Posted at: 09/16/2012 11:54 PM
| Updated at: 09/17/2012 10:35 AM
By: Dan Bazile
COLONIE - A Colonie man is accused of committing a bias crime after police say he threatened a Muslim man from Afghanistan. Police say they also found several weapons in his home, including the one they say he used in the crime.
"Right now, it's all blown out of proportion and the truth will come out in court.'
Peter Ploof, 38, didn't have much else to say about the incident that lead to his arrest and three misdemeanor charges. He did however, he didn't do anything wrong.
But police say the victim has a much different story -- telling investigators that Ploof threatened to shoot and kill him.
According to Colonie police lieutenant Robert Winn, "He was talking to a friend of his when a male came out of one of the rooms and started yelling some threats to him, indicating his Muslim faith, saying he wanted him to get off the property saying he was going to do some harm to him. That’s the first incident."
Winn says the second incident happened moments later when Ploof continued his threats with disparaging language and pointed what the victim thought was a handgun at him.
The alleged victim, Ismatullah Hotak, is a local businessman from Afghanistan who owns Colonie grocery and meat on Central Avenue. Police are still trying to find a motive for the incident that took place one day after the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
As Winn states, "certainly the timing of this is obviously heightens the sensitivity to it…He did make some statements that he did do... he said some things that he shouldn't have said and that the reason he pointed the handgun at the victim was he himself felt in fear because the victim had crossed the street and was banging on the fence with a piece of metal pipe."
Police say during their investigation, they also seized four guns, ammunition and a crossbow from Ploof's apartment on Central Avenue. Ploof tells us that all of his weapons are registered legally.
He was arraigned on aggravated harassment, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. He’s due in court in early October.