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Six Mississippians Called the N-Word and Threatened in Connecticut, Federal Lawsuit Says

Black workers from Mississippi allege that on Sept. 1, 2021, a 24-year-old white solar farm worker threatened to kill Columbia, Miss., native Ryan Luter, 21, and other Black workers from the State at a worksite in Canterbury, Conn. A Connecticut State Police report identified him as John Aniello.

The Mississippi Free Press obtained the incident’s redacted Connecticut State Police report and removed reference to Aniello’s home address in the document. The report explained that it started at about 2:45 p.m. that day, and Aniello was “mad” because he “hurt his hand” while working and began “yelling at the crew and stated he would come back and kill them and called them N*ggers,” the report stated.

The reporter could not reach Aniello for comment because calls did not go through via publicly available phone numbers for him.

In March 2022, six of the crew from Mississippi—Ryan Luter, Ralph Luter, Ralph Brown, Dwayne Gardner, Elijah Dampier, and Teven Lockhart—filed a “race discrimination and hostile work environment” case against TerraSmart, their employer at the time of the incident, alleging that the company “failed to remediate the hostile work environment once it was reported to them.” Stamford, Conn.-based attorneys Lewis Chimes and Mary-Kaye Smith filed the lawsuit. Ryan Luter and Ralph Brown are Ralph Luter’s sons.

“At all times mentioned herein, the defendant tolerated a hostile environment for African-Americans at the Quinebaug solar Center in Canterbury, CT,” the lawsuit says.

Attorney Lewis Chimes represents six Mississippians in a case before the U.S. Connecticut District Court.

They further alleged that the company “failed to take steps to protect (plaintiffs) or prevent John from returning to work” the next day.

‘I Want to Kill all the N….’

The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that Aniello “threatened to slap this n— (referring to Luter)” because he was “angry at” him.

“As a matter of fact, I want to kill all the n….,” Aniello allegedly continued angrily.

“As the other workers sought to intervene, John kept repeating that he wanted to kill the ten n—– from Mississippi and that he was going to get his gun and shoot all ten

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