A 56 year-old Big Pine Key man remained jailed Monday night after sheriff's deputies said he shoved a 71 year-old flea market vendor and repeatedly called the elder "a cheap Jew."
David Leon Maxwell was jailed on $25,000 bond, charged with felony battery on a person 65 or older; and battery, resisting arrest and committing an act based on discrimination, all misdemeanors.
The misdemeanor that alleges prejudice is for the reported name-calling, which the vendor told deputies preceded the physical bout at Saturday's Big Pine Key Flea Market.
Florida law includes a "public order" crimes section, adding a misdemeanor charge when police find evidence that an attack was "based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim."
Allan Ringelheim, of Cudjoe Key, said he was working at his booth early Saturday afternoon when Maxwell began walking back and forth in front of him calling him "a cheap Jew," according to the four-page arrest report.
This type of thing has happened before, Ringelheim told deputies, but in the past he ignored it and it stopped.
But Maxwell reportedly began walking through the vendor's booth, at least twice, when Ringelheim told him to stop.
The 71-year-old turned the other cheek a second time, according to his telling of the story, when Maxwell allegedly put his hands on the older man's chest and shoved him.
Don't push me again, the vendor told him.
Maxwell did the same thing, deputies reported.
"At this point, victim struck the defendant in the forehead and eye area," deputies wrote in the report.
Maxwell suffered two scratches from where his eyeglasses struck his face, and he reacted by pushing the vendor into a rack of clothing, deputies said.
Ilene Ringelheim, the vendor's wife, began screaming. That drew the attention of an off-duty Key West police officer, Lt. David T. Smith, who raced over to find two men wrestling atop a clothes rack, the report said.
Deputy Nicholas Abroe, who was also off-duty while taking in the flea market, came over to help Smith, who said that Maxwell resisted arrest even after Smith identified himself as a police officer.
Maxwell was handcuffed and taken to jail.