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NY man faces possible hate crime charges for attacking black woman after car accident
A New York man could be charged with a hate crime after he was caught on camera physically attacking a black woman and pulling a gun on bystanders after a fender bender.
Jeffrey Calhoun, 62, was arrested after the altercation on Tuesday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., WGRZ reported.
Jeanneie Muhammad, an African American Muslim woman, said she was driving down the street when she rear-ended Calhoun's truck at a stop sign. Calhoun allegedly got out of his car and went over to hers.
"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.
Without her keys, Muhammad got out of her car, at which point 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, heard the commotion and started recording video that shows Calhoun appearing to bite Muhammad on the arm.
Santiaga said she ran across the street to try and intervene when Calhoun brandished a silver handgun.
"Nobody hit me no more," Calhoun is heard saying in the video, one hand holding the weapon and the other hand clutching Muhammad's purse.
"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.
Calhoun approached a patrol car with his gun in his hip holster when police arrived, placing the weapon on the hood before he was arrested.
As he was getting into the police 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."
Calhoun was charged with attempted robbery, menacing and harassment, WGRZ reported. If convicted on all current charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
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."
Santiaga's video has been viewed more than 35,000 times on Facebook as of Thursday.
WGRZ noted it may be difficult to prove that Calhoun acted in substantial part because of a belief or perception, regarding the race, color, national origin, or religion of his alleged victim but said more charges could be brought since the investigation is complete.
"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.