The owner of the famed Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market handed Victor Sheppard, a deliveryman for Hunts Point, New York a noose and said, "You can put it around your neck and pull if you want to end it all." He also added: "If you are feeling stressed out I can help you with it."
Sheppard felt humiliated and unsafe. He couldn’t return to work but his employee didn’t feel the same way. It continued to work with the Meat Market. “I could have lost my life or been badly injured or in jail, and it didn’t mean anything to them,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard’s boss, Michael Mosner, said he could have applied for disability leave and was offered free counseling — but that Sheppard had not pursued either option.
Sheppard would have been assigned a different delivery route keeping him away from Ottomanelli & Sons, but failed to show up to work on two occasions, Mosner said. “Naturally we were horrified about what happened,” Mosner said, referring to the noose incident.
The butcher’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, said there was no malice attached to the bad “joke.”
He added that Sheppard’s complaints about his ability to work boil down to nothing more than an attempt to make money off of the incident through a lawsuit. Kuby admits the noose ordeal was “hateful and deplorable” but argues it was an inappropriate prank and not a crime.
Interestingly, though dealing with his grievances in criminal court, Sheppard has not filed a lawsuit against Ottomanelli.
Ottomanelli is facing hate crime charges. He is due in court in Manhattan in September.