A white man in Florida was arrested Tuesday for pointing a gun at and unleashing a racist tirade on a Black man, accusing the homeowner of stealing from his own mailbox.
Joseph Max Fucheck, 58, was booked on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm with prejudice and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, both of which are second-degree felonies, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.
The victim, Dwayne Wynn, was across the street from his home in Miami-Dade talking to a neighbor on June 14 when Fucheck pulled up and placed something in Wynn’s mailbox, the state attorney’s statement said. Wynn walked across the street to see what it was and found a business card that read: “We Buy Houses…CASH!” and “We Buy Houses… FAST!” He then returned to his conversation with his neighbor.
Fucheck circled back toward Wynn in his Jeep, “jumped out of his vehicle, and began a profanity-laced rant, stating, ‘That’s not your property motherf—er! I saw you! I was down the street watching you! I saw you take that out of there. You’re just a motherf—ing nosy neighbor! Give me my card, that’s my property!'” the statement said.
Fucheck twice lunged at Wynn before pulling out a firearm and pointed it at Wynn, the statement said. After he lowered the gun, Wynn began filming the encounter.
In the video Wynn recorded, Fucheck continued to wave the gun, referring to it: “Damn right I carry a motherf—ing gun.” He also continued to accuse Wynn of not owning his property, apparently slurring at times.
As he drove away, Fucheck shouted the N-word at Wynn and yelled: “This is why you people get shot.” Witnesses and children watched the incident unfold.
“After speaking with all the involved witnesses and reviewing the evidence, we are alleging that but for the fact that Mr. Wynn is a black male, the entire incident would not have occurred,” the attorney general’s statement said. Fucheck is being charged under the state’s hate crime law.
“It is sad that racism can turn the most mundane act into a confrontation with potentially violent overtones,” Rundle said in the statement. “All Mr. Wynn wanted to do was go into his mailbox for his mail. Suddenly, as the video shows, Mr. Fucheck accosted him with a barrage of ugly statements and racial slurs. This incident was about much, much more than the obnoxious behavior of an irate man arming himself and screaming at someone he did not know and had no reason to fear. With this arrest, we are alleging today that the incident was about hate and intimidation, pure and simple.”
“There is no place in our diverse County for hate and the violence that too often spawns from it,” Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez said in the statement.
Fucheck was jailed at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade County. Jail records do not indicate if bond has been set. A representative for Rundle’s office could not say if Fucheck had a lawyer since he has not yet been arraigned.
Rundle’s office said Fucheck is a “convicted felon,” but did not immediately say what crime or crimes he has previously been convicted of.
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.