A white Lexington, Massachusetts, man has been arrested and charged with terrorizing the only Black family in his neighborhood.
Robert Ivarson, 49, was caught three times on surveillance cameras put up by police discarding banana peels on the family’s driveway prior to being arrested Dec. 30. He also allegedly placed nails underneath the tires to flatten them during the 18 months the family says he harassed them, according to CBS Boston.
Ivarson hid from cameras during his first court appearance Jan. 3 as the Black family’s matriarch, Tago Celestin, recounted the events of his racially charged attacks. Celestin said that for the past year and a half, Ivarson has tossed an estimated 40 banana peels on her property.
Though Ivarson’s attorney stated that the man never had any physical contact with his neighbors, Celestin’s family still is afraid that he could become increasingly more hateful.
“In this incident, the defendant took the overt act of throwing a banana peel, a symbol, a racially loaded symbol, at the property of his victims,” prosecutor Nils Lundblad says. “Not once, not twice, but three times, in view of police officers who were there in person but also had cameras.”
Ivarson was charged with three counts of civil rights violations, criminal harassment and outstanding arrest warrants.
A Concord District Court judge set Ivarson’s bail at $10,000. The judge also ordered the man to remain under house arrest and not to engage with his neighbors. Ironically, Ivarson’s family told police that they may not post bail because he has a history of domestic battery and gun charges and they are afraid of him, too.