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Village Employee Claims Homeowner Hurled Racist Remark

Eugene Koret has been accused of uttering a defamatory racial remark at a village sanitation worker in late December.

An Alanon Road man is facing a harassment charge in connection to an alleged racially-charged confrontation with a village sanitation worker on Dec. 26.

Ridgewood police said the Sanitation Department worker – who was not identified – claimed that at roughly 10 a.m. on Dec. 26 the homeowner on Alanon Road called him a "f------g n----r" while he was picking up refuse in the neighborhood. Others reportedly overheard the derogatory term.

The employee, who is black, subsequently filed a citizens' complaint with the police department. Judge Russell Teschon, the Glen Rock Municipal Court Judge, found enough probable cause at a hearing to have charges filed against the homeowner, identified as Eugene Koret. (The hearing was heard in Glen Rock to avoid potential conflicts of interest.)

Neither police nor Koret clarified the events leading up to the alleged confrontation.

"The individual's conduct to our employee, as I understand it, is reprehensible," Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said. "He was very insulting to the village staff member... It's totally unacceptable. The employee showed great restraint in not retaliating."

Koret, 68, declined to comment on the alleged incident at his home on Friday. Village Manager Ken Gabbert did not respond to a request for comment.

Koret recently filed a counter claim against the employee, Ridgewood Municipal Court Administrator Maria Doerr told Patch Friday. His claim has not yet been heard.

No trial date in Glen Rock has yet been selected, Doerr said.

jp1 January 21, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Seems to be more to this story.
RdgwdGRock January 21, 2013 at 02:45 PM
waht's the diff between "spoke" and "hurled"? Seems that using "hurled" in the headline is editorializing on the part of Patch.
STB January 21, 2013 at 04:07 PM
I'm fine with prosecuting people guilty of racially charged remarks. If the guy is guilty of it, ok. But, is this thing already settled in court? If it isn't, shouldn't it be before we start "hurling" out the names of the accused, who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? If they're going to release the name of the accused, how come they don't release the name of the accuser? Again, please prosecute any scum that is guilty of open, hurtful racism. But what if the guy ends up being not guilty? His name is already out there for public consumption and the damage that will do will not go away if he's found not guilty. I am not a lawyer - but it just seems wrong that a newspaper can do this.
JAFO January 21, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Gene is.... interesting. I'd love to be called as a character witness.
John Q. January 21, 2013 at 06:02 PM
VoiceOfReason....Sometimes a judicial system isn't perfect...but it's better than any other. Charges and trials in this Country are public........much better than happening in secret.
Chester January 21, 2013 at 06:05 PM
When did it become a criminal offense to call somebody a name? You can actually be charged with name calling now? Or do you have to say the magical word that was "hurled" here? And can some people use that magical word all day long without being charged with a crime? Is the use of this word only a crime when used by certain people, based on their skin color? That does not seem like an equal application of the law to me.
Fan of Ridgewood January 21, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Id like to hear more about this story as well. I remember that several members of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed to have heard Tea Party members yell the "n-word" 15 times, yet none of the cameras or recording devices present picked it up. Nor was a $100K reward for evidence ever claimed. However, the sanitation guys ive dealt with around here seem like nice, easy-going guys.
Brian January 21, 2013 at 06:52 PM
You cannot yell at other people, especially in a menacing way. Doing so can be considered assault or harassment depending on the context. This is especially true for a public official while he/she is working. There are no charges for a hate crime in this case. It is not the particular words but rather the act of harassment which is in question. People keep saying they want to hear more, but I am not really sure what other information would change this story. I cannot imagine any scenario which would justify speaking this way towards a sanitation worker who is on the job.
Chester January 21, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Brian, the guy appears to be a jerk, but I see no indication in this report that there was any menacing on his part, it doesn't even say he yelled at him. Where did you get that? His behavior doesn't seem to be part of a campaign of harassment. From this article, the sanitation man claims the resident used a phrase he shouldn't have used. If he did, that makes him an ass, but it shouldn't make him a criminal.
Brian January 21, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I suppose you may be right. This could have been said casually but given that others heard it I think it was probably yelled. But, it is true that the article does not specify. If it turns out that the phrase was uttered under his breath and heard by the sanitation worker and other witnesses, then I will most likely change my opinion. However, I cannot accept that the phrase stated could be interpreted as anything but menacing or that one could argue it was intended as anything but menacing. I actually share your curiosity about the harassment charge. I thought a one time event was an assault whereas a repeated "campaign" is harassment.
Susan Donnelly, LCSW January 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM
What oozes out between the lines of some of these comments is hard enough on any old day, but TODAY? Although not an equivalent, it appears the employee did not respond with a comment on the homeowner's yucky cracker garbage. Quite an interesting speculation this one.
Fan of Ridgewood January 22, 2013 at 05:08 PM
And yet you feel comfortable using the, "cracker". Interesting.
Mikka H January 22, 2013 at 08:36 PM
who you calling cracker???????? dag nabit.......
Mike Kilhaney January 24, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Susan... the Patch published this for whatever reason on "MLK" day (Jan 21), but notice the incident occured way back on day after Christmas (Dec 26). When was the complaint filed ? Why published on "MLK" day ? The "accused" citizen was promptly identified, but the town employee's identification is being protected ? Prior comments by Bill P. and Chester are realistic. It is getting soooo tiring to continue to read "much ado about nothing" discrimination complaints...from unidentified accusers . All THIS about calling someone a name ? Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me". What would MLK think of this ? This is sort of rediculous....is it not ? YES-it is !
James Kleimann January 24, 2013 at 01:45 AM
There's no conspiracy here, Mike. Publishing on Jan. 21 is purely coincidental. I heard rumors of the alleged incident and was only able to confirm it last week, receiving the bulk of the details on Friday. Other details were gathered Saturday, edited late Sunday and published Monday. I don't hold stories. As to why the worker was not initially identified, police did not ID him as they said they considered by them to be a "victim" at that point in time. When the probable cause hearing for the counter-claim was found in favor of the homeowner, he was immediately identified. Maybe you missed the article: http://ridgewood.patch.com/articles/counter-claim-granted-in-alleged-racial-slur-incident-report-says


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