East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies Sunday arrested a 52-year-old man and accused him of a hate crime after investigators said he vandalized his neighbor’s car because of the victim’s race.
Niles Clay, who is white, was walking in the street Saturday night at the Baton Rouge mobile home park where he lives when a Hispanic neighbor tried to drive around him, according to an arrest report.
Clay appeared drunk and was swinging a handsaw, the victim told deputies. As the victim tried to pass, Clay scratched his car with the saw and told him, “You don’t belong in this country,” according to the report.
After a brief confrontation, the victim returned home and was later awoken by the sound of Clay vandalizing three cars parked outside the victim’s trailer, the report says. The cars sustained an estimated $3,000 in damage, including scratches, white spray paint blotches, a cracked windshield and broken tail light, the report says.
When deputies responded to the Torrey Pines Manufactured Housing Community Sunday morning, Clay denied damaging the cars but said he probably did make racist comments.
Clay, 16352 Old Hammond Highway, Lot 302, was booked Sunday into Parish Prison on counts of simple criminal damage to property and hate crimes.
Clay was arrested in February after he threatened to kill deputies responding to a neighbor’s complaint about his dog, court documents show.