The Maine Attorney General’s Office has filed a civil rights complaint¬†against an Oxford County man alleging that he threatened to lynch a Black woman during a confrontation last month.

Attorney General Aaron M. Frey filed the complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act against 23-year-old Tyler Tripp of Paris, Frey’s office said in a news release Thursday. Tripp, who is white, could not be reached Thursday night.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey Scott Thistle/Staff Writer

The complaint, filed July 2 in Oxford County Superior Court, accuses Tripp of threatening violence against the 20-year-old Black woman from Buckfield on June 27.

The AG’s Office said in the complaint that the woman was walking with a friend along Deering Street in Norway when a car came up to the pair at high speed. The woman yelled at the driver to slow down, and the driver stopped his vehicle.

Tripp got out of the car and “called her a racial epithet and threatened to hang her from a tree. He went on to say she deserved it because she was black (Tripp used a racial epithet in lieu of the word black),” according to court documents. “When confronted by a Norway police officer, the defendant admitted he called the victim a dirty (expletive) (racial epithet) and threatened that he was going to hang the victim from a tree.”

“Racist threats of violence have no place in Maine. No person should be threatened with violence due to the color of that person’s skin,” Frey said in a statement. “Defendant’s use of the imagery of lynching is even more abhorrent in a civil society. I will use my authority under the Civil Rights Act to stop threats of violence before they escalate into physical harm.”

The civil complaint seeks relief for the victim on two matters. Frey wants the Court to find that Tripp violated the Maine Civil Rights Act and that he be fined up to $5,000 for each violation of the Civil Rights Act.

Frey has also asked the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering Tripp to have no contact with the woman or her family and to commit no future violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act.

The permanent injunction would prohibit Tripp from using force or threats of violence against the woman, from trespassing on her property, from threatening witnesses, from contacting the woman or her family, and from getting within 150 feet of the woman’s place of employment. If the court decides to impose an injunction and Tripp knowingly violates it, he could be charged with a Class D violation under the Civil Rights Act.

The civil rights case is separate from a criminal case against Tripp brought by the Norway Police Department.

Norway police summonsed Tripp on a terrorizing charge, which will be prosecuted separately by the Oxford County District Attorney’s Office.

The Maine Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1992 and prohibits the use of violence, the threat of violence or property damage against any person motivated by that person’s face, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.

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