A 61-year-old man faces criminal charges and a possible civil fine for allegedly directing racial slurs at a Black family during a July encounter at a Seabrook, N.H., gas station and threatened to douse one member of the family with gasoline and set him on fire, prosecutors said.
In a statement, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, currently helmed by Deputy Attorney General Jane Young, identified the alleged assailant as John Doran, of Seabrook. It wasn’t immediately clear who’s representing Doran.
According to the statement, a civil complaint alleges Doran hurled racial slurs at the family and then, when a family member “addressed” Doran, he responded with more slurs and a sinister threat.
The statement said that while “brandishing one of the gas hoses at the victim,” Doran allegedly threatened “to douse him with gasoline and to burn him. The civil complaint alleges that these threats and acts were motivated by animus toward the victim’s race.”
A civil rights violation in New Hampshire calls for a maximum civil fine of $5,000, the statement said, adding that the allegations against Doran “are merely accusations that the [attorney general’s] Civil Rights Unit must prove at a final hearing.”
Doran’s civil hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet. He’s also facing separate criminal charges stemming from the encounter.
Court records in the criminal case allege Doran pointed a gas nozzle at one of the alleged victims and said “ ‘back the [expletive] up [slur] before I burn the [expletive] out of you,’ or words to that effect.”
Prior to that encounter, records in the civil complaint allege, the victims had driven by Doran on their way out of the gas station when he shouted “Go back to Africa” and “you’re not getting any gas here,” punctuating both statements with a racial slur.
As Doran left the gas station, records allege, he said to the family, “wait till I get back, you better not be here.” The family later gave statements to police, before Doran returned to the gas station while the officers were still on scene.
He allegedly told police, he was “the man on the motorcycle” and said “‘I guess you are here for me’,” the civil complaint says. “He inquired about sunglasses that he lost and repeatedly referred to” the Black family by using the same racial slur.
The complaint alleges Doran “apologized to the store clerk for his behavior and inquired about his sunglasses. He asked the store clerk, ‘How did I look?’ The defendant later called the store, apologized again, and asked how things looked in the surveillance footage. The defendant told the clerk on the phone that it ‘look[ed] bad.’”
Prosecutors said the attorney general’s Civil Rights Unit “enforces state and federal civil rights laws, including the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act and the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination,” and that anyone who believes their civil rights were violated can file a complaint online at https://www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights/index.htm or by calling 603-271-3650.