussion in the African American Community, this is the insight that he’s gained,” said Collins.

Judge Paul Herbert gave Whitman a six month suspended jail sentence. Whitman must also pay a 500 fine.

Charles Lovett said this entire ordeal has changed his life forever. He now has a CCW and doesn’t trust anyone anymore. He hoped Whitman would have gotten more jail time for his crimes.

“I am a little disappointed. Not going to say I am upset. I would have felt better had he got something. At least three to seven days would have been ok with me,” said Lovett.

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