A New York man could be charged with a hate crime after he was caught on camera physically attacking an African-American Muslim woman and pulling a gun on bystanders after a minor car accident on Tuesday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., WGRZ reported.
Jeffrey Calhoun, 62, was arrested after the altercation and was initially charged with attempted robbery in the first degree, menacing in the second degree and harassment in the second degree. If convicted on all current charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
The victim, Jeanneie Muhammad, said she was driving down the street when she rear-ended Calhoun’s truck at a stop sign.
Calhoun allegedly stormed out of his vehicle and approached her car.
“When I went to reach over to get my insurance out of the glove compartment that’s when he reached his hand in the car, snatched the keys out the ignition, and said ‘I think you’re gonna run,’” Muhammad recalled during a news conference.
When Muhammad got out of her car, she said Calhoun grabbed her by the back of her sweatshirt and pulled her to the ground in an attempt to steal her purse.
Precious Santiaga, a woman who lived in the apartment building across the street, began recording the altercation after hearing the commotion.
When Santiaga saw that Calhoun was attempting to bite Muhammad on the arm, she ran across the street to try and intervene. That’s when Calhoun brandished a silver handgun.
“Nobody hit me no more,” Calhoun is heard saying in the video while holding the weapon.
“We just wanted him to get off this lady. That’s all we wanted. And we had a gun put in our face,” Santiaga said during a news conference.
As officers arrested Calhoun and placed him in the patrol car, Muhammed said he used racial slurs.
“While he was sitting in the car, he looked at me and said, you n—–, ‘You probably didn’t even have insurance,’ and I said, ‘Oh be quiet,’” Muhammad said. “So we’re going back [and forth] like this the police officer said, ‘Ma’am you can’t have this exchange.’ And he walked me down the street.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told WBFO that he is looking into the situation as a possible hate crime.
“There’s video out there which is good for me in the sense that I have a visual video to ask what happened at a certain period of time,” Flynn said. “So I review the video, I’m getting statements. I’m talking to the officers. I’m talking to the people that were there to get a full picture.”
“I would like for the DA to make this a precedent also. I would like for it to stop here. Because nobody knows when it’s going to be them next. I never thought it would be me. I never thought someone would point a gun to me and tell me ‘don’t move, don’t run,’” Muhammad said.