December 28, 2001

DECEMBER 28, 2001

CONTACT: Thomas Harnett, Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights Education And Enforcement

Attorney General Steven Rowe today announced that his office has filed a civil enforcement action under the Maine Civil Rights Act against a Topsham man for harassing, threatening and assaulting an African American man on the basis his race.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court for Sagadahoc County, alleges that Carroll S. Brillant, 65, not only assaulted the 44-year-old African American man but also threatened the man's companion, a 36-year-old Caucasian woman.

According to the complaint, a pattern of racially motivated harassment and intimidation that began last June escalated into violence on October 28, 2001, when Brillant physically attacked the victim in the driveway of the home of the victim's companion. The victim was able to wrestle Brillant to the ground and hold him until police arrived and arrested him. Brillant continued to spew racial epithets even after his arrest.

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

"Maine people will not stand for race-based violence. Our Civil Rights Act articulates our insistence on tolerance and respect for all people," Rowe said.

Assistant Attorney General Stanley W. Piecuch, who is handling the case for the State, said, "This case is particularly egregious because it quickly progressed beyond mere threats to physical violence. The goal of our case is to ensure that this does not happen again, not to this victim or anybody else."

Rowe commended the Topsham 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.