A Black teen in East Rochester, N.Y. is one of the latest victims of hate crimes sweeping the nation after being sprayed with a hose by a white man proclaiming to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Reports indicate the incident took place on Aug. 14 when 59-year-old Glen Nicodemus sprayed a 14-year-old boy with a hose outside of Nicodemus’ home. Police say he sprayed the water because he thought the teen, along with several other children, were allegedly harassing his mother.
Video of the incident shows Nicodemus telling the kids that he was a member of the KKK and that they should not “f— with the Klan.” Nicodemus can also be heard calling the teen the N-word. He then proceeded to spray the teen with a garden hose. The 14-year-old was walking away when Nicodemus sprayed him with water.
The video, which was posted to Facebook by the teen’s mother, went viral with people calling the incident a hate crime, however, state police said the incident does not rise to that level. Nicodemus was arrested and has only been charged with harassment.
Police say he is not a member of the KKK. There is one known white supremacist group in the Rochester area. The group White New York is known for leaving flyers in the area promoting white supremacist ideology. In 2016 the group distributed flyers that said: “Make (Rochester) Great Again.”
KKK activity in East Rochester dates back to the 1920s with one well-documented gathering taking place in 1926 that brought out thousands of people.
“[Nicodemus] said some stupid things… but there’s no hate crime here. Just harassment,” Steven Clancey, the chief of police with the Rochester Police Department, said to the media.
The teen’s mother said in one televised interview that Nicodemus should be charged with a hate crime.
Right now, he just has a violation. “We are looking to having this updated to a misdemeanor level offense, something that actually acknowledges the hate crime aspect,” she said.
A rally was held Sunday with protesters gathering at Edmund-Lyon Park. Demonstrators said they want police to charge Nicodemus with a hate crime.
“First of all, you are a grown man having this conversation with a 14-year-old,” said resident Steve Lysenko in one interview. “What’s your side of the story? And do you have anything to say for yourself?”