A Virginia sheriff has apologized to a black pastor who was arrested after calling 911 on a group of white people who threatened to kill him after trying to dump a refrigerator on his property. Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter made the apology to Leon McCray Sr. of Woodstock on Friday, reports the AP, announcing hate crime and assault charges against the five people involved and saying a weapons charge against the pastor would be dropped. McCray said he was visiting an apartment he owns in Edinburg on June 1 when he noticed a man and a woman dragging a refrigerator from another property into his dumpster, and they became irate when he asked them to leave. McCray said they threatened him and returned with three more people, attacking him physically and saying "they don't give a darn" about "my black life and the Black Lives Matter stuff," and telling him they would "kill" him.
McCray said he drew his legal concealed weapon to "save" his life, giving him enough time to call 911. Arriving deputies took his gun while the five continued yelling racist epithets at him. He was "handcuffed in front of the mob" and driven away while the group stood with deputies, waving at him. McCray said the deputies rushed to judgment, "disarming a black male brandishing a gun against five white individuals" despite his "Second Amendment right to defend myself against five attackers that tried to take my life." "This was indeed the most humiliating, dehumanizing, damning, and violating event of my life," McCray said. "I'm a pastor, a decorated 24-year Air Force master sergeant veteran, no criminal record." Carter said two sheriff's office supervisors have been placed on unpaid administrative leave. "As I told Mr. McCray, if I were faced with similar circumstances, I would have probably done the same thing," Carter said.
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