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Hamilton Beach neighbor cleared in harassing charges – QNS.com

Hamilton Beach neighbor cleared in harassing charges

A lawyer for Michael Hussey, the 19-year-old from Hamilton Beach accused of threatening and harassing his Guyanese next-door neighbor last August, feels his client has been “vindicated” now that a grand jury has dismissed all charges.
“It was our feeling that Kris [Gounden] was playing the race card from the beginning,” said attorney Michael Anastasiou.
Gounden garnered citywide attention when he said he and his family, who moved to Hamilton Beach in July 2006, had been threatened and harassed because of their Guyanese ethnicity.
Immediately following the August 11 incident, Gounden told The Courier Sun, “He [Hussey] said he was going to kill us and threw the “N” word around. He kept saying, ‘You [“N” word] think you own everything, you don’t belong here.’”
Hussey had been charged with aggravated harassment, trespassing and criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly attacking Gounden with a baseball bat, as well as for alleged verbal threats.
One neighbor, who declined to give her name, said it was Gounden’s arrogance, rather than his skin color, that has yielded so much hostility.
Anastasiou points out that many, including the media, have failed to look at the neighbors’ history.
“Kris lived there for two years and the families were quite close,” Anastasiou said. “Michael, my client [a plumber’s apprentice], had done plumbing work at Kris’ home, as did his dad, Mike Hussey Sr. They got along for a period of two years. There was never any racial tension as Kris had been indicating in the press.”
Anastasiou went on to describe the alleged incident to The Courier Sun.
“Kris had been having a party, according to the witnesses I spoke to,” said Anastasiou. “My client went to his home to ask him nicely to move some of the cars so that his sister could pull into the driveway.”
Anastasiou continued, “Kris assaults my client — he punched him with a closed fist — and some of the guests throw beer on him.”
The attorney also claims that Gounden was the first to hurl racial epithets.
“Do you think a young man who has never been in trouble with the law before is going to pick a fight with 50 or 60 people,” asked Anastasiou, who noted that the day his client and witnesses testified, there were 22 of 23 grand jury members present — and that 10 to 12 of the 22 were black.
Following the grand jury’s ruling, Gounden said in published reports, “It’s not safe for me and my family. I told the DA yesterday, ‘I need help. Things are getting worse.'”
Gounden is seeking the help of Brooklyn’s Councilmember Charles Barron, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
“When the dust settled, the grand jury found that what Kris said was baseless and fabricated,” said Anastasiou, who is advising his client to have no contact with the Gounden family. “If my client, his family and even the community were racists, there would have been no friendship. He used the indelible stigma of racism to his advantage and it’s troubling.”

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