Missouri man charged with hate crime for lynching-related threat against black waitress
Authorities in Maryville, Missouri charged a 65-year-old man with a hate crime for making a racially-charged threat against a black waitress, the Maryville Daily Forum reported.
According to a probable cause statement, Tommy Dean Gaa was arrested after visiting the restaurant this past Sunday. The encounter allegedly began when Gaa expressed his preference for toast by saying, “I’m prejudiced. I’ll take white.”
Later, Gaa allegedly told the waitress, “I have a place I would like to take you where I hung your grandpa.”
The waitress retreated toward the kitchen after Gaa both threatened her and grabbed her arm hard enough to allegedly leave a bruise, asking her if she “liked to party.”
The Associated Press reported that Robert Rice, prosecuting attorney for Nodaway County, charged Gaa with felony assault motivated by discrimination, saying that the suspect “crossed the line” when he grabbed the waitress.
Police said Gaa initially denied making racist remarks toward the waitress, before admitting responsibility for “at least some” of the actions mentioned in the statement. He also reportedly used an anti-black slur when telling an officer about “good and bad” people of different races.
Gaa was released from jail on a $4,900 bond.