A 23-year-old Paris man is facing a civil rights charge after the Maine Attorney General’s office on Thursday alleged that Tyler Tripp threatened to lynch a Black woman last month.
The complaint, filed Thursday in Oxford County, says that on June 27, 2020, the 20-year-old victim was walking with a friend along Deering Street in Norway, when a car drove up to the alleged victim and her friend at a high rate of speed.
When the victim yelled at the car to slow down, Tripp pulled over, got out of the car and called her a racial epithet, the complaint said. Tripp then allegedly threatened “to hang her from a tree.” He also told her that she “deserved” to be hanged because of her race.
“Racist threats of violence have no place in Maine,” Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said Thursday in announcing the court filing. “No person should be threatened with violence due to the color of that person’s skin. [The] defendant’s use of the imagery of lynching is even more abhorrent in a civil society. I will use my authority under the Civil Rights Act to stop threats of violence before they escalate into physical harm.”
Tripp later allegedly admitted to a Norway Police Officer that he made the threat. He also has been charged by the Oxford County District Attorney’s office with terrorizing and interfering with a person’s constitutional rights, both Class D misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison and fines of up to $2,000. His arraignment date is Sept. 10.
The civil rights complaint is seeking a permanent injunction ordering Tripp to have no contact with the victim or her family, including not to be within 150 feet of her property and to not violate the act again. Frey’s office also is seeking a fine of up to $5,000.
If the injunction is granted and if Tripp were to violate it, he could be charged with a Class D crime.
The 1992 Maine Civil Rights Act prohibits the use of violence, the threat of violence or property damage against any person motivated by that person’s race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.