Kiauna Larkins was delivering food in Akron, OH as part of her job with DoorDash. She was with her two-year old son in the car when she encountered James Rhodes who apparently did not like the presence of a black woman near his apartment building and let loose a threatening, racist, and profanity-laced tirade in the presence of the child.
What I found particularly sad was that Larkins did not initially report this to the police. She was resigned to thinking that this was somehow normal behavior.
“Larkins said she didn’t call police immediately because she didn’t realize that Rhodes’ behavior may have been criminal.
“It wasn’t until I talked with my mother later that night,” she said. “I didn’t know at that time that it was a crime … with what people go through on an everyday basis.”
That is a sad commentary on the low expectations we now have for basic courtesy. But at least other people who were there came to her defense and told the man to get lost. I am impressed how Larkins kept her cool and even managed to laugh at the whole thing.
Rhodes has since been charged with ethnic intimidation (a fifth-degree felony), aggravated menacing (a first-degree misdemeanor), been fired from his job, and has been asked to leave his apartment. Quite a price to pay for indulging his racism and the clear sense of pleasure he seemed to be getting from threatening a young woman and her child.
Larkins has a message for Rhodes. “Be kinder. You don’t have to voice everything you’re thinking.” It is a sweet sentiment, but I doubt that will happen. He is proud of being a racist and sees no reason to hide it.