Local News

Raleigh man faces ethnic intimidation charge

Posted January 27, 2011

— Police charged a Raleigh man Thursday with threatening a black woman at a downtown bus depot.

Steven Ernest Emerson, 55, of 1420 S. Wilmington St., was charged with ethnic intimidation, assault and battery and disorderly conduct at a terminal. He was being held in the Wake County jail under a $15,000 bond.

According to an arrest warrant, Emerson displayed a knife to the woman in the depot, used a racial slur and said she "needed to go back to Africa."

The woman went to get help from police and missed her bus, the warrant states.


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  • Ignatius Reilly Jan 28, 2011

    My point is that the right to be verbally obnoxious used to be a constitutional right in this country. We all grew up knowing it was our duty to shrug off somebody else's mouth. Intimidation with a weapon is a serious crime and needed to be punished. The fact that the perp didn't leave race out of it is no reason why the state should take the bait any more than an individual should. We don't need to punish people for ugly thoughts or ugly speech. Punish them for the overt acts.

    This case really is pretty trivial, although it kinda grabs our attention. But when someone is murdered, for example, I am very upset by the suggestion that the crime is worse if it was "a hate crime." Like some murders are crimes of love. It just feeds the national obsession with race for the law to start judging motives. This guy was an ugly racist; I just don't see that aspect of it as something that should be a crime. It just provides a whole other arena to argue about race.

  • SmileAndNod Jan 28, 2011

    He didn't "leave race out of it", when he called her a racial slur and demanded for her to return to Africa. So what's your point?

  • Ignatius Reilly Jan 28, 2011

    Yes, I am "upset" mostly by the very idea of a charge of racial intimidation. It is the utterly unnecessary bringing of race into it, and these sorts of laws often lead to hopeless speculation about what is in someone's heart, not a suitable matter for the law. Granted, this fellow was explicit about his racist motive but who cares about his motive. Who cares what obnoxious thing he said? He needs to be punished for his knife-wielding intimidation (just as those two black brutes in Philadelphia do but were not because Eric Holder's justice department does not concern itself with acts of intimidation committed by black people).

    Why not just leave race out of and punish the guy for his crime with a weapon. The state is really not so good a punishing people for what is in their hearts.

  • imsirius Jan 28, 2011

    You have missed the point. This story is about a man wielding a knife and threatening the safety of a woman who sounds like did nothing to provoke him. You started this line of discussion by seemingly justifying the assailants actions and words. Are you only upset with the charge of racial intimidation? Why aren't you upset that he threatened the lady with a knife? I did not call you a racist because your opinon differs from mine. I called you one because of your rant about everything being about race, in a sense blaming the victim. Race came into play only when the would be attacker uttered a racial slur.

  • Ignatius Reilly Jan 28, 2011

    Yea, I know, imsirius. People who don't agree with your opinions are, therefore, racists. I just comment on reality as I see it and, frankly, it is a pretty glum picture for so many black Americans who just can't seem to get it together. The sociological statistics don't lie. So this means the problem must be in my wicked heart! Yea, right. When people hurl the r-word, they are saying more about themselves than the target of their slurs...its such a tired cliché.

  • imsirius Jan 28, 2011

    So are you saying his freedom of speech was infringed upon because he threatened a woman with a knife? Its funny how some of you make it seems as though the woman who was threatened did something wrong. Maybe the guy is an angry racist because he doesn't know any better. Why don't you go pay for his legal counsel Reilly. I'm sure you'd like to support a fellow racist.

  • Ignatius Reilly Jan 28, 2011

    So, law enforcement, which does a dismal job of preventing or punishing ~actual~ crimes, is now punishing thoughts and presumed motives. Frankly, I am sick of everything in this country being about race. And I am sick of racism being the perpetual excuse for a segment of the population which has been given every possible leg up and special consideration but remains -- in large, disproportionate numbers -- mired in every kind of social pathology. And I am tired of race being used as a political club by liberals black and white. So have me arrested already...surely these must be criminal opinions. Maybe this guy was an angry racist because he is as tired of hearing about it as I am.

  • soyousay Jan 28, 2011

    white (no surprise there..)And the race card

    Most people do not want to have knives or other weapons waved at them, it is that whole civil society thing...even trailer park denizens

  • soyousay Jan 28, 2011

    or..I think I am missing something here

    yes, you pretty much did, there was a knife used to threaten her. Perhaps this is something you experience regularly but most would object to that

  • Sherlock Jan 28, 2011

    When did NC get Assault & Battery charge? Is Raleigh making up their own laws now?