A black delivery man has accused the owner of a well-known Manhattan butcher shop of handing him a noose as a gift, a law enforcement source said.
Victor Sheppard, 36, told police he was making a delivery to Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village around 9 a.m. on Tuesday when the owner, Joe Ottomanelli, gave him the noose and made anti-black statements, according to the source.
“If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it,” Sheppard said Ottomanelli told him, according to The New York Daily News, which first reported the case.
Sheppard reported the incident to the Sixth Precinct around 5 p.m. that same day, the police source said. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating whether it should be deemed a bias incident, police said.
Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market declined to comment on the allegations. In a statement given to The New York Daily News, the business said it was working to resolve the situation.
“We are a family-owned business with over 50 years of service in the Village, and have the utmost respect for all of our employees and patrons,” the statement said.
So far, no arrests have been made, police said.