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Sep. 17—Two 15-year-old girls from Bangor have been charged with violating the Maine Civil Rights Act for allegedly spray-painting racial slurs on the car of a Pakistani-American and person of color.
Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey announced Friday that his office filed the complaint in Penobscot County Superior Court in connection with an incident that occurred last month.
According to the complaint, a man was alerted by a neighbor around 10 p.m. on Aug. 20 that his car had been vandalized. The man reported the incident to the Bangor Police Department, which investigated and identified the two girls as the suspects later that night. They were each issued summonses for criminal mischief, a Class D misdemeanor, and were released to parents.
One of the girls knew the victim and returned to his home a week later to verbally harass him, the complaint alleges.
The Press Herald is not identifying the girls because they are juveniles.
"It is unconscionable when we learn that an individual is subjected to threats of violence or property damage based on the color of their skin," Frey said in a statement. "The egregious racist messages on the vehicle victimize not only the property owner, but all people of color in the Bangor community and across the state."
The victim, Tahmoor Khan, posted about the incident on social media. He later told the Bangor Daily News that he hoped the perpetrators might reflect on what they did and use it as an opportunity to "Be better as individuals. Be better as human beings."
Under the Maine Civil Rights Act, the attorney general can bring action "against any person who uses physical force or violence, the threat of physical force or violence, property damage or the threat of property damage against another person motivated by bias against the other person's race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation."
The complaint filed against the two teenagers requests an order prohibiting them from contacting the victim and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.
A violation of an order would be a Class D crime punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.