West Hartford man charged with hate crime against Muslim woman
By WFSB Staff
Michael Germain, 68, was arrested after he threatened to punch a Muslim woman in West Hartford
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -
A West Hartford man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after police said he threatened to punch a Muslim woman inside a store over the weekend.
West Hartford police said Michael John Germain, 68, of Mountain Road, made "rude, offensive and obnoxious comments for no reason" to a Muslim woman who was waiting for a prescription at a Walgreens on North Main Street on Saturday.
Police were called to 324 North Main St. just before 5 p.m. for a man who threatened to punch another customer.
A pharmacy tech said there was a problem with an unidentified Muslim woman's health insurance and it created a delay for customers waiting for their prescriptions. While waiting, Germain allegedly screamed at the Muslim woman and yelled obscenities.
Many of the comments allegedly made by Germain to the unidentified woman included, "I don't like Muslims" and "get the hell out of here," according to the arrest warrant.
"He was yelling at me, cursing at me, saying all of this," the woman told Eyewitness News. "I was scared, I thought he was going to hurt me."
After the woman's order was filled, Germain apologized to the tech for "making her job hard" and said he was upset "Americans got killed in the Embassy," according to the arrest warrant.
"He said 'I will punch you,' that's when I called police," said the woman, who felt she was targeted because she was Muslim.
Germain, who told Eyewitness News this incident was just a misunderstanding, left the store.
However, the woman, who was crying and extremely upset when police arrived, wrote down the license plate of his car and gave it to officers.
When police confronted Germain at his home, he admitted to getting into a verbal argument with an "Arab" woman and was "very upset about Americans dying overseas by them." Germain told police, "them" was "Muslims."
"That has nothing to do with me," the woman, who is actually from Somalia, told Eyewitness News.
Germain, who told officers that he never threatened to hit the woman, was arrested and charged with breach of peace, threatening and received a hate crimes charge.
He was released on a $10,000 bond and was given a court date of Sept. 27.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations have asked the FBI to consider federal charges against Germain.
While in police custody, Germain screamed about the "handcuffs being too tight" several times during the ride from his home to the station. Once removed from the cruiser, he complained about having difficulty breathing, however he screamed after an oxygen mask was put on him.
Germain also complained about the handcuffs creating marks and demanded that police photograph them, which officers did.
However, he refused any medical treatment.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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