Racist video goes viral: SPI in limelight for the wrong reasons

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It’s a shocking video and it’s taken the internet by storm.

Millions of people around the world have watched a video of a man on the SPI beach yelling at an Arab-American family — citing his hate for Islamic law and his love for America.

The video, which specifically states was taken on the Island, has gone viral and appeared on heavily-visited websites such as the New York Post, BuzzFeed, Daily Mail and many others.

The video was also shared by thousands on social media networks.

South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel said he was “really, really” disappointed after seeing the video.

“This is not a racist community, this is a very welcoming community,” Patel said. “What happened to this family is certainly not who we are.”

The video shows Alexander Downing, a Waterford, Conn., resident, screaming at a group of Arab-Americans and showing his support for President Trump, and his stance against ISIS as he attempted to provoke the Arab-Americans.

“He apparently said some nasty things to a family with kids around,” Patel said. “It is just shocking, quite frankly.”

Downing was later arrested by police outside the Pearl hotel restaurant. The incident occurred on May 3.

According to the police report, Downing was a danger to himself and others.

Downing is facing charges for public intoxication.

Attempts were made to contact the Arab-American family who were discriminated against and Alexander, but they could not be reached by phone.

“They are good folks,” Patel said of the Arab Americans. “We want them to come back to South Padre Island.”

Many people reached out to the family on Facebook and sent messages saying sorry they had experienced that type of hate while on vacation.

Some Facebook posts sent peace and support and others apologized as representatives of Texas.

Patel said anybody who comes to the Island is always treated with the utmost respect and that is what “we are all about.”

“Look at me, I’m the mayor of this town,” Patel said referring to his decent. “My parents are from India, I was born in Africa and I went to school in England and I’m a Texan.”

Patel said his story shows how welcoming people are on the Island.

“We are no way whatsoever anywhere close to what that guy was saying,” Patel said. “We are much better than that, and everybody knows that.”

The video begins by showing Downing sitting under a tent less than 10 feet away from the Arab American family and then he is seen charging toward them violently.

According to the description under the original video posted by the family they were on the beach on a private access enjoying their time while gathering for a family reunion.

Another beachgoer is seen attempting to calm Downing down and stop him from bothering the Arab-Americans.

“We get people from all walks of life who visit South Padre Island and have positive things to say,” Patel said. “I would like to reassure the family that they are safe down here and we want them to come back.”