Columbus Man Who Harassed Jewish Neighbors With ‘Hitler’ Taunts Charged With Federal Hate Crime
A Columbus, Ohio man who harassed his Jewish neighbors with antisemitic insults and threats was charged in a federal district court on Thursday with a hate crime.
Douglas G. Schifer, 65, appeared before US District Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers on a misdemeanor count of criminal interference with right to fair housing, which carries a potential sentence of up to 12 months in prison.
Schifer was last year alleged to have repeatedly targeted his neighbors, Nick and Tiffany Kinney, a Jewish couple from California who had recently moved to the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus.
Interviewed last November, the Kinneys described how Schifer had confronted them three days after the US presidential election, showering the couple with antisemitic abuse.
“He’s tired of us liberals,” Nick Kinney recalled. “Horrible things about Hitler, ‘It’s no wonder Hitler burned our people’ — he knows we are Jewish.”
Schiffer threatened that “I’ll put a bullet through your head like Hitler,” Tiffany Kinney recalled.
“Real disappointing and painful, the way this man must feel about Jews,” she commented.
Alongside the verbal insults, the Kinneys said that Schifer threw rocks through their patio door and windows, shattering the glass. The incident was captured on a neighbor’s doorbell camera.
“It literally exploded, we are still finding shards of glass,” Nick Kinney said at the time
On another occasion, “he spat on us, he spat on me,” he added. “Threw antisemitic speech at my father, threatened to shoot my father.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch on Friday, Schifer declined to talk to an FBI investigator in late January regarding his antisemitic behavior to the Kinneys. Shortly after that attempted interview, he lodged a building and zoning complaint with the city of Columbus against his neighbors, alleging they had turned a garage into a living quarters without proper permits.
Schifer’s lawyer, Sam Shamansky, insisted that his client had not intended to offend the Kinneys.
“People often say hurtful, mean-spirited things that they don’t mean,” Shamansky told the Dispatch. “To the extent that any of the antisemitic statements that are allegedly attributed to my client are true, he’s extremely remorseful that anybody’s feelings were hurt.”