Nine Black protesters will be receiving $500 each from a former ice cream shop owner who violated their civil rights. According to AP News, a lawsuit filed by the state alleged that David Elmendorf called 911 with false accusations against peaceful protesters — calling them “savages.” Now, David is facing permanent legal consequences in addition to the $4,500 payout.
“There is zero tolerance for harassment, intimidation, or violence of any kind against anyone in New York,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a prepared release.
The state’s lawsuit accused David of “threatening and harassing” the protesters and because they were peacefully assembling, his actions were a violation of their rights.
The group pulled up to Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in Schenectady, New York to protest racist text messages David allegedly wrote. The messages reportedly made their way around social media. In response to their presence, David called 911 and reported that the protesters were armed and threatening to shoot him.
In reality, David was the person waving around a baton and air rifle while shouting racial slurs at the Black protesters. Nonetheless, his lawyer James Mermigis reportedly called the allegations “categorically false” and said David’s name is “being smeared.”
To support its accusations, the lawsuit mentioned a civil statue which targets “false, race-based police reports.” It passed last year after a white woman named Amy Cooper called 911 and falsely accused a Black man named Christian Cooper of threatening her. Christian recorded Amy outright lying to the police after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, as was required for the area of the park they were in.
This suit against David was the first to partially rely on the statue to make its case.
As a result of his actions, David is permanently banned “from making future threats against people because of their race” and waving a weapon within 1,000 feet of any peaceful protests and protesters. His lawyer revealed he is now working in another undisclosed state. It’s unclear whether there’s a deadline to make the nine payments.
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