US: Maine man could face hate crime charges for threatening gay men with a knife

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A man from Maine who asked another man if he wanted to join him in “getting” two gay men walking in front of them, before showing the man and his girlfriend a knife, could face hate crime charges as well as criminal threatening and trespass charges.

Ryan David Lane, 19, of Bangor, was arrested by police officer, Richard Polk, and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, criminal threatening and terrorizing, for his part in a threatening incident on New Year’s Eve, in downtown Bangor, Bangor Daily News reports.

Police Sergeant, Paul Edwards, said: “Officer Polk was on patrol just after the midnight ball drop downtown and was approached by a concerned citizen who told him a man had threatened to stab two gay men walking together on Central Street.”

The man asked if he wanted to join in took officers to the man, and identified him by pointing across the road to the suspect.

“He said the man [Lane] asked him if he wanted to join in and get those guys in front of him. He then produced a knife from his jacket and showed it to them,” Sergeant Edwards said. “The citizen declined to get involved, but then thought the suspect might attack him and his girlfriend for refusing, so he ran over across the street to report the incident.”

Officers approached Lane, grabbed both his arms and restrained him. They found a knife in one of his pockets at which point the suspect was arrested and a statement was taken from the witness.

Mr Lane, who is being held at Penobscot County Jail with bail set at $2,000 (£1,250), has had his charges changed to criminal threatening, refusal to submit to an officer and criminal trespass.

Sergeant Edwards said it would be up to the Attorney General whether or not the charges would constitute a hate crime. He said:

“That will have to be reviewed by the Attorney General’s office as far as whether it becomes a hate crime,” said Edwards. “Unfortunately, it’s complicated by the fact that we’ve been unable to locate the people this person threatened to stab. They may not have even known they were threatened.”

Mr Lane is awaiting a Penobscot Judicial Center court date on 12 February.