A Buffalo, New York, man is facing charges after shocking video shows him attacking a Black Muslim woman, then pulling a gun on her and witnesses as they try to calm his rage following a minor traffic incident.
Suspect Jeffrey Calhoun was arraigned in a Buffalo City court Wednesday on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree menacing and one count of second-degree harassment, Buffalo’s WBFO reported. Calhoun is accused of shoving a Black Muslim woman to the ground and drawing his gun on her after she accidentally hit his car Tuesday morning.
Much of the incident was filmed by a bystander.
Jeanneie Muhammad, the victim, recalled Calhoun hurling racial slurs at her from the back of a police car.
“While he was sitting in the car, he looked at me and he said, you n—-r, ‘You probably didn’t even have insurance,’ and I said, ‘Oh be quiet,’” Muhammad said. “So we’re going back [and forth] like this, [and] the police officer said, ‘Ma’am, you can’t have this exchange.’ And he walked me down the street.”
In the video, Calhoun is seen refusing to let go of Muhammad’s purse. At one point, he tries biting the woman as she struggles to get away.
Witness Precious Santiaga, who filmed the incident, bolts from her front porch and rushes to Muhammad’s defense.
“Oh, hell no!” she shouts. “Get the f—k off her! Get off her right now. Why are you beating on her? Let her go.”
Calhoun then brandishes his gun. In the clip, he denies pointing the weapon at bystanders, claiming he simply “showed it” to them.
Although Calhoun is charged in the incident, Muhammad and other Black community leaders feel the charges do not go far enough enough and are pushing for the incident to be classified as a hate crime.
“I would like for the DA to make this a precedent also. I would like for it to stop here,” Muhammad said at a press conference on Wednesday, flanked by members of the National Association for Equal Justice in America and Buffalo Civil Rights Initiative. “Because nobody knows when it’s going to be them next.”
“I never thought it would be me,” she added. “I never thought someone would point a gun to me and tell me, ‘don’t move, don’t run.’ “
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said he’s looking into whether the incident falls under the requirements needed to be considered a hate crime.
“There’s video out there, which is good for me in the sense that I have got a visual video to ask what happened at a certain period of time,” Flynn said. “So I’ll review the video, I’m getting statements. I’m talking to the officers. I’m talking to the people that were there to get a full picture.”
Flynn vowed to prosecute the incident “to the fullest extent” to ensure justice to Muhammad and her family.
Recalling the events of that day, Santiaga said she first thought Muhammad was a suspected shoplifter and that Calhoun was a security officer trying to stop her. She soon realized that wasn’t the case after she saw Calhoun bite the woman.
“That’s when I just lost it,” Santiaga told WBFO. “I jumped down all my steps. Ran across the street; I didn’t even look both ways. And they let me go across the street and I asked him why are you doing this to her?”
Officers arrived at the scene moments later and ordered Calhoun to put his hand on the hood after bystanders informed them that Calhoun was armed.
Muhammad credits Santiaga and others for helping de-escalate the situation.
Authorities said the incident remains under investigation, and that more charges could be filed once it’s complete. If convicted on all charges, Calhoun faces up to 15 years behind bars.
Photo Credit:News 13