A 58-year-old Greenport man is facing a harassment charge for allegedly giving the Nazi salute to a woman on Second Street during a racist tirade last week, according to a police report.
The man, whose identity was withheld by police while charges are pending, had been spotted speeding down Second Street last Tuesday, June 2, when according to a police report he was asked by a 33-year-old woman, who is black, to slow down.
The man then got out of his vehicle shouting, “You guys should go back to where you came from” while giving the group a Nazi salute, according to the police report.
The man then got back into his car and sped around the corner to his residence. He was later seen taking photos of the woman’s children, shouting “Somebody better get them under control” and “I’m going to put her in a body bag,” while pointing to the victim, the report continued.
When police arrived, the man told an officer, “You know who I am, call my lawyer,” before locking himself inside his home.
The incident was reported to police around 6 p.m. last Tuesday.
Shannon Welch, a Second Street resident, witnessed the incident, which she described as “baffling” in an interview Tuesday.
Ms. Welch said that while racist incidents have been documented in the area before, she was still shocked at the man’s comments. “To know it’s so close, right around the corner. It’s just like, ‘wow,’” she said.
Ms. Welch was sitting on her porch when she saw the man speed down the street and went to see what was happening when she heard yelling. “He was in the middle of the street, just acting all irate,” she recalled. All of a sudden he’s saying, ‘You guys aren’t even supposed to be here,’ and racial stuff, talking about us being in low-income housing,” said Ms. Welch, who is black. “I was like, ‘That has nothing to do with what we’re saying to you.’”
A diverse group of neighbors soon gathered, Ms. Welch said, yelling at the man to leave and “go on with his day.”
A brief Snapchat video reposted to Facebook appears to show a portion of the man’s exchange with the group, which included both black and Hispanic women.
In the video, which does not capture the entire incident, the man is heard asking a group of women, “What do you pay, like $200 a month?
“Listen, these people don’t want you here no more,” he continued, gesturing to a nearby house that he then walked toward.
The video also captured profanities being hurled back at the man.
“It just made my blood boil,” Ms. Welch said. “And I think that’s what he wanted. He wanted to cause us to react to what he was saying … What is it about us that [he] actually hates?”
Now she and others who witnessed the incident are demanding the man face charges.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley confirmed Tuesday that harassment charges have been forwarded to the town Justice Court and police have requested a criminal summons be issued. Officials at the courthouse could not confirm the status of those charges Tuesday, one week after the incident.