Worker accused of hate crime in Niagara Falls
NIAGARA FALLS — A white, 26-year employee of the city’s Public Works Department was charged Friday with a hate crime as part of an investigation into the posting of a racially motivated sign. A wider inquiry, which involves agencies that include the state attorney general’s office, continues into possible discrimination in the city’s work force.
James Curtis, 52, of 80th Street, has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment under the hate crime category, police said. The hate-crime designation turns the class A misdemeanor into a class E felony.
Earlier this month, a city employee working a night shift in the public works yard on New Road found a “whites only” sign on a drinking fountain.
Curtis could not be reached to comment Friday, but in an interview broadcast by WIVB-TV, he apologized for his actions, which he said he intended to be a joke.
Some joke, though I’m not sure being a moron automatically rises to the level of a felony. The law reads:
“A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she: … communicates with a person … in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”
Well, hell’s bells, if that isn’t a broad statute. Some days it seems like people are communicating in a manner likely to cause me annoyance all day long. I didn’t know I could have them arrested.