Maryville man sentenced for racist comment made to woman at restaurant

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Tommy Dean Gaa

MARYVILLE, Mo. — A white northwest Missouri man was sentenced to 75 days in jail for grabbing a black woman and saying he wanted to show her to “where I hung your grandpa.”

Tommy Dean Gaa, of Maryville, was sentenced Friday for third-degree assault motivated by discrimination. He was also placed on five years of supervised probation. He could face up to three years in jail if he violates probation.

According to the probable cause statement from Nodaway County, the woman was taking Gaa’s breakfast order at a Maryville restaurant when she asked Gaa if he wanted white or wheat toast.

She says he replied, “I’m prejudiced. I’ll take white.”

After giving Gaa’s order to the kitchen, the African-American worker says she went around to the coffee area that is accessible to the public.

She says Gaa came up to her, grabbed her right arm hard enough to leave bruises and asked her if she “liked to party.”

The worker says she told him “No,” and says he then replied, “I have a place I would like to take you where I hung your grandpa.”

When questioned by police, they say he at first denied making those statements but then admitted that he made some of them.

During their conversation with him, police say Gaa used the “N” word to describe good and bad black people, and good and bad white people.

The range of punishment for a class D felony of assault in the 3rd degree is imprisonment for two to four years and up to a $5,000 fine. The Maryville Daily Forum reports the assault charge would normally have been a misdemeanor but was elevated to a felony under Missouri’s hate crimes statute.