November 25, 2020

spraypainted

A New York man is facing felony charges after it was discovered that he allegedly spray-painted racist and pro-Trump messages on his car.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced that 18-year-old Clifton Eutsey faces charges of insurance fraud in the third degree, a felony, after an investigation found he vandalized the car with swastikas, KKK, anti-Black Lives Matter messaging, expletives, and support for President Trump. He also reportedly damaged the windshield with a brick and poured sugar into the car’s gas tank.

Flynn said there is video evidence to support the fraud allegation.

In addition to the felony charge, Eutsey faces misdemeanor charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records, and falsely reporting an incident. If convicted on all charges, the man faces up to seven years in prison.

News of the alleged vandalism sparked outrage in Buffalo in mid-October, even prompting local legislator Frank Todaro to offer to pay for graffiti removals and repairs to the vehicle. Buffalo police initially investigated the incident as a hate crime. Because of the pro-Trump messages, local news outlets asked for a response from the Erie County Republican Party.

Instead, Eutsey turned himself in last week and was arraigned on the felony charge. Frank LoTempio III, Eutsey’s attorney, entered a not guilty plea on the man’s behalf.

The judge did not set any bail for Eutsey’s release because of recent state bail reform measures.

“Behave out there, Mr. Eutsey,” Judge Shannon Heneghan told Eutsey before releasing him on his recognizance. He is due back in court on Jan. 11.

Eutsey faces separate charges stemming from a different incident in late October when he was pulled over and discovered to be driving without a license and had two loaded, illegally owned handguns in the vehicle. He was charged with felony weapons possession in that case.

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