Hertel Avenue protest incident

A screen grab of a video posted in August shows Michael Cremen, of Franklinville, gesturing toward protesters in Buffalo.

FRANKLINVILLE — A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a town of Lyndon man accused of a hate crime at a Buffalo protest in August.

Michael Cremen, 47, is being sought after he failed to appear in court on Wednesday, the second time in a week, after allegedly writing an email to authorities that he would not come to court for a felony hate crime charge if anyone was wearing a mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buffalo City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee originally declined to issue a warrant after Cremen failed to appear on Thursday, but did issue one almost a week later after a rescheduled arraignment was held.

In a video posted to social media, Cremen appeared to shout race-based obscenities while wielding a knife during an exchange Aug. 28 with protesters in North Buffalo as city police sat in vehicles nearby while not engaging with either side. Cremen was charged several days later following distribution of the video.

He was originally issued an appearance ticket in connection to a felony menacing charge — upgraded from a misdemeanor as prosecutors alleged it was a hate crime — as well as other charges of criminal possession of a weapon and harassment.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn could not be reached for comment, however Flynn’s office previously reported it saw Cremen as potentially a threat to anyone coming to apprehend him.

“I will not be compelled by any means to violate my conscience, therefore I will not wear a mask to any court proceeding or attend any court proceeding in which any person involved is wearing a face mask,” Flynn said Oct. 7, quoting the email which Cremen confirmed to other media outlets was genuine. “If you do issue a warrant for my arrest, it is unlawful and please understand that anyone that approaches my person, wife or property, especially armed, wearing a badge and or face mask, I consider to be a very dangerous threat to my life. And my lord will severely punish those in violation of his order of protection over my life.”

A week ago, Flynn hosted a press conference to discuss the email, which Flynn believed was a veiled threat to law enforcement.

“I’m concerned for public safety — for him and anyone around him,” Flynn said. “I want that known publicly to every law enforcement agency.”

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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