New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a suit against a former ice cream shop owner for falsely reporting Black Lives Matter protesters were threatening to shoot him, applying a new statue prompted by the “Central Park Karen” incident in May 2020.
The suit accuses David Elmendorf, the previous owner of Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in Schenectady, New York, of using racial motivation to file a false report against demonstrators who gathered in front of his store on June 30, 2020, The Daily Mail reports. The suit also claims Elmendorf issued threats, and brandished a rifle and a baton.
“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,” James said while announcing the lawsuit.
The law was created after Amy Cooper, a white woman who called 911 and falsely claimed that a Black, Central Park birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, was threatening her. A viral video captured by Christian Cooper showed that in actuality, he had had only requested that she leash her dog. After the incident Amy Cooper quickly became known as “Central Park Karen.” In Feb. the charges against Cooper were dismissed.
In June 2020 protesters gathered at Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in response to racist text messages allegedly sent by Elmendorf, which initially circulated on social media.
Elmendorf reportedly approached the group issuing threats and racial slurs, including the n-word and ‘monkey.”
“If you come over here I’m going to shoot you” the court filing claims he said. “I’ll kill all you f—-ing n—-rs.”
The suit alleges that Elmendorf threatened to go back into his store to retrieve a rifle and a baton. Demonstrators ran in fear unaware that Elmendorf called 911 claiming protesters threatened to shoot him at his store. He reportedly described the group as “savages hanging out in Section 8 housing.”
Protesters returned to his store later in the day and were greeted by Elmendorf who brandished a .22-caliber air rifle pellet gun and told the group he would “run you n****rs over with my truck.”
Police caught up with Elmendorf after he fled the scene and recovered a pellet gun, a can of ammunition and a rifle scope in his vehicle. He was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor charges for menacing in connection with the protest confrontation. He pleaded not guilty, but the case is still pending.
Elmendorf had a previous run-in with the law. Last fall he was charged with assault after he used a pen to stab a private investigator serving court documents at Bumpy’s, WNYT reported.
Bumpy’s shuttered last year after Elmendorf failed to correct health code violations and enforce COVID-19 restrictions, according to a report by the Daily Gazette.