A former ice cream shop owner in New York accused of calling the police and falsely claiming to be threatened by peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters has been ordered to pay $500 to each of the protesters for violating their civil rights.
Per the ruling on Wednesday, which stemmed from a lawsuit by Attorney General Letitia James, David Elmendorf must pay nine demonstrators $500 each, totaling $4,500, The Associated Press reported. His defense attorney James Mermigis called the accusations “categorically false” and said Elmendorf’s name was being smeared.
According to Mermigis, no defense was made in court.
Elmendorf, the former owner of Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in Schenectady, N.Y., became the first person to be charged under a new state law that that bans the filing of a false police report to intimidate someone based on their race, after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint against him in March.
Elmendorf is accused of violating state law by making “multiple armed threats, including death threats using derogatory racist language, against peaceful Black protestors and made false reports to the police regarding those protestors.”
Protesters began demonstrating outside of Elmendorf’s business last year when a series of racist text messages he wrote were shared online.
When the demonstrators arrived, he allegedly “threatened a crowd of roughly fifty peaceful protestors with a .22-caliber air rifle.”
When calling authorities, Elmendorf falsely stated there were “20 armed protestors who were threatening to shoot him.” Five police officers showed up to the scene, though no arrests were made.
Apart from the monetary order, Elmendorf has also been banned from making future threats against people based on their race and is barred from brandishing a deadly weapon within 1,000 feet of a peaceful protest, the AP reports. He is now working in a different state.