Man accused of ethnic intimidation after incident at Hope Mills Food Lion

Cumberland County News

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WNCN) — A man is behind bars Tuesday night after he was caught on camera last week hurling racial slurs at a grocery store employee.

The incident happened at the Food Lion in Hope Mills. Shocking video caught the rant of racial slurs on the afternoon of July 23.

Eric Cahoon, 41, was seen following a Black Food Lion employee around the Hope Mills store calling him the N-word and asking the worker to hit him, according to the video.

Workers and customers put themselves and shopping carts in front of Cahoon to try to stop him.

Robert Keller was buying chips when he says Cahoon started bothering the employee and other customers.

“He was making the customers uncomfortable. I thought it was uncalled for, you know, like he was trying to start something and I don’t think it was right,” said Keller.

Cahoon is now facing several charges including ethnic intimidation, which is a misdemeanor charge that could carry a sentence of up to 120 days in jail.

“Well, he deserves it, that’s exactly what he needs. You can’t just go around saying things like that and bluntly. It’s wrong and it hurts people,” said Carie Melvin, a Hope Mills resident.

“That ain’t cool especially now with what’s going on in the world. You gotta be more mindful and respectful towards each other,” said Lameil Johnson, also from Hope Mills.

Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo called the video awful. He said he can’t recall another time his department charged someone with ethnic intimidation.

Only 29 ethnic intimidation cases were filed in North Carolina this past year. However, Acciardo says in this case, with the evidence presented, it was warranted.

Cahoon is currently being held in the Cumberland Detention Center on $1,000 bond.

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