Man Charged With Hate Crime After Biting Black Woman During Road Rage Dispute

North Buffalo, NY — Jeffrey Calhoun, a 62-year old white man, is fac­ing sev­er­al charges of hate crime after he alleged­ly harassed Jeanneie Muhammad, a Black woman, dur­ing a recent road rage dis­pute. Witnesses say he bit her and called her a racial slur after she acci­den­tal­ly bumped his car.

The encounter report­ed­ly start­ed after Muhammad bumped into the car in front of her. She got out of the car and then Calhoun, who was dri­ving the oth­er car, sud­den­ly attacked her. He bit her and dis­played a hand­gun, as seen on a cell­phone video cap­tured by a bystander. They also said Calhoun used a racial slur on her.
Calhoun was indict­ed on two felony charges — unlaw­ful impris­on­ment and men­ac­ing — both as hate crime. He was also indict­ed on a felony count of imper­son­at­ing a police offi­cer and a mis­de­meanor count of third-degree assault.
Calhoun plead­ed not guilty of all the charges and is still out of prison on $75,000 bail.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn filed hate crime charges against Calhoun, which is the first time he did dur­ing his term as DA.
“I firm­ly believe that race was a moti­va­tion here in Mr. Calhoun’s alleged actions,” Flynn told local media. “I believe I have the evi­dence that backs up my belief. Is it a slam dunk, though? It’s not.”
Flynn fur­ther explained that while hate crime “is not in and of itself a crime,” it can be used to increase the jail time of the defen­dant. In Calhoun’s case, if he is con­vict­ed of first-degree unlaw­ful impris­on­ment which is the most seri­ous of the charges he is fac­ing, he could be sen­tenced to up to sev­en years in prison.

Moreover, Calhoun was ini­tial­ly charged with attempt­ed rob­bery for alleged­ly tak­ing Muhammad’s keys and try­ing to take her purse. But Flynn decid­ed to drop that charge as the inves­ti­ga­tion found Calhoun did not intend to per­ma­nent­ly take those items. Evidence rather proved that he used a racial slur on her even though it was not seen on the video.
“In this case here, the total­i­ty of cir­cum­stances, the con­text of the entire inci­dent with his use of the alleged racial slur, is what I believe ele­vat­ed it to a hate crime,” Flynn said.
“Buffalo is a city of good neigh­bors. Buffalo is a city of love. When some­one choos­es hate, they have to face the con­se­quences. Mr. Calhoun is now fac­ing the con­se­quences.”