Barrington rally held in response to racially-charged incident

Rumstick Drive resident facing assault charge

By Josh Bickford
Posted 8/9/20

People gathered on the Barrington Town Hall lawn to support an end to racism and in response to an incident that occurred about a week earlier on Rumstick Point.

Video taken on Monday afternoon, …

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Barrington rally held in response to racially-charged incident

Rumstick Drive resident facing assault charge

Posted

People gathered on the Barrington Town Hall lawn to support an end to racism and in response to an incident that occurred about a week earlier on Rumstick Point.

Video taken on Monday afternoon, Aug. 3, and posted to Facebook shows a man later identified as 71-year-old Barrington resident Richard Gordon yelling racial slurs at one of his neighbors.

Iman Ali Pahlavi, who lives near Mr. Gordon, posted the message to Facebook on Thursday that included the video footage.

She wrote: "Since I’ve moved three years ago, we have been subjected to quite a few microagressions: neighbors walk through any and all parts of our yard, park in our driveway and get irate when we politely ask them to stop. I had been told it was racism, but I didn’t want to believe it."

According to the Facebook post, Ms. Pahlavi's husband was attempting to replace a property marker when one of her neighbors "jumped my husband calling him the N word.

"Later, he filed a false police report accusing my husband of attacking him. In the video you can hear my husband saying 'get off, get off' and that’s 'assault.' And I hear my husband asking my neighbor’s wife to call the 'police.' He stopped recording to dial 911 himself.

"My neighbor’s wife begged my husband not to pursue it, so he told the operator he was fine. Then her husband made a false allegation against my husband that she did not refute to the police.

"I shudder to think what would have happened if we did not have the video.

"Privilege is real."

Police received the 911 call and responded to the Rumstick Drive property. Officers allegedly received conflicting information from some of the parties involved.

In a statement issued Saturday, Aug. 8, Barrington Police Chief Dino DeCrescenzo said officers initially obtained "contradictory/mixed information and their initial observations did not indicate who was actually the primary aggressor and how the actual assault took place."

An investigation continued, and police obtained video of the incident. On Thursday, Aug. 6, Barrington police obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Gordon, later charging him with simple assault or battery and disorderly conduct.

The chief said the case is currently under investigation, and "any additional information obtained will be vetted and if probative will be used to change/modify any charges or add any sentence enhancements."

Chief DeCrescenzo said local police are consulting with the Rhode Island Attorney General's office to determine if the Hate Crime Statute is applicable.

"A sentencing enhancement may be filed at any time up the first pretrial conference, on Sept. 11, 2020."

Town responds

By Saturday, people in town had organized an event titled "Community Support Against Hate Crimes And Racism."

The rally took place on the town hall lawn and included dozens of people. Hundreds of people also shared comments on Ms. Pahlavi's Facebook post. One man wrote that his family lives on Mathewson Road and had experienced similar "intrusions" on their property. He said people had parked on their lawn and had a picnic on their property.

"Stay strong — your presence means minorities are winning the battles."

He later added "You'll find the town is increasingly diversifying. The 'old guard' in Barrington will have to learn to be more 'worldly' and accepting."

Barrington Town Council member Jacob Brier partnered with another resident to write a statement against racism. He had collected dozens of signatures of those who share in the message.

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