David Elmendorf, the 35-year-old controversial owner of a ice cream parlor up in Schenectady, New York, faces two counts of menacing. Police said that they got multiple 911 calls regarding a man threatening protesters with a gun by Bumpy’s Polar Freeze, according to WRGB. The defendant allegedly left the scene, but he was stopped by cops from the Niskayuna Police Department, who found a pellet gun in the vehicle.
Elmendorf has been in the news lately because, in text messages circulating online, he allegedly used racial slurs, and said he didn’t hire Black people. Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner asked that New York Attorney General Letitia James investigate the defendant for possible civil rights violations, according to The Daily Gazette.
Protesters came out against Elmendorf because of the racism claims. They demanded that the parlor be shut down.
Attorney James Mermigis denies the bigotry allegations, telling Law&Crime in a phone interview that every Bumpy’s employee during a protester march on Sunday was Black. The attorney said the pellet gun incident was in self-defense, saying that Elmendorf had gone to the parlor with a friend.
According to this account, every time the defendant would approach the restaurant, he would get threats on his life. With that in mind, his friend went to the parlor on his behalf to get some personal items, but as this person was in Bumpy’s, the place was surrounded by protesters, who wouldn’t let the friend out. The friend snaked out, hopped the fence, and people started chasing him.
According to the story, Elmendorf went to look for his friend and found him getting beat up by five to seven guys; the defendant brought out a pellet gun, and scared off the attackers.
Mermigis told Law&Crime that they plan on filing a complaint, but they don’t know who the people are or if they’re even from in town. He claimed that, during the attack, the protesters threatened to kill the friend. One of them brandished a gun, the attorney said.
He said that Elmendorf had told law enforcement this story. The Schenectady Police Department did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
A protester told News10 that a vehicle had struck them before the gun incident. In this account, it was Elmendorf who apparently instigated the confrontation. No mention was made of the owner’s friend, or the alleged beating by protesters.
[Screengrab via News 10]
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