Nassau DA: Man in alleged golf attack charged with hate crimes
A Long Beach man is accused of hate crimes for allegedly menacing and directing racial insults at two black men -- and assaulting one of them -- on an Eisenhower Park golf course.
Grant Smith, 48, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash bail Friday in First District Court in Hempstead. He was represented by the Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on its cases.
Smith is charged with assault and assault as a hate crime, and two counts of menacing as a hate crime, said Chris Munzing, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney's office. All of the charges are felonies.
Police said the incident began about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on the third hole of the White Course at Eisenhower Park when Smith, who was playing alone, made "rude comments" to the two men, both of whom are in their 60s.
Two holes later, Smith, who is white, "yelled out racial slurs while assaulting and menacing the victims," according to the criminal complaint.
Smith told officers who arrested him Thursday night at his home, "they came at me first," according to the police report filed in court.
One of the black golfers, a Freeport resident, said in a telephone interview Friday that he and his friend thought a foursome was behind them, but at some point realized a lone man was waiting and wanted to play through.
They exchanged words and, at the fifth hole, "I did something I guess I shouldn't have. I gave him the finger," said the man, who is not being identified by Newsday.
Smith struck the other man with his golf club, breaking off the head, and threatened to stab and kill the men with the shaft, the police report states. The assaulted man was treated and released at a hospital, police said.
Smith, who could not be reached for comment, has a prior conviction for misdemeanor assault in a 2009 case, records show.