N.Y. Claims Racist Report to Police in Suing Man Over New Law
(Bloomberg) -- New York’s top cop filed the state’s first lawsuit over an allegedly false race-based police report, accusing the former owner of an ice cream shop of lying last year when he claimed Black Lives Matter protesters threatened to shoot him.
The suit makes use of new authority granted to New York’s attorney general last year after video of a white woman calling 911 on an innocent Black birdwatcher in Central Park went viral.
Attorney General Letitia James alleges in the complaint that David Elmendorf, the former shop owner, was the only person who brandished a weapon. Wielding a .22-caliber air rifle and hurling a litany of racist epithets, he threatened peaceful protesters who were challenging what they said were his racist hiring practices, James said in the suit, filed Wednesday in state court in Schenectady.
New York passed a law last year giving James -- a Democrat and the first Black person elected to statewide office in New York -- the authority to sue someone who is “motivated by racial or other bias” when they call a police officer “without reason to suspect a violation of the penal law.”
“Those who make racist and violent threats will be held accountable by my office with the full weight of the law,” James said in a statement. “The charges against David Elmendorf should serve as a warning that hate crimes will not be tolerated on my watch and we will not allow any individual to use the color of someone’s skin as a weapon.”
The state seeks a court order barring Elmendorf from threatening or intimidating anyone based on their race or “having or brandishing a deadly weapon within 1,000 feet of any peaceful protest.”
Elmendorf couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit.
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