A Nottingham High School junior-varsity basketball coach Jeffery Richardson posted photos on his Facebook page of what he says was a racially motivated attack.
As Syracuse.com found the photos Richardson uploaded, which reveal a sign affixed to a large cutout of a black bear saying “get out.” This was after the individual allegedly pointed a gun at the family’s front door and then fired a shot down the road from their New York home.
The African-American girls basketball coach said that the incident is an example of “hatred act of racism,” but police wonder if it was a landlord/tenant dispute. According to the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, a 50-year-old Owasco man was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the incident, said 50-year-old Eric Simmons has been charged. So far, the charges include second-degree menacing, second-degree obstructing government administration and endangering the welfare of a child. That’s on top of being arraigned on six additional weapons charges after an alleged connection to unpermitted firearms in another incident.
However, police say this was not a hate crime. Richardson and his wife had a dispute with their landlord on Sunday evening, and Simmons is a friend of the landlord. According to police, Simmons drove a truck into the home’s driveway and placed the “Get Out” sign on the black bear cutout. A tractor was also in the driveway.
Simmons and his 14-year-old son got out of the truck and pointed a gun at the front door, but didn’t fire a shot until they were further down the road, police said. Law enforcement attempted to pull the truck over but it took off and eventually crashed into a ditch, at which time Simmons was taken into custody.
“We are good everything is okay on our end,” Richardson wrote on Facebook. “The worse [sic] part is having to tell my son…this happened in a few years. I haven’t even wrapped my head around this yet man… I’m just trying to make it in this cold world man.”
You can see the photos below: