PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Attorney General has filed a civil rights suit against a local man accused of shouting derogatory comments about the sexuality of workers at a downtown deli.
The Office of Attorney General Janet Mills said in a statement that it filed a civil rights suit in Cumberland County Superior Court Thursday seeking to ban Jesse James Taylor from entering Sisters Gourmet Deli or the central square where it is located and to stop him from contacting its owner and employees.
Portland police arrested Taylor, 36, in late July and charged him with a hate crime after employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli reported that he was yelling and knocking things off the counters of the Monument Square restaurant.
The sandwich shop’s owner later posted a security camera video on its Facebook page that appeared to show Taylor shouting profanities at three female employees and taunting them to call the police.
“You think you are better workers than the hard working man, huh, you lesbian dykes?” Taylor can be heard yelling in the video.
“Bull dykes … you’re going to die” he added later. “You’re going to burn in hell.”
Taylor was also charged with disorderly conduct following the incident. He pleaded guilty to that charge, was sentenced to five days in jail and ordered to stay away from the deli, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Mills, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said she brought the suit to protect the deli’s female staff.
The incident touched off discussion in Portland about what more the city can do to address the problems of homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction.
The population of homeless people in Maine’s largest city has swelled over the past decade, and recently prompted the city government to start planning for a new, larger homeless shelter.
But many of those who are homeless in Portland traveled here from other Maine cities and towns, some of which have less robust social services. The city needs help from other communities to address their needs, local officials have said.