Protesters: ‘justice served’ with AG adding hate crime punishments onto Barrington incident

It all stems from a disagreement over property markers between two neighbors.

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WLNE) – The Attorney General’s Office will be enhancing any possible sentence with further penalties, for a Barrington man accused of assaulting and using racial slurs against his neighbor.

Protesters gathered in Barrington Tuesday outside the home of the accused, saying justice has been served in response to that action taken by the attorney general, but also saying they intend to keep the pressure on.

“The whole incident from beginning to end was despicable, it was disgusting, and it was the absolute picture of what white privilege looks like,” said Mark Fisher of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island.

It all stems from a disagreement over property markers between two neighbors.

During the altercation the accused, Richard Gordon, hurled racial slurs at the victim Bahram Pahlavi.

At first, police had said it was unclear who was the aggressor in the situation. But after reviewing video of the incident, they charged Gordon with assault and disorderly conduct.

Local police consulted with the attorney general to see whether the hate crime statute could be applied to the case.

The Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday they will be enhancing any possible sentence for Gordon under the Hate Crimes Sentencing Act, meaning should he be convicted, he could face additional penalties.

“A hate crime should be called a hate crime,” said Fisher. “That’s nothing to celebrate about.”

The sentencing enhancement notice alleges that Gordon assaulted Pahlavi because of hatred toward him as a person of color.

“We want for the future, and for all people to know, that you cannot just act on your bigotry with impunity,” said Fisher.

In a statement, a lawyer for Gordon said in part “Although Dr. Gordon’s use of racially
charged language was certainly inappropriate and unacceptable…The mutual confrontation does not amount to a hate crime.”

ABC 6 also reached out the victims for further comment but did not immediately hear back.

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