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STOW, Ohio (WJW) — A Northeast Ohio food service driver endures a graphic, vulgar and disgusting display of racism while making a delivery in Stow. The man seen on video hurling the racist threats faces criminal charges, including a felony.
The video is so offensive that it can’t be shown without blocking out dozens of racial slurs and profanities. The woman we spoke to says she was making a food delivery when the man unleashed a hateful tirade.
“You’re a dumb, Black f—–, n—-, b—-, F— you! Yeah, I’m racist and I’m a racist M—– F—–,” the man says in the video, recorded by the driver.
The man seen and heard in the video using an F-bomb, the N-word and the B-word, all in the same sentence, is identified as 53-year-old James Thomas Rhodes of Stow. He is charged with misdemeanor aggravated menacing and a felony of ethnic intimidation.
“I got an AK-47, right now in my f——, g—d— car…I’ll blow your f——- head off.”
“I’ve never had somebody call me any type of name, as far as my skin color or anything lke that, so I was just speechless,” said Kiauna Larkins.
Larkins says just after 7 p.m. on April 17, she was driving for DoorDash, delivering food to the Wyndham Ridge Apartments in Stow. That’s when she encountered Rhodes, who claimed she was driving erratically.
Larkins says she brushed it off, made her delivery and returned to her vehicle.
“When I realized he was following me, I stopped my car and started recording the man and that’s when he kind of started saying all those vulgar and harsh things,” she said.
“Get the f— outta here. I pay a thousand dollars a month here, you can’t…you make a thousand dollars a two months…F— you!” Rhodes is heard saying on the video.
“How do you know that?” responds Larkins.
In some parts of the video, you can hear Larkins’ two-year-old son in the background.
At one point, a woman who lives in the complex came to the delivery driver’s defense.
“You know what, you’re a racist,” says the woman.
“Yes, I am,” responds Rhodes.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” says the woman.
“I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to say anything back to the man, but she came to my defense and she, she said basically everything I wanted to say,” Larkins said.
Stow Mayor John Pribonic released a statement reading, in part…”The community that I know and love absolutely condemns the behavior displayed on the video and, instead, chooses the principles of kindness, tolerance and inclusivity to guide our daily actions and beliefs. Let me be clear – there is no place for violence, racism or intolerance in the City of Stow. We take great pride in creating a welcoming atmosphere for all people and actively celebrate our diversity.”
Kiauna Larkins says the video has gone viral on social media.
“The police department did tell me that they were getting calls from people all over the country, from different states that had seen the video,” she said.
“F— you and everybody that looks like you…what are they gonna come arrest me?” continued Rhodes.
Larkins says she has received messages, calls, emails and social media comments of support from all over.
Rhodes is out on a $10,000 personal bond.