The 18-year-old seriously injured in an assault following a road rage incident in East Hampton Village last month filed a civil suit this week against the alleged perpetrator, Charles Harrison Streep, the 31-year-old nephew of the actress Meryl Streep, his attorney announced on Tuesday.
Edmond Chakmakian said he has also asked the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office to pursue hate crime charges, claiming Streep spewed racial epithets at his Latino client during “this malicious and senseless attack.”
Police said Streep attacked David Sebastian Peralta-Mera, a Springs resident, in the Chase Bank parking lot in broad day light on August 24. According to witness statements and surveillance camera footage, Streep was pulling out of the Circle, leading to the bank parking lot, when Peralta-Mera turned his Ford Mustang onto the Circle from Main Street. He reportedly came a little too close to his Audi A5 convertible. Streep allegedly threw his Audi into reverse, backed up to the entrance to the lot, then turned in after the Mustang. Street approached Peralta-Mera and the two argued.
Streep put Peralta-Mera in a chokehold, lift him into the air by his throat, and threw him down on the ground, police said in documents filed in court.
That afternoon, Peralta-Mera underwent emergency surgery for “life-threatening and life-altering injuries” at Stony Brook University Hospital, according to his attorney. He suffered a brain bleed which required the removal of his skull cap to stem bleeding to his brain, Chakmakian said. “He is now suffering from cognitive issues and is facing a long and uncertain recovery.”
“Our young client, an exceedingly hard-working local resident of East Hampton, was set to start his junior year at St. John’s University where he is studying, ironically, criminal justice,” Chakmakian said. “Instead, he had to defer his attendance while he attempts to recover from his massive head injuries.”
“Equally as appalling as the assault, Streep,” according to Chakmakian’s claim, “spewed racial epithets during the attack.” He is looking for the Suffolk County District Attorney District Attorney’s office to prosecute the case as a hate crime.
“We find it exceedingly ironic that Streep, whose family, including his famous aunt, purport to sympathize with the plight of immigrants and working-class people everywhere, would unleash this violent and racially charged attack on this innocent, hardworking young man,” Chakmakian added.
On Wednesday, Chakmakian will file the civil suit in New York Supreme Court, as Streep lives in Manhattan when he is not at his parents’ summer home in East Hampton. The suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. The amount has not been specified.
“This is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen in my long career. Anyone who meets this young man is immediately taken by his kindness. The fact that this arrogant, entitled, violent defendant targeted this hardworking college student is beyond imagination,” Chakmakian said. “We intend to seek full redress in the courts.”
Streep, who fled the scene before police arrived, was arrested three days later on August 27 at his parents’ Pondview Lane home. He was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation, both classified as violent felonies. He was arraigned before East Hampton Justice Steven Tekulsky and freed after putting up $5,000 to cover a $50,000 bond.