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'Go back to Africa:' Porter County man with shovel confronted black woman, police say

'Go back to Africa:' Porter County man with shovel confronted black woman, police say

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William Hoffman

William Hoffman

JACKSON TOWNSHIP — A 37-year-old man faces a felony count of intimidation after repeatedly yelling racial slurs at a black woman working in her yard and then aggressively walking toward her while carrying a shovel, according to Porter County police.

"Go back to Africa where you belong," Westville resident William Hoffman reportedly yelled at the woman. "(Racial slur), get out of here!"

Hoffman, who is white, also faces a misdemeanor count of harassment, police said.

Coming Sunday, see a day in the life of Michigan City Police Officer Brian Wright.

The woman reportedly told police she was outside doing yard work in the 700 block of Center Street around 3 p.m. Friday when a blue pickup drove by and the driver, later identified as Hoffman, began yelling racial slurs.

The woman said she did not respond and the truck drove back by the house and the slurs continued, according to police. The truck then drove by again and Hoffman got out carrying a large shovel and continue shouting the slurs.

Hoffman began walking aggressively toward the woman, who fled into her home and called police. She videotaped some of the scene on her phone, which she later showed police.

"(The woman) stated to me that she was extremely scared and worried about what the subject was going to do to her," police said. "(The woman) was still visibly upset while I spoke with her as she began to cry during our conversation."

Police said they identified the driver as Hoffman from earlier encounters with him and when questioning him at his home, found he smelled like alcohol. He reportedly told officers he had been working in the area in question and the woman would not let him drive in her yard.

Hoffman then called the woman a racial slur while talking to police.

When told the woman was scared by his actions, Hoffman said, "Tell that (racial slur) to get out of here! She's not welcome here."

Hoffman reportedly continued with the racial slurs while being taken to jail and said, "The (racial slur) need to go back to Gary and Portage."

Hoffman then reportedly told police he is not racist and that his best friend is black.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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