Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey announced Wednesday that he has filed a civil rights complaint seeking an injunctive order against a Jonesboro man who allegedly threatened an interracial couple and their children near their home in April.
The injunctive order would prohibit the man, 52-year-old Dale O’Brien, from having any contact with the victims and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future, violation of which is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
According to AG Frey’s complaint, on April 11, 2023, the couple was walking their dogs with their children along a private road, which the owner of the property had given them permission to do.
The couple was approached by O’Brien’s wife, who threatened that they could be shot for walking on private property — to which they responded that the owner of the private road had granted them explicit permission to walk along the road and that they were not trespassing.
When the couple exited the private roadway around 20 minutes later, they heard three gunshots.
O’Brien then came out from behind his home, which abuts the private road, and yelled at the couple and their young children to “get out,” before pointing a handgun at them.
He lowered the gun after one of the victims pulled out a cell phone to record the interaction.
The couple and their family reported the incident to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office out of fear for their safety.
One month earlier, O’Brien was reported to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for another incident in which he threatened the couple at a Jonesboro hardware store.
O’Brien entered the hardware store and told the clerk that he wanted to purchase a “No Trespassing” sign because he had “a [racial epithet] problem,” according to Frey’s complaint.
O’Brien stated that he believed there was “a [racial epithet]” who could not read and that he was going to shoot the individual if the problem continued, before bragging that he could shoot the “[racial epithet]” and get away with it.
He further told the clerk that he “should be able to get away with shooting one [racial epithet] as long as he didn’t have to bring him in to tag him,” and then boasted about the firearm he owned.
“There is absolutely no place in Maine for this type of behavior. A young couple walking with their children down a road they had an express right to be on should be free from the ignorant, dangerous behavior we allege the defendant subjected them to,” Frey commented on the complaint.
“No one should be targeted by threats of violence based on their race and my office will actively confront racist threats in our communities,” Frey said.