SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI (WPRI) — An Exeter man captured on camera lashing out at a convenience store clerk about his religion and, at one point, threatening to kill him, was charged with disorderly conduct, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.
Thomas Giese, 37, was arrested by South Kingstown Police for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He was also charged with a civil violation for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
“I’ll (expletive deleted) kill you people,” Giese screamed at the clerk about two and a half hours before Christmas. “On Christmas Eve!”
According to the arrest report, the suspect was filled with spirits, if not holiday spirit, admitting to police that he consumed “approximately 10 drinks” before leaving a restaurant, walking across Tower Hill Road and into Ravi Food Mart.
We don’t want Muslim stores in our neighborhood. No Muslim stores in our neighborhood.”
The report states Giese began “flipping out” when the clerk could not help him hail a cab in the rural town. The clerk told police that Giese said “you should know where to find a cab because you are Muslim.”
Surveillance video provided to Target 12 by the store’s owner shows that the exchange deteriorated from there. As the clerk began to call the police, Giese exploded.
“If you call the cops,” Giese said, “What I’m going to do to you, is stretch your tongue out on you, (expletive deleted) Muslim. You pieces of (expletive deleted) are going to die on my hand.”
Seconds later, Giese made more remarks about the clerk’s religion.
“We don’t want Muslim stores in our neighborhood. No Muslim stores in our neighborhood,” Giese said, yelling so loudly that his words became garbled and over-modulated on the recording.
We went to Giese’s Exeter home, but his landlord said he was not interested in talking about the incident. In the police report, Giese said he began thinking of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center while he was at the nearby restaurant. He told police “this upset him because he allegedly had friends who worked there.”
“Giese would not state exactly what he said to the cashier,” the arrest report stated. “Other than he was a Muslim and that he does not belong in this country.”
The owner of the convenience store, who is also Muslim, asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, but said he believes Giese should be charged with a hate crime.
Rhode Island law defines a hate crime as “any crime motivated by bigotry and bias, including, but not limited to threatened, attempted, or completed acts that appear after investigation to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender or disability prejudice.”
The South Kingstown Police Public Information Officer was unavailable to comment on why the incident did not qualify as a hate crime.
Court records indicate the Christmas Eve incident was the fourth time Giese has been charged with a misdemeanor within the past eight months. Most recently, about a week before Christmas, he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage in Charlestown.