Thomas Giese was caught on a surveillance video (below) going on an anti-Muslim rant against a convenience store clerk in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, on Dec. 24, 2015. Giese was charged with disorderly conduct, but may possibly face an additional hate crime charge.
“We will be discussing with our Solicitor if the Hate Crime Statute will be applied to the charge,” South Kingstown Police Captain Joel Ewing-Chow told WPRI. “The statute is used as a penalty enhancement for the original charges.”
According to the police report, Giese told officers that he had 10 drinks and was thinking about the 9/11 terrorist attacks before the incident with the store clerk.
However, Giese told WPRI a different story over the phone: “[The clerk] was brazen enough to start bad mouthing Christmas. That’s when I flipped.”
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The news station watched the entire surveillance video, and reports that the clerk never mentioned Christmas or Christianity. The clerk did tell Giese to leave the store, and called the police.
At one point in the video, Giese yelled at the clerk: “We don’t want Muslim stores in our neighborhood! No Muslim stores in our neighborhood!”
Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC 6: "Bringing hate crime charges would send a very strong message to that tiny minority of bigots out there who are thinking about these kinds of things, that they shouldn't do it, that they're not going to get away with it.”
A hate crime charge would mean an enhanced penalty if Giese were convicted of disorderly conduct. He could spend between 30 days to one year in jail.