A former St. Louis Cardinals player was subjected to racist abuse when he was assaulted at a gas station and told to “go back to Ferguson.”
Curt Ford, 54, played four seasons as an outfielder with the Cardinals in the 1980s. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday that he’s considering leaving the city because the racism is inescapable.
“I’m going to let the authorities handle this situation, but I’ve had enough of St. Louis,” Ford said. “You hear about this kind of stuff happening, and I always knew it existed because of my previous experience working here in St. Louis, but you try to keep away from it and there is just no way you can do that unless you stay inside like a hermit.”
According to police, Ford was punched in the face when he and another man attempted to use the same pump at a gas station on Wednesday. The comment “go back to Ferguson” was followed by a racial slur.
The attacker, a 37-year-old man identified as James Street, has been charged with one count of assault motivated by discrimination in the third degree, a Class D felony.
Onlookers said the attack on Ford was unprovoked and that Street, who was described as “huge,” began shouting racial slurs before entering the store. Ford tried to avoid the confrontation, police said. He was struck while trying to walk toward the front of the store to pay for his gas.
Customers intervened by writing down Street’s license plate, calling 911, and bringing Ford ice. A police witness noted that the Good Samaritans were white.
“I just want justice. It’s all I want,” Ford told the Post-Dispatch.
Regarding his comments about leaving the city, Ford said: “I care a lot about St. Louis and I love the people here. The people I have been involved with are all very positive and all they want to do is work and pay bills. There are very nice people here.”
H/T St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Photo via Dave Herholz/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)