The black deliveryman handed a noose by the owner of the famed Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market claims he’s too traumatized to go back to work.
Victor Sheppard says he was not comfortable returning to his job with Hunts Point meat distributor Mosner Family Brands because it continued to serve the Bleecker St. butcher shop following the disturbing “gift.”
“I could have lost my life or been badly injured or in jail, and it didn’t mean anything to them,” Sheppard said.
“It’s not easy returning to an environment where you mean nothing.”
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Sheppard’s attorney Wylie Stecklow insisted the 37-year-old couldn’t continue to work.
“Victor could not return to that environment. His employer knew exactly what happened and was supportive but they never stopped doing business with Ottomanelli,” Stecklow said.
He added that Sheppard is “unable to sleep through the night and unsure when his life will return to normal.”
Sheppard’s boss, Michael Mosner, said he could have applied for disability leave and was offered free counseling — but that Sheppard had not pursued either option.
Butcher leaves black deliveryman paranoid after handing him noose
Sheppard would have been assigned a different delivery route keeping him away from Ottomanelli & Sons, but failed to show up to work on two occasions, Mosner said.
“Naturally we were horrified about what happened,” Mosner said, referring to the noose incident.
The meat distributor held Sheppard’s job for as long as it could but in the end they “had no alternative,” Mosner said.
“We did everything we could to hold his spot. He just didn’t do his part,” he said.
The delivery company sent Sheppard a notice on June 9 informing him the company assumed he’d abandoned his job.
Joe Ottomanelli passed Sheppard a hand-fashioned noose at the butcher shop on April 5 during a morning meat delivery.
“Here is your gift. You can put it around your neck and pull if you want to end it all,” Ottomanelli, 58, said, according to a criminal complaint.
“If you are feeling stressed out I can help you with it.”
Ottomanelli is charged with a hate crime.
The butcher’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, said there was no malice attached to the bad “joke” and that Sheppard’s complaints about his ability to work boil down to nothing more than an attempt to make money off of the incident through a lawsuit.
“There’s no reason for this man to quit his job besides the reason that suing is easier than working,” Kuby said.
Kuby admits the noose ordeal was “hateful and deplorable” but argues it was an inappropriate prank and not a crime.
Sheppard, who said the incident “puts me in a bad place” and “makes me think about what my ancestors had to go through in this country,” has not filed a lawsuit against Ottomanelli & Sons.
“We are at a tipping point and it can get worse,” Sheppard said.
Ottomanelli is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sept. 19.
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