Reported by Kacie Whaley
A Brooklyn firefighter has been cleared of charges claiming he executed a hate crime after he slapped a black postal worker and called him the n-word.
A decision was reached in court on Wednesday regarding a November 2013 incident in which Luke Schreiner, a 300-pound New York City firefighter, slapped and shouted racial slurs at 57-year-old mailman Rene Isidore. During the two-day bench trial, Isidore described the incident before breaking down in tears, New York Daily News reported. He said he was driving his mail truck and came up behind Schreiner’s pick-up truck that was parked in the middle of a one-way street. Without honking, he drove around the truck.
“I don’t think it’s professional to be driving this government vehicle and constantly honking the horn,” said Isidore.
Isidore claimed that he then got out of his vehicle to deliver mail and suddenly saw Schreiner, 50, approaching him. “He started yelling ‘Do you want to get smacked today?’ and he slapped me in the face,” Isidore said.
“He grabbed me by my jacket and he removed the sun shades from my face and said, ‘What the f— are you gonna do?’ He broke them in half and stuck the pieces in the hood of my jacket.”
Schreiner then shouted racially-charged insults at the mail carrier. ‘”You’re nothing but a f—ing n—–!'” Isidore said Schreiner shouted. “‘That’s why you work for the postal service.'”
Schreiner also shouted racial insults at a black woman who passed by.
Although Schreiner admitted to Isidore’s claims; however, the judge handling the case ruled the incident as being fueled by road-rage due to getting ‘cut-off’ instead of racial hate.
“The court finds that this defendant’s remarks and racist diatribe were reprehensible, despicable, disgusting and demeaning,” said Supreme Court Justice John Ingram. “But this court finds that the ensuing language was most likely caused by road rage and is not sufficient to constitute a hate crime.”
Schreiner was convicted of criminal mischief and attempted assault. If Schreiner would have been found guilty of a hate crime, which is a felony charge, he would have faced up to four years in prison. Since he was convicted of misdemeanor charges, he faces up to one year in jail, which may be reduced to probation.
Schreiner’s sentencing is next month.