Londonderry man faces civil rights violation after allegedly placing threatening note on someone’s car

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CONCORD, NH – A Londonderry man faces consequences under NH’s Civil Rights Act, including a preliminary restraining order and up to $5,000 in fines if found guilty, for allegedly making an unlawful threat of violence toward another person based on race.

On Thursday Attorney General John M. Formella announced the initiation of an enforcement action by the NH Civil Rights Unit against David Van Tassell, 61, of Londonderry.

The civil complaint alleges that on July 29, 2023, Mr. Van Tassell, unprompted, left an anonymous note on the windshield of a truck belonging to the alleged victim that read, “you are worse than a Purto Rican (sic) you should be shot.” The civil complaint alleges that Mr. Van Tassell’s conduct constituted a threat of unlawful force or violence designed to coerce or terrorize the alleged victim by placing the victim in fear of harm. The civil complaint also alleges that Mr. Van Tassell was motivated by the alleged victim’s actual or perceived race and/or national origin when he left the note.

Each violation of the Civil Rights Act allows for a maximum civil penalty of $5,000. Violations of the Civil Rights Act also empower the court to restrain the defendant from committing future violations of the Civil Rights Act and other hate-motivated conduct for three years. With its complaint, the Civil Rights Unit has asked the court to implement a preliminary restraining order to protect the victim and the public from Mr. Van Tassell.

The complaints and the allegations contained therein are merely accusations that the Civil Rights Unit must prove at a final hearing.

The Civil Rights Unit enforces state civil rights laws, including the Civil Rights Act and the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination. Anyone who believes their civil rights have been violated may file a complaint at https://www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights/index.htm or by calling 603-271-3650.


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