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Newburgh man claiming to be state trooper arrested after allegedly yelling racist remarks at pastor

Arrest made in alleged racist road rage incident in Newburgh
Arrest made in alleged racist road rage incident in Newburgh 02:09

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- An Orange County man is facing hate crime charges over a road rage incident captured on video over the weekend.

On Tuesday, CBS2's Kevin Rincon spoke with a local pastor, who said he feared for both his and his son's life.

Robert McLymore was driving along a busy road in Newburgh on Saturday when he was cut off by a man in a pickup truck.

"I look into my rearview mirror and I see him coming up to the car," McLymore said.

The man was holding a box cutter that looked very much like a knife.

"He was walking to my car, with his hand on the window and said, 'I'll stab you with the knife, and I'll stab you, I'll stab you,'" McLymore said.

McLymore said he was headed back to his church with his teenage son to close up. Instead, he pulled into the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant, and started recording some more.

"Nobody would believe me that this happened to me. Nobody. I didn't believe it myself," McLymore said.

The man could be heard yelling racial slurs the entire time.

Police said they arrested 60-year-old William J. Ryan. He's now facing a hate crime charge.

"His racists threats were not only harmful to the victim in this case, but echoes deep within our city," Police Chief Anthony Geraci said.

Mayor Torrance Harvey said the incident is not a reflection of the town, but rather a reflection of the polarized climate we're in.

"There are people in our country that won't let this social construct go. We're all part of the human race," Harvey said.

He said what happened is a reminder that while we've certainly come a long way, there's more work to be done.

"It lets us know it just puts you back in the 1950s," Harvey said.

As for McLymore, he's also a lieutenant with the Wallkill Police Department. He said he plans to carry his firearm with him from here on out.

He offered the following message to the suspect:

"I would say to him, number one, because I'm a spiritual person, I forgive you. But number two, you have to face the consequences for your actions and I hope that you get the help that you need," McLymore said.

That suspect did make claims in the video of being an off-duty state trooper, but the New York State Police said that's not the case, and added he has no affiliation with any law enforcement agency. 

"Racism has no place in our communities. This weekend, Pastor RD McLymore, a local pastor and law enforcement officer, released footage of a man harassing and threatening him. The footage is disturbing, as are reports that the man who harassed Pastor McLymore has repeatedly targeted other people of color in the area. We are working with local law enforcement to get more information about this and other incidents. We can and must do more to combat racism and support Black and Brown communities in the Hudson Valley," Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey, and Mid-Hudson Westchester NAACP Regional Director Wilbur Aldridge said in a joint statement. 

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