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Flatiron Man Says He Waved Finger, Not Gun, at Workers

By DNAinfo Staff on July 29, 2011 7:08am  | Updated on July 29, 2011 8:24am

Kenneth Clarfield speaking to reporters after being released from jail on July 28, 2011.
Kenneth Clarfield speaking to reporters after being released from jail on July 28, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Shayna Jacobs

MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — A Flatiron man accused of waving a gun at construction workers outside his apartment window said the weapon was actually his finger, and that he'd been driven to despair by the "damn drilling."

The man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly pointing a gun at workers who were outside his building on a scaffold to carry out work on a broken window. He's accused of yelling, "Don't touch my f---ing window or I'll shoot you."

He then barricaded himself inside his 12 East 22nd St. apartment for three hours before surrendering to police.

Kenneth Clarfield, 69, stuck his tongue out for cameras after his arraignment Thursday, and ranted that he was no bigot — referring to the fact that one of the workers was wearing a turban.

"I have nothing against these people from southern Asia — they're good and I like southern Asian food," Clarfield said after his arraignment. "But I don't like somebody in a turban that I've never seen before with an electric drill trying to drill into my apartment."

Clarfield said he resisted police because they refused to show badges after he repeatedly asked for them, he said.

"There were 20 of them out in the hall. It was like a ... swat team," he told reporters during his lenghty rant.

When cops asked why he didn't just call 911 if he felt threatened by the driller, identified in the criminal court complaint as Singh Dalwinder, Clarfield said he would not have asked for their help.

"You're on the phone with 911 for 20 minutes, telling them where you are, where you're located, blah blah blah," he said.

Prosecutors said a weapon was not found in the apartment after police broke in.

Clarfield, who said he's a retired business writer and trade association executive, told police he was cooking spaghetti and meatballs in his 11th floor apartment them he heard drilling.

He said has been complaining to his landlord about his broken window for about 30 years, but had no notice about the work they had finally ordered, he claimed.

Clarfield was charged with menacing in the second-degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and released without bail after his arraignment by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Abraham Clott.

He insisted he does not own a weapon, but once had an Arizona-licensed gun that he turned in at a buyback program at a church in Brooklyn for $400.

Clarfield's antics caused a major stir at about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday when police received reports of a crazed gunman around the corner from the landmark Flatiron building.

Clarfield is due back in court on Aug. 30.