Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday, August 18, 2022, William Ryan, age 61, of Newburgh, pled guilty in Orange County Court to Menacing in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. Under the plea agreement announced on the record at the time that Ryan pled guilty, the District Attorney’s Office will recommend that he serve a split sentence of six months incarceration and five years of probation as well as five hundred (500) hours of community service when he is sentenced on November 17, 2022.
On June 11, 2022, an off-duty Town of Wallkill Police Lieutenant was driving with his son in the City of Newburgh. There, Ryan engaged in a verbal dispute with the Lieutenant before calling him a racial epithet and driving off. Ryan then proceeded to follow the Lieutenant and waive a knife at him. Ryan approached the Lieutenant’s vehicle, threatened him and displayed a blade inches from his face. Ryan then left before again confronting the Lieutenant, cursing and using racial epithets and jabbing the blade into the open window of the Lieutenant’s vehicle while threatening to stab him. After fleeing, the City of Newburgh Police was later able to identify Ryan as the suspect. In custody, Ryan admitted to being the perpetrator.
During the plea proceedings, Ryan admitted that he unlawfully possessed a knife that he used to place or attempt to place the Lieutenant in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death. He further admitted that he was motivated, in whole or in part, to commit the offenses against the Lieutenant based on a belief or perception about his race. He apologized for his actions on that day.
Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation and the arrest of Ryan.
“Hate has no place in our community,” said Hoovler. “This defendant’s reprehensible conduct is particularly troubling because of the hatred that motivated it. While thankfully no one was hurt during this violent episode, it is nevertheless a reminder that we must be diligent in addressing such conduct. I hope that not only does this defendant learn the consequences of his actions, but that the case stands as a warning to others that hate crimes will not be tolerated.”
The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Milza.