Protesters call for hate crime charges in neighbor dispute

BARRINGTON, R.I. (AP) — Protesters are calling for hate crime charges in the case of a Rhode Island man caught on video yelling racial slurs at his neighbor during a heated dispute.

Organizers with Black Lives Matter Rhode Island say they plan to rally in the wealthy suburb of Barrington Tuesday near where the altercation took place. Residents also rallied in front of Barrington Town Hall Sunday.

Barrington Police announced over the weekend that 71-year-old resident Richard Gordon has been charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct because he was the “primary aggressor” in the dispute.

Iman Ali Pahlavi said in a widely shared Facebook post of the incident that her husband had been attacked and called the “N word” by their neighbor while replacing a property marker.

She says her husband is the one on the video heard saying “get off, get off” and that’s “assault.”

Gordon’s lawyer declined to comment this week.

The town has said it contacted Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office, which determined hate crimes charges aren’t warranted.

Barrington Town Council President Michael Carroll and Town Manager James Cunha denounced the behavior as “abhorrent.”

“It does not reflect who we are as a community and it is not who we aspire to be,” they said in their statement.

(Copyright (c) 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)