(WSVN) - A South Florida man was walking into his condo when a neighbor yelled a gay slur, but he says more upsetting than the slur was how police responded. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek has more on this Condo Clash.
As Tim Ahlborg was coming home to his condo, he started to hear his neighbor, Richard Ross, yelling a homophobic slur.
Richard Ross (in cellphone video): “F****t Tim.”
He’s had to deal with this type of confrontation twice before, so he grabbed his phone to record him.
Tim Ahlborg (in cellphone video): “I’m actually taping you now.”
Richard Ross (in cellphone video): “I’m engaging in constitutionally protected speech by calling Timothy Ahlborg, the lying phony, who’s a college janitor at Central Connecticut University, a f****t.”
Tim Ahlborg, Lauderhill resident: “We have had this happen over and over, and we never had it actually on tape, so I got it on tape, and I wanted him to know.”
Tim then called Lauderhill Police.
Fifteen minutes later, an officer was here at these condo towers where Tim lives.
Tim Ahlborg: “He looked at the video.”
Richard Ross (in cellphone video): “F****t Timothy.”
Tim Ahlborg (in cellphone video): “Thank you, Richard.”
Richard Ross (in cellphone video): “You’re welcome, f****t.”
Tim Ahlborg “He said, ‘Well, what would you like me to do?’ I said, ‘What I would like is to have a police report made on this incident.’ He made it very clear that he wasn’t going to do that. I was very angry. That made me more angry than the video.”
Needing comfort, Tim then went upstairs and home to his husband Nick.
Nick Engdahl, Lauderhill resident: “After the police visit, I was literally horrified. Tim came in, and he was shaking. He looked like he was going to cry.”
The couple was so surprised at the officer’s reaction, because they have called police on their neighbor twice last year.
Nick Engdahl: “I felt protected by those two officers who came out.”
7News requested an interview with Lauderhill’s police chief to get her view on how her officer handled this call. That request was denied, so we requested a statement from the department. That was denied, too.
All police will say is that this is an incident “under internal review.”
Robert Pusins, law enforcement expert: “We want to make sure that we are treating all members of the community equally and fairly and just with dignity and respect, and you do that by filing police reports when they raise concerns about their safety.”
Robert Pusins has 30 plus years of law enforcement experience in South Florida.
Now, he’s hired by attorneys to review police conduct.
He says there’s no question the officer dispatched to Tim’s call should have filed an incident report.
Robert Pusins: “When we don’t handle things properly, it leaves people with that feeling of mistrust.”
And it goes even beyond mistrust for Tim.
Incident reports are crucial legal documents, especially if Tim decides to seek a restraining order against this neighbor.
Richard Ross (in cellphone video): “Hey, f****t. Hey, f****t, f****t Tim!”
After Tim reached out to 7News and we began digging into the story, a different Lauderhill officer called Tim and did file an incident report.
Tim Ahlborg: “I am relatively satisfied with how they are handling it now.”
As for Richard Ross, he would not speak to 7News on camera but told us in an email, “…calling someone a ‘slur’ of the kind alleged by [Tim] Alhborg doesn’t amount to any type of criminal offense and is constitutionally protected speech. Any reasonably competent police officer is aware of this.”
In the meantime, Tim says while on condo grounds he’ll stay on guard and keep his phone in hand.
7News did send the video of Tim being called a slur to the ACLU.
One of their attorneys says because there was no threat of physical assault or violence, the speech is, in fact, constitutionally protected.
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