The West Village butcher who handed a black delivery man a noose earlier this year has pleaded guilty as part of a deal that took away the incident’s hate crime status. Joe Ottomanelli will serve a grand total of three days of community service for disorderly conduct, with the potential to have his record wiped clean, the Post reports.
In April, Ottomanelli handed Victor Sheppard a noose while saying, “If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it.” Sheppard was delivering meat to the butcher at Otomanelli’s West Village shop Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market.
After the incident, Ottomanelli was charged with a hate crime, and Sheppard left work after being “too traumatized.” His employer, meat distributor Mosner Family Brands, eventually cut ties with the butcher shop and condemned the act.
Prosecutors offered Ottomanelli, 60, a plea deal because of his clean criminal record. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and must serve three days of community service and complete a restorative justice program, with the potential to get his record wiped clean if he cooperates.
Hate crimes involving nooses have been on the rise, with the Times reporting that there has been “a series of reports this year involving nooses — especially in the nation’s capital — that point to the return of the hangman’s rope as a potent expression of racial animus.”