A small business owner in Schenectady, New York has been ordered to pay $4,500 to Black Lives Matter protesters.
On June 30, 2020, David Elmendorf called the police and said he was being threatened by the protesters who gathered outside his ice cream shop, Bumpy’s Polar Freeze, after an allegedly racist text message he had written was made public.
“After the incident, he was sued by New York State Attorney General Letitia James under a law, dubbed the so-called ‘Central Park Karen’ law, which aims to stop false, race-based police reports. It’s the first time the law has been used,” reports The Daily Mail.
According to ABC News, “that law was passed last year after the case against Amy Cooper, the white woman who called police on a Black birdwatcher during a caught-on-camera encounter in Central Park. Cooper’s case was dismissed by the Manhattan DA’s office after she fulfilled an education program.”
The lawsuit contends that Elmendorf approached a group of protesters, who were standing on the porch of a private house near the ice cream shop. He allegedly spent 15 minutes spewing racial slurs, including the n-word and “monkeys.”
After the group left, Elmendorf called 911 and said that there were “20 armed protesters who were threatening to shoot him.”
More protesters returned later in the day and Elmendorf “wielded a baton and air rifle and shouted racial epithets,” according to the complaint. Schenectady police responded to the scene and no arrests were made.
Elmendorf has been ordered to pay $500 to nine protesters for violating their civil rights.
He could not be reached by phone Wednesday, says NBC New York. His attorney, James Mermigis, said he would be vindicated. He said the social media posts that started the protests were never verified.
“My client categorically denies these awful allegations,” Mermigis said in an email to the news outlet. “My client is not a racist and 75% of his employees over the last five years were minorities.”
In August, Elmendorf was fined $10,000 by the county for violating COVID-19 health protocols. He has since closed his ice cream store.