pictured above: Sister Jeanneie and husband Brother Dahveed Muhammad. with some of the community supporters in front of City Court on Monday morning.
On July 16 an African American Muslim woman, Mrs. Jeanneie Muhammad was assaulted by a hand-gun brandishing White man after a minor traffic incident in North Buffalo. Her keys were snatched out of her car, he tried to take her purse and a struggle ensued. Mrs. Muhammad was thrown to the ground and he drew a hand gun on her and residents who had come to her aid. Fortunately the incident was video taped and posted. Sister Jeanneie suffered damage to her knee and a concussion. Her attacker was arraigned on Monday.
Supporters packed the courtroom in a strong show of support for Sister Jeanneie Muhammad on Monday morning during the arraignment of Jeffrey Calhoun of Lockport, the 62-year-old White man accused of physically assaulting her, drawing a gun and using a racial slur after a minor traffic accident in North Buffalo.
After her assailant was freed on $75,000 bail, chants of “Black Lives Matter” filled the halls as his attorney ended a brief press conference outside the chambers.
Calhoun is scheduled to return to court on September 10 at 9 a.m.
Sis Jeanneie’s supporters will be there.
It was a harrowing, traumatic, painful experience for the soft spoken, respected young African American Muslim mother and wife of Dahveed Muhammad, Minister of Mosque No. 23 here in Buffalo.
Despite the fact that there are witnesses and a video of the incident, there are already signs that the powers that be are trying to ”cake walk” the issue and attempt to sweep the reality of this racist attack under the rug.
Members of Buffalo’s conscientious community are determined not to let that happen. Not this time.
Monday’s action at City court followed a formal press conference last Wednesday and a large community session last Friday to discuss additional charges supporters feel the DA’s office needs to consider in prosecuting Calhoun to the fullest extent of the law.
He has so far only been charged with attempted robbery, harassment and menacing. Some of the other charges they want to see brought against him are: assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful detention, hate crime and disorderly conduct.
Supporters are also bringing into focus what they see as a clear double standard in how Buffalo police treat a “White man with a gun” vs “a Black or Brown man with a gun.”
“This is a reckless man (Calhoun)…unhinged and should not even be a gun owner!” declared Bro. Dahveed at the Wednesday press conference. “When the police finally did arrive, he approached (them) to surrender…reached into his waist, pulled the gun out – ignoring screams of ‘he’s got a gun!’ – (and laid it on the police car). So many of our people have been shot for less…we’ve been shot down with toy guns and no guns at all.”
-Sis Jeanneie’s Story-
Jeanneie Muhammad said she was driving down the street when she rear-ended Calhoun’s vehicle near the intersection of Colvin and St.Lawrence in North Buffalo. Calhoun got out of his car and went over to hers.
“When I went to reach over to get my insurance out of the glove compartment that’s when he reached his hand in the car, snatched the keys out the ignition and said ‘I think you’re gonna run,”‘ Mrs. Muhammad recalled during the news conference.
Without her keys, Muhammad got out of her car, at which point she said Calhoun grabbed her by the back of her sweatshirt and pulled her to the ground in an attempt to steal her purse.
Precious Santiaga, a young woman who lived in the apartment building across the street, heard the commotion and started recording video that shows Calhoun appearing to bite Muhammad on the arm.
Santiaga said she ran across the street to try and intervene when Calhoun brandished a silver handgun.
“Nobody hit me no more,” Calhoun is heard saying in the video, one hand holding the weapon and the other hand clutching Muhammad’s purse.
“We just wanted him to get off this lady. That’s all we wanted. And we had a gun put in our face,” Santiaga said during a news conference.
Calhoun approached a patrol car with his gun in his hip holster when police arrived, placing the weapon on the hood before he was arrested.
As he was getting into the police car, Muhammed said he used racial slurs.
“While he was sitting in the car, he looked at me and said, ‘you n—–, You probably didn’t even have insurance,’ and I said, ‘Oh be quiet,’” Mrs. Muhammad said. “So we’re going back [and forth] like this and the police officer said, ‘Ma’am you can’t have this exchange.’ And he walked me down the street.”
Calhoun was charged with attempted robbery, menacing and harassment, WGRZ reported. If convicted on all current charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told WBFO that he is looking into the situation as a possible hate crime.
“There’s video out there which is good for me in the sense that I have a visual video to ask what happened at a certain period of time,” Flynn said. “So I’ll review the video, I’m getting statements. I’m talking to the officers. I’m talking to the people that were there to get a full picture.”
Santiaga’s video had been viewed more than 35,000 times on Facebook as of last Thursday.
“I would like for the DA to make this a precedent also. I would like for it to stop here. Because nobody knows when it’s going to be them next. I never thought it would be me. I never thought someone would point a gun to me and tell me ‘don’t move, don’t run,’” Mrs. Muhammad said.
Sister Jeanneie said that the support has been overwhelming and encouraging. “People are calling from all over the country,” she told The Challenger.
Katrinna Martin, candidate for Erie County Legislature District 1 praised Mrs. Muhammad for maintaining her composure in the face of such adversity. “You kept your calm” she told her at last Friday’s community meeting. “You have taught us all something.”
-Challenger Staff Writer w/excerpts from The Hill