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Long Island couple charged for harassment of black neighbor

A Long Island man and his live-in girlfriend have been arrested after their black next-door neighbor accused them of a yearslong campaign of racist intimidation that included throwing feces and a dead squirrel onto her property.

John McEneaney, 57, and Mindy Canarick, 53, of Valley Stream, New York, were charged by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors charged McEneaney with criminal mischief and harassment while Canarick was charged with criminal tampering, a spokesperson for the DA’s office told

Both are due to be arraigned via remote online hearing on Monday.

The couple is alleged to have routinely harassed Jennifer McLeggan, a 39-year-old black woman who moved into the neighborhood after buying a home on Sapir Street in 2017.

McLeggan, a registered nurse, said McEneaney, who is white, told her to ‘go back to where I came from,’ had his friends spit on her yard, has taken a blow torch to her house at night and has said she can be ‘erased.’

She posted several videos taken from her windows showing a man tossing something onto her yard and walking around with various guns.

She said police told her they can’t make an arrest unless she is harmed.

Twitter and Instagram posts about the situation last month prompted supporters to show up and protest.

McEneaney told Newsday earlier this week that he just wants to ‘live in peace’ and that he denies any harassment.

‘I just want peace … All I ever wanted was to live in peace,’ he said.

‘My family has lived in Valley Stream since 1964 and we’ve never had a problem with anyone. I wish her and her child well,’ McEneaney said of McLeggan.

When McLeggan moved in, she said her neighbors were giving her a hard time over a supposedly unkempt yard. Since then, however, things have escalated, she said.

‘I bought the property when I was pregnant, and this is the truth, the property was in bad shape,’ she told WABC-TV.

‘I’m trying my best to make every effort to clean the property. I’ve done my best to clean the property.’

She said she has tried to address her neighbors’ concerns about keeping the area clean.

‘I mow the lawn, when there’s snow out here I’m shoveling the snow by myself,’ she said.

‘I’m doing what I can to keep the property clean.’

But she says her neighbors have been throwing dog feces onto her property, leading to fines.

‘I kept on noticing dog feces,’ she said. ‘I kept on noticing ticket ordinances from the Valley Stream Village town.

‘I keep getting tickets. I keep seeing dog feces.’

‘I installed a camera here. I caught my neighbor throwing dog feces in front of my property. I took that video to court, and I won a judgment [of more than $5,000].’

Since her case made nationwide news last month, a GoFundMe page has raised nearly $50,000 to help McLeggan install a security system in her home.

McEneaney denied McLeggan’s allegation that he wore blackface and used a blowtorch in his home to intimidate her.

He said the only time he’s worn black face was to put on a ski mask when shoveling snow.

McEneaney told Newsday that he used a blowtorch to light carburetor cleaner on fire in his yard because he was bored one night.

He said that he agreed to police officers’ request to stop shooting target practice with his pellet gun after McLeggan complained.

McEneaney claimed that he fears for his life after getting ‘a lot of death threats’ on social media.

In total, more than 50 calls to the police have been made by the two neighbors against each other since McLeggan moved into the area.

McLeggan’s lawyer, Heather Palmore, told the New York Daily News that her client’s neighbors’ ‘aggression…went on too long.’

‘For years she felt unsafe coming to a place she was supposed to feel safe at, coming home,’ Palmore said.

‘But it’s more representative of the overall state of the poor relationship between the police and the Black community here on Long Island.’

Palmore added: ‘The Nassau County District Attorney has been very professional in handling this matter, they gave Jennifer a forum to bring her complaints forward.

‘The police have been to Jennifer’s house I can’t tell you how many times over the last three years and nothing was done by the police county department.’ 

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