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Valley Stream woman in sworn statement says neighbor made remarks about race

Valley Steam residents Mindy Canarick and John McEneaney

Valley Steam residents Mindy Canarick and John McEneaney enter the courtroom of District Court Judge Eileen Goggin in Hempstead on Friday. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A Valley Stream woman whose neighbors face charges for allegedly harassing her said in a sworn statement that one of them made profane comments and remarks about race that her surveillance system captured and also kept shooting pellet guns nearby despite her calls to police.

Defendants John McEneaney and Mindy Canarick appeared in Nassau County District Court in Hempstead on Friday for new arraignments on misdemeanor charges following their arrests and initial arraignments in August. For a second time, both pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors charged the couple anew with the same offenses, with the charges now supported by a three-page statement the couple’s next-door neighbor, Jennifer McLeggan, 39, gave under oath in late September.

McEneaney, 57, faces charges of criminal mischief and harassment and Canarick, 53, faces a criminal tampering charge.

The case sparked protests this summer after McLeggan, who is Black, put a sign on her front door in July alleging her neighbors, who are white, had been "racially harassing" her since she bought her home. She said she lived there in fear. The registered nurse was pregnant when she moved into her Sapir Street home in 2017 and now lives there with her toddler daughter.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said at the time of the arrests of McEneaney and Canarick, his girlfriend, that prosecutors found "a pattern of harassing conduct" by the neighbors but no evidence to support a hate crime charge.

McLeggan's sworn statement, made public Friday, gave more details about the alleged harassment.

It said she had a home video surveillance system installed in June 2019 after often finding feces and litter on her property. But problems with the neighbors started more than two years earlier, according to McLeggan.

Her statement said the neighbors, including McEneaney's father, Michael McEneaney, 82, began complaining "almost immediately" after she moved onto the block about the upkeep and appearance of her property — which she said was in "disarray" after she bought it in a foreclosure sale.

McLeggan wrote she heard "pops" on more than 60 occasions that seemed to be pellet gunshots coming from the neighbors' yard, and they made her jump "out of alarm." The Valley Stream woman also said in her statement that McEneaney continued to shoot close to her property, or into and across it, despite her many calls to police.

The complainant also wrote that she saw police officers speaking to McEneaney in his backyard in July 2019 after she called to report that he was shooting again before McEneaney made a comment she was able to observe on her security system.

"I observed via my video system John McEneaney asserting after the officers left, ‘If I didn’t like black people, I could have had you erased a long time ago,’ " McLeggan's statement said.

The court document also said that in June or July 2019, she observed McEneaney — via her surveillance system — using a derogatory term for a woman while yelling about that person using "the race card again." Separately, McLeggan claimed in her statement that McEneaney told her at one point to "go back" to where she "came from."

Nassau District Court Judge Eileen Goggin signed new orders of protection on Friday requiring both defendants to stay away from McLeggan. Last week, she ordered the district attorney's office to investigate whether McEneaney had violated a previous identical order.

A prosecutor said then that McLeggan claimed McEneaney continued to curse loudly in front of her window and seemed to direct it at her. A district attorney's office spokeswoman said Friday that the probe into the possible protective order violation was still going on and that it was standard to request new protective orders at new arraignments.

McEneaney's attorney, Joseph Megale, declined to comment Friday, as did a representative of Nassau's Legal Aid Society, which represents Canarick.

Court records on Friday also showed McEneaney told investigators from Singas' office in August that he only shot pellet guns in his yard, never pointed them at anyone or any other house and that his father had surrendered the guns to Nassau police.

McEneaney previously has denied harassing McLeggan, said he isn't a racist and called Canarick and himself "the victims."

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