Rumstick update: Gordon claims he was assaulted by neighbor

Attorney releases statement; Gordon plans to apologize for his language

By Josh Bickford
Posted 8/11/20

Dr. Richard Gordon, newly accused of a hate crime, offered a statement through his attorney on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11, saying he was the victim of an assault.

According to the statement, Dr. …

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Rumstick update: Gordon claims he was assaulted by neighbor

Attorney releases statement; Gordon plans to apologize for his language

Posted

Dr. Richard Gordon, newly accused of a hate crime, offered a statement through his attorney on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11, saying he was the victim of an assault.

According to the statement, Dr. Gordon said his neighbor assaulted him with a hammer prior to his racially-charged rant. Video of the Rumstick Drive resident's curse-laden tirade directed toward his neighbor was posted on Facebook late last week, about a day before Barrington police charged Dr. Gordon with simple assault or battery and disorderly conduct.

On Tuesday morning, the Rhode Island Attorney General's office filed a sentence enhancement under the state's Hate Crime Sentencing Act. Now if Dr. Gordon, 71, is found guilty of either misdemeanor he will face a mandatory sentence of at least 30 days at the ACI.

Dr. Gordon's attorney, Matthew S. Dawson, was quick to respond to the AG's filing.

"On behalf of Dr. Gordon I am very disappointed in the actions of the Attorney General in filing a potential sentencing enhancement under Rhode Island's Hate Crime Sentencing Act," he wrote. "Although certainly unfortunate, the incident of Aug. 3, 2020 stemmed from a property dispute between neighbors who have known each other for a number of years. Nothing that transpired was in any way motivated by racial animus or hostility toward the victim."

There are differing accounts of the altercation that took place — according to a Facebook post by Iman Ali Pahlavi, her husband was replacing a property marker when a neighbor "jumped" him and began calling him the N word.

Mr. Dawson's statement offers a different account.

"A fair and complete review of the incident clearly shows that Dr. Gordon was assaulted with a hammer by the alleged victim prior to the camera being turned on," he wrote. "That hammer was seized by the Barrington Police and Dr. Gordon's injuries, which required medical treatment, are evident in the video."

Mr. Dawson's statement also addresses the racist slurs his client hollered. He said the language was racially charged and "certainly inappropriate, and unacceptable…" However, he said the tirade followed a mutual confrontation, "which was a continuing disagreement between neighbors."

The arrest has led to a highly-publicized reaction by some community members. On Sunday, a rally against racism was held on the lawn outside Barrington Town Hall, and on Tuesday afternoon, a group of about two dozen people gathered on the street in front of Dr. Gordon's house on Rumstick Drive. The protest spilled over onto Dr. Gordon's lawn.

"Although we recognize that this case has gained a great deal of publicity, this mutual confrontation does not amount to a hate crime," Mr. Dawson stated. "Dr. Gordon looks forward to the opportunity to present his case in due course."

The statement included a message of regret for the language used by Dr. Gordon.

"He will offer his own apology, and other efforts to make amends, at an appropriate time," Mr. Dawson wrote.

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