When 28-year-old Dante Petty moved to Grapevine, Texas, with his young daughter in June 2017, he says they immediately began to have issues with his white neighbor who lived in the apartment beneath them.
Back in January, Petty made a Facebook post describing the torment he had been put through, the acts of aggression that started with the neighbor throwing eggs and dog feces on his car. He filed a police report, according to the post, but officers told him there was nothing he could do because there was no proof. Petty then decided to install outside his apartment a camera that, he said, captured the neighbor—64-year-old Glenn Halfin—tying a rope around the neck of a doll and hanging it from a railing.
Petty wrote in his Facebook post:
Thank God I put a camera up outside my apt because when I saw this man hanging a doll off the rails I was so fill up with anger I was ready to kill this man because if he open his door when I knock on It I would had beat his ass right there and I be In jail right now. Because you telling me by hanging black baby doll hanging from damn rope you wanna hang my daughter. And that one person I kill someone over. But thank God that grapevine police dept.and the FBI got hold on my case and charge this man multiple counts of felonies of hate crime and got evicted from our apts and any apts in grapevine. So I just wanna tell people my story and say Please Stay Awake Out here!!!
Halfin was arrested in January and charged with stalking, Tarrant County court records show. But on Friday, federal prosecutors also hit Halfin with charges of interfering with the right to fair housing, a misdemeanor civil rights offense that makes it a crime to threaten a person’s housing rights based on factors such as their race, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The news site notes that Halfin, a former firefighter and arson investigator, tied the rope around the neck of the doll “as to resemble a hanging noose,” and then put the doll where the victim would see it, thus harassing and threatening the family with bodily harm or death.
The federal complaint accuses Halfin of attempting to intimidate Petty, his daughter and a woman “because of their race and color” by placing “a rope noose around the neck of a baby doll.”
Halfin in January was also evicted from the apartment complex where he is accused of terrorizing Petty after the apartment management won a judgment against him in a justice of the peace court.
However, that may not be the end of Halfin’s problems, the Morning News notes. Texas has a hate crime law that allows punishments to be enhanced if judges or juries determine the offense to have been a hate crime.
It is unclear, however, whether such an enhancement would be pursued in Halfin’s case if he is convicted.