In a move that prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump describes as being "long-overdue," a white couple has been arrested and charged following an alleged years-long campaign of harassment against a Black woman that began when she moved in to the house next door in 2017.
57-year-old John McEneaney and 53-year-old Mindy Canarick were arrested in Long Island on Monday and have now been charged with harassment, criminal tampering, and criminal mischief. Among other things, the couple is said to have thrown fecal matter and shot a pellet gun, with the alleged attacks ultimately resulting in Jennifer McLeggan placing a handmade sign on her door that detailed the harassment.
In a statement shared Tuesday, Crump explained that he and his team were brought in to assist McLeggan—a registered nurse—after she and her 3-year-old daughter had been forced to endure years of threats and racially targeted attacks.
"Jennifer serves on the front lines of the pandemic as a registered nurse," Crump said. "She selflessly cares for the sick, got sick herself, and survived—all to come home to racist and prejudiced neighbors who tried to intimidate her and drive Ms. McLeggan and her precious little girl out of their community."
In a statement to regional outlet WABC, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas described the case as heartbreaking and praised the community members who stepped up in McLeggan's defense.
"Today, following a comprehensive review, investigators from my office arrested and charged these defendants because of a pattern of intolerable conduct that cannot be left unchecked," Singas said. "I hope that this prosecution, and the order of protection issued by Judge Prager today, afford Ms. McLeggan and her daughter the security they deserve, and I am grateful to the advocates and leaders who collaborated with our office throughout this investigation."
And as Crump said on Tuesday, these stories are sadly "all too familiar" in 2020 America. The arrests, he added, boast the potential to send a message that people of color "have the right to breathe, the right to live, the right to own a home, and the right to protection by their government."