October 12, 2001

OCTOBER 12, 2001

CONTACT: Thomas Harnett, Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights Education And Enforcement 207-626-8800

Attorney General Steven Rowe today announced that his office has filed a civil enforcement action under the Maine Civil Rights Act against Jeffrey Saulnier, 44, of Bangor, as a result of threats made by Saulnier against the owner of the Bahaar Pakistani Restaurant located on Hammond Street in Bangor. The State alleges that Mr. Saulnier's threats were motivated by a bias against the victim because of the victim's Pakistani ancestry.

The complaint, filed in Penobscot County Superior Court, alleges that Saulnier directed a profanity-laced tirade at the victim during which he repeatedly told the victim to "go back to where he came from" and threatened to kill the victim and others in his restaurant.

The Attorney General's complaint seeks to permanently enjoin Saulnier from any further acts of violence, property damage, or trespass against the victim and others motivated by bias.

Attorney General Rowe stated: "Threats of physical violence directed at a person because he is from Pakistan or directed at persons from certain ethnic or religious groups are illegal and will not be tolerated. The defendant's threats, which occurred shortly after the tragic events of September 11th, have no place in a civil society."

Attorney General Rowe commended the Bangor Police Department for its investigation of the incident. The department referred the case to Rowe's office for possible action under the Maine Civil Rights Act.