State AG files complaint after disturbance at Portland deli

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PORTLAND — Jesse J. Taylor, whose July 29 outburst in Sisters Gourmet Deli went viral on the internet, was accused Sept. 14 by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills of violating the civil rights of deli staff.

Mills announced her office has filed a civil rights complaint in Cumberland County Superior Court against Taylor, 36, because he “threatened the employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli in Portland with violence based on his bias against their sex and/or sexual orientation.”

The complaint asks the court to bar Taylor from entering the deli or having any contact with owner Michaela McVetty or her staff, or from entering Monument Square on Congress Street.

In early August, McVetty posted an eight-minute video of Taylor’s threatening outburst. The incident occurred at around 3 p.m., and he was arrested shortly after at the Portland Public Library. 

Portland Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch said Taylor was charged with disorderly conduct, interference with constitutional rights and criminal mischief. On Aug. 1, he pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Docket and was sentenced to five days in Cumberland County Jail.

Police also forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General for review.

“No one should be subject to bias-motivated threats of violence at the workplace or elsewhere,” Mills said. “My office is bringing this action to protect the female staff of Sisters Gourmet Deli from Taylor’s threats of harm based on his apparent bias against women, especially women who he perceives to be gay.”

The video and McVetty’s discussions with Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Manager Jon Jennings also led to an Aug. 23 City Council forum on what city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin called “downtown issues.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.