A Florida man has been arrested after allegedly threatening to burn down his neighbor’s Daytona house. After the family shared a video recordings of the man using racial epithets toward the African-Americans inside of the home, the charges were elevated to a possible hate crime.
On Tuesday, May 31, police were called on Gary Dragon for his continued erratic behavior toward a Black family in his community. He was arrested and now faces charges including attempted burglary with assault and battery.
Police bodycam captures the victim, who lives on the 1700 block of Eastern Road, reporting Dragon to the officers, exacerbated by the numerous attacks he and his family have endured at the pleasure of the 34-year-old white neighbor.
“This is like the tenth time we’ve called the police on him,” the Eastern Road resident is heard saying.
Allegedly, the victim was in his home sleeping when Dragon came to his front door and started yelling and saying he wanted to fight. The children of the house recorded his tirade on a cellphone capturing his threats, him kicking the neighbors’ door and racially tinged derogatory outbursts.
“I’ll burn your [expletive] house down!” Dragon said between the punctuated use of the N-word throughout his rant.
The neighbor told the officers the man not only threatened him but even said he would hurt his daughter.
A Daytona Beach officer said, “When it turns into racial incidents like that and comments and threats, then it’s at a higher level where we won’t tolerate anything like that.”
Dragon said he was triggered after reading something online posted by his neighbors. He claims a photo was posted on social media by the victim calling him a “child predator,” Click Orlando reports. Police said they were unable to verify the social media post, but said the issue is how Dragon expressed himself. By going over to the other people’s property, the man committed a crime against the victim.
In addition to the burglary and assault charges, officers also charged him with committing a first-degree felony with prejudice and resisting arrest. Police bodycam video shows Dragon trying to run away when the officers attempted to cuff him. Authorities say the man was upset that he was being arrested.
One cop said, “You said you were going to kill them, Gary. You said you were going to set their house on fire. What are we supposed to do about that?”
At Dragon’s first court appearance a judge refused him bond, saying should stay in jail for the protection of the public.