Posted on February 29, 2020

Attorney: Alleged Anti-Black Slur Against Jewish Victim Can’t Be a Hate Crime

Stephen T. Watson, Buffalo News, February 26, 2020

The attorney for an Amherst man accused of harassing a Jewish victim wants the hate crime charge against his client dismissed.

Why? Because the complaint claims Christian R. McCaffrey repeatedly used a racial slur while threatening the victim – but the victim isn’t black.

The documents make no reference to anti-Semitic language, said attorney Mark Sacha.

“It is blatantly insufficient as a hate crime,” attorney Mark Sacha said in Amherst Town Court on Wednesday.

Town Justice Kara Buscaglia did not rule on Sacha’s motion and instead directed him to submit it to prosecutors in writing.


{snip} The Buffalo News has obtained the criminal complaint lodged against McCaffrey, who is 18, and the statement made by the victim, also 18, to Amherst police.

The victim stated that McCaffrey started harassing him through text and Snapchat messages after he began dating McCaffrey’s ex-girlfriend.

On Aug. 16, the victim told police, McCaffrey sent a text message that read in part: “I’m looking for you and I will get you, don’t be scared now.”

The victim said he called the number in the message and asked who it was. McCaffrey, the victim said, replied, “You know who this is … I’m coming for you and I’m after you … and when I find you it’s over for you … when I get you, you better pray,” punctuated by three uses of a racial slur traditionally employed against black people.

The victim said he recognized McCaffrey’s voice.

McCaffrey, however, wasn’t charged with a crime for several months. The District Attorney’s Office on Dec. 24 announced he is accused of second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime.


{snip} Sacha said he doesn’t understand why McCaffrey is charged with a hate crime because he hasn’t seen any evidence of anti-Semitic comments made by his client.

Calling the victim a racial slur, Sacha said in court Wednesday, “does not constitute a hate crime because the victim is not black.”

If prosecutors have evidence that McCaffrey targeted the victim because of his Jewish faith, then they are obligated to share this evidence with him, Sacha said.