An ex-Fireman of the Year in Savannah, Georgia is facing charges that he became violent and abusive toward a Black couple in an Applebee’s restaurant and then threatened them with a gun.
According to the Savannah Morning News, Capt. Barry R. “Ricky” Arnold Jr. of the Savannah of Savannah Fire and Emergency Services was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and pointing a gun at another.
Arnold and his wife were dining at an Applebee’s location last week when Arnold — who police records say was highly intoxicated — became agitated and used racist slurs toward their server, a Black woman.
WSAV reported that a Black man at a nearby table — identified in police documents as “Mr. Curtis” — told Arnold to calm down, which sent the firefighter into a rage.
“Mr. Curtis told me that he then advised Mr. Arnold to relax and that Mr. Arnold then redirected his disorderly behavior towards him,” said Arnold’s arrest report. “Mr. Curtis reported that Mr. Arnold then called Ms. Phillips a ‘n—-r’ and that Mr. Curtis asked Mr. Arnold what his problem was. Mr. Curtis stated that Mr. Arnold replied that he did not have to explain ‘s-t’ to him at which point the altercation started after Mr. Arnold attempted to kick Mr. Curtis while seated in the seat. Mr. Curtis told me that he hurt his right eye by hitting a table when Mr. Arnold tackled him.”
The altercation spilled out in to the parking lot, where Arnold got a gun from his car and pointed it at Curtis and his companion.
“Mr. Curtis reported hearing Mr. Arnold say that he was going to kill him and continued to use the ‘N-word,’” the arrest report continued.
Police arrived on the scene and took Arnold into custody.
Local civil rights groups are outraged that the city employee’s violent rampage only resulted in misdemeanor charges.
“If these set of facts took place with a young African American, he would have been given felony charges and we expect the same thing now,” said Rev. Leonard Small of the Unity Political Action Committee in a statement. “We want one law for everybody. Over and above that we want this man fired yesterday.”
The Savannah Fire Department told WSAV that Arnold has been suspended from duty while the incident is under review.