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Valley man captures racial threats on camera

Racial incident in Avondale
Racist incident in Avondale
Posted at 10:48 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 06:53:45-05

AVONDALE, AZ — What started as a call for service turned into an ugly encounter.

Ricky Barnes, a 15-year Air Force veteran, says he called Select Warranty last month to repair his refrigerator.

The company sent a repairman with a Goodyear company, J&H Microwave and Appliance Repair, to Barnes' home on Jan. 20.

Barnes told Avondale police a disagreement started when he showed the repairman to the garage, where he was currently keeping the refrigerator in need of repairs.

The employee said Barnes' warranty would not cover any repairs if the appliance was in the garage. When Barnes challenged him, the conversation took a turn.

The two began arguing, when Barnes says he later told the man to leave his home. The repairman later responded by telling Barnes, "I'll beat you like a slave."

"This is unacceptable," said Reverend Reginald D. Walton, a pastor at Phillips Memorial CME Church in Phoenix.

He and several other community members joined Barnes at a press conference Monday, outraged at the actions of the employee.

"We’re calling on the City of Avondale Police Department to arrest the repair person and we’re calling upon the company to terminate him immediately.”

J&H Microwave and Appliance Repair could not be reached for comment by ABC15 Wednesday.

Barnes captured a portion of the encounter on his cell phone. The video begins in black, and later, Barnes turns his camera to show the repairman as Barnes tries to document the license plate number on the company vehicle.

After the employee left his home, Barnes reported the threats to Avondale police.

“My wife is sitting at home nervous. Every time we hear something we say, 'is he here?' We don’t know what kind of state of mind those individuals are in," said Barnes. “This individual should not be on the streets today. He has been a menace to society not only that day but for many years since this time frame.”

Avondale police say they are aware of and investigating the incident. "The city takes any complaint, civil or criminal, seriously and will investigate the issue thoroughly."

Barnes' attorney, Benjamin Taylor, raised issue with the department's handling of the case so far at Monday's press conference.

“That’s racist, that’s a hate crime and this man needs to be prosecuted, this man needs to be charged," said Taylor.

The department's report notes that an officer made contact with the repairman at Barnes' home on the day of the incident, but the employee refused to provide police with his full name, or the name of the witness he claimed was in the car at the time of the encounter.