A upstate New York man has been charged with attacking a Black Muslim woman after throwing her to the ground and then drawing his gun and pointing it at her and other innocent bystanders.
According to Buffalo station WBFO, authorities have charged Jeffrey Calhoun with attempted robbery in the first degree, menacing in the second degree and harassment in the second degree after a small traffic incident suddenly turned violent.
Calhoun’s flight into rage was entirely captured on a cell phone video that clearly shows him refusing to let go of victim Jeanneie Muhammad’s handbag as she attempted to leave the scene.
“While he was sitting in the car, he looked at me and said, you n***er, ‘You probably didn’t even have insurance,’ and I said, ‘Oh be quiet,’ ” recalled Muhammad. “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.”
The suspect’s refusal to relinquish Muhammad’s property is likely where the attempted robbery charge comes from after his arrest. However African-American leaders in the community don’t think those charges go far enough and are calling for prosecutors to classify the attack as a hate crime.
“I would like for the DA to make this a precedent also,” explained Muhammad. “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.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has responded that he’s taking the matter seriously and investigating whether the incident meets the requirements needed to classify it as a 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 can ensure the victim, her husband and the community that I will prosecute this manner to the fullest extent with the evidence that I have, that I can prove in the court of law,” he vowed.