Long Island Driver’s Racist Rant Could Constitute A Crime

A video posted to Facebook by Bentley Sanon, a black man, shows a horribly racist Long Island driver calling him the n-word repeatedly while accusing him of being a bad driver. According to Sanon’s caption on the post, the incident occurred in Deer Park, LI, while Sanon’s son was in the car (I’m getting huge neck muscles from all the head-shaking I’m doing).

Gothamist reports that the man’s rant is now being investigated as a possible crime, but it’s not clear yet if anything illegal was actually done.

Heads up, this video contains VERY graphic racist language. Watch with caution.

As you can see in the video, the man was fully aware he was being recorded, and just did not care a whit. He even eggs Sanon on, telling him, “Take a picture!”

The video went viral after reporter and activist Shaun King shared it in an attempt to identify the man. A few people online recognized the man as an employee of Paramount Chimney & Gutter, per Gothamist.

One of the owners of the company, David DiMarco, claimed that the racist jerk in the video is their former employee Brett Caiet, who hasn’t been with the company since February. Speaking to Gothamist, DiMarco said, “The guy’s a scumbag obviously. The video’s disgusting, and we would never condone that behavior. We were going to fire him when he left, then he tried to come back and we wouldn’t take him back.”

Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini told Newsday, “I saw the video of the racist rant, if you will, which was obviously incredibly disturbing and further proof that racism is alive and well in our community.” Even though neither his office nor the police department received a complaint, Sini said he’s looking into seeing if a crime was actually committed.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem, as of yet, that any crime was committed. Speaking to Newsday, Sini said,“Although the activity is extremely disturbing and offensive, it does not seem to constitute a crime, at least without further evidence of some other action taken by the individual making the comments.”

A civil rights attorney named Fred Brewington looked at the video at Newsday‘s request and said,

It is repugnant, it is reprehensible, but is it a violation of law? Probably not… If someone is walking down the street and making comments, referring to someone using the N-word, the question is whether that rises to the level of criminal harassment. If the person who took a video wanted to file a complaint, then the DA would be forced to investigate and make a determination as to what the facts were.

Speaking to News 12, the regional director of the NAACP, Tracey Edwards, said, “more work needs to be done.” She clarified that the video itself doesn’t suggest a crime, but she added, “I think if we interview and do what we can to collect all of the information, we’ll have a better picture of what type of incident it actually was.”

h/t Gothamist


Written by Dean Altman

Dean Altman is a writer living in NYC.