A former NFL player has been accused of ransacking a restaurant and ice cream shop near Atlanta to make it look like a hate crime.
Gwinett County police said they found the keyword "monkey", "MAGA" and swastikas on the walls and stands of both companies, Create & Bake Pizza and Coughman's Creamery in Lawrenceville.
Edawn Coughman, 31, of Buford, was arrested Thursday for false burglary, insurance fraud and hiding a number plate before being released under bail, announced the police.
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Coughman was transferred from Shaw University to the Seattle Seahawks' training squad in 2012, then spent part of the following season with the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported Friday. He was called by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 and signed by the Washington Redskins later in the season.
Police said in a press release that an officer responded Wednesday night to a 911 call saying that a man had damaged the restaurant and the ice cream shop and had run away in a truck without registration plate. The back door of the restaurant was showing signs of burglary.
When the police intercepted the truck, they found Coughman behind the wheel and learned that he was the owner of the damaged companies, according to the press release. In the truck were several televisions that seemed to have been torn off a wall.
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According to the press release, Coughman reportedly told the officers that he had noticed the damage earlier in the day and called his insurance company to report it, but not 911.
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"It's possible that he's trying to portray this as a hate-motivated crime," Cpl. Michele Pihera told the Daily Post. "We do not know if he was trying to draw attention to that.What we do know is that if this witness had not called us and if these officers were not there had not responded as quickly as they had done, we would probably be sitting here talking about a completely different crime in which Mr. Coughman would try to say that he is a victim. "