A New York man who was caught on camera claiming to be an “off-duty trooper” while going on a racist road rage tirade has been charged with a hate crime, Sergeant Daniela Portillo with Newburgh police confirmed to CNN.
Cellphone video of the incident taken on June 11 shows William J. Ryan, 60, spewing racist slurs at Robert McLymore, a Black lieutenant with the Wallkill, New York, police department and his 18-year-old son, Portillo said.
“I’m an off-duty trooper, you f**king stupid n***er,” Ryan says in the video that was taken by McLymore on Saturday in Newburgh. “You’ll never be White! You’ll never be White!” Ryan continues to say before flicking his middle finger at McLymore and driving away.
McLymore told CNN the confrontation started when a man in a red truck, who was driving behind him, became enraged and sped around him when he slowed down to let another car pass in front of him.
That man, police say, was Ryan. McLymore says he then pulled next to Ryan and rolled his window down to question him and that is when Ryan began berating and yelling at him and his son.
According to a police report obtained by CNN, McLymore asked the driver what his problem was and Ryan responded, “I thought you were letting me go in front of you.”
The entire incident spanned three different locations and lasted about 10-15 minutes, according to McLymore, and during the dispute, Ryan also threatened him with a knife, according to the police report.
“He parked his car and began walking up to mine with a box cutter. He yells to me ‘I’ll cut you, you f**king n***er,” McLymore said when describing the initial interaction to CNN, which McLymore did not record.
McLymore said he then attempted to avoid further escalating the incident by driving off and parking in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant but Ryan followed him.
“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me and I’ve lived here for 45 years, nothing like this has ever happened,” McLymore said.
After driving out of the parking lot, McLymore had one final interaction with Ryan at a stop light, which he also captured on video, he told CNN.
In the video, Ryan approaches the passenger side of the car with what appears to be a knife and once again threatens to stab him.
Ryan was arrested and charged with menacing second-degree as hate crime, which is a Class E felony, court records show.
“Mr. Ryan will be held accountable for his criminal actions and deplorable speech. His racists (sic) threats were not only harmful to the victim in the case, but echoes deep within our city,” Newburgh Police Chief Anthony Geraci added.
In a statement to CNN, New York State Police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel said that Ryan is not a state trooper in New York, nor is he affiliated with “any law enforcement agencies.”
Ryan pleaded not guilty during his arraignment, court records show.
CNN has reached out to Ryan’s attorney for comment.