Wilmington man convicted of ethnic intimidation for racial slurs against former police officer
Posted September 19, 2020 10:25 a.m. EDT
Updated September 19, 2020 11:10 a.m. EDT
A Wilmington police officer responded to a call about a man harassing a woman at a Wilmington restaurant. When the officer got there, the man repeatedly directed racial slurs and threats toward the officer, WECT reports.
As a result, Matthew Klempa was convicted for ethnic intimidation.
“Officers have a dangerous and difficult job," District Attorney Ben David told WECT News. "They are putting up with more and more animosity all the time. Racial slurs of any kind are absolutely inappropriate whether they’re direct to officers or to anyone in the general public and when they’re done in a threatening manner like this they should be prosecuted.”
Someone can be charged with ethnic intimidation if they assault, damage, defaces the property of another person or threaten to do any of these acts based on race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin according to NC law. The FBI classifies more recent local ethnic intimidation crimes as hate crimes.
The officer who responded to the call in this case has since left the Wilmington Police Department. WECT reports that it was a personal decision and does not have to do with this case.
In 2018, there were 4,571 reported hate crimes against people. Many of those crimes were in America's largest cities, involving victims from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds.