A popular butcher at a West Village meat market has been arrested on a hate crime charge after he allegedly gave a black deliveryman a noose last month, police say.
Joe Ottomanelli of Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market on Bleecker Street, allegedly gave the deliveryman a yellow-roped noose with a disturbing message on April 4, authorities said.
"If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it," Ottomanelli allegedly told the 36-year-old deliveryman as he laughed, the Daily News reported.
The deliveryman, who's delivered meat to the butcher for the past eight months, brought the noose to the Sixth Precinct stationhouse in Greenwich Village and filed a report, police said. He alleges that the butcher has made racially insensitive comments before, but the deliveryman brushed them off.
The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force investigated, and Ottomanelli was arrested Wedneday.
The longtime butcher told The Daily News last month that the two were "just fooling around" and never thought his joke would be taken as a racial attack because the meat market works with other black drivers.
"This is an unfortunate circumstance that we are working to resolve immediately," Ottomanelli & Sons said in a statement to the newspaper Thursday. "We are a family-owned business with over 50 years of service in the Village, and have the utmost respect for all of our employees and patrons."
The deliveryman said he doesn't plan to return to the decades-old shop again.