A man, who harassed his West Indian neighbors 30 different times has been sentenced to almost a decade in prison for violating the civil rights of minorities in his community and possession of multiple firearms.
Law enforcement also discovered the Massachusetts native affiliated himself with Nazi and Ku Klux Klan doctrine and had a lot of Confederate items in his home.
On February 3, 2023, according to a news release obtained by Atlanta Black Star, Robert Ivarson pled guilty to multiple firearm crimes and a hate crime against the Haitian people in his community. Ivarson, who lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, was accused and convicted of throwing banana peels on his Black Haitian neighbors’ driveway.
The throwing of bananas act is a form of racial harassment rooted in years of stereotypes and bigoted jokes that refer to Black people as monkeys or apes.
Even the president of the United States endured this longstanding form of racial harassment. During President Barack Obama’s administration, former first lady Michelle Obama was called an ape and referred to as a monkey because of her dark skin, African features, and muscular physique.
Superior Court Justice Laurence Pierce sentenced Ivarson to 7 to 9 years in state prison, followed by 3 years of probation. While on probation, he is mandated to have no contact with the victims and their family members. He is also prohibited from owning and/or possessing firearms, dangerous weapons, ammunition, or magazines.
Lastly, the defendant will be required to undergo a mental health evaluation and any other recommended treatment.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said it was the racially motivated hate crime against his neighbor that tipped the government to Ivarson’s arsenal of weapons.
Ryan said, “Ivarson targeted his neighbors because of their race. His repeated throwing of banana peels into their driveway was terrorizing and caused them to feel unsafe in their own home.”
Lexington Police arrested Ivarson on Dec. 31, 2016.
Lexington Police Chief Michael McLean and Ryan charged the man with criminal harassment and civil rights violation once they verified the family’s reports that on 30 to 40 different occasions over several months, Ivarson threw the peels on their property.
Days before his arrest, officers observed Ivarson in the act.
Lexington Police, along with several other government agencies including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recovered “approximately 56 pistols and rifles as well as tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, numerous magazines, including large capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”
Law enforcement also found “Confederate, Ku Klux Klan, and Nazi paraphernalia and photographs” in his home.
Ten months later, in October of that same year, a second warrant was executed, and during the return to Ivarson’s home, they “seized approximately 17 additional weapons, including 10 assault weapons, including AR-15 style rifles with large capacity magazines, an Uzi, and other weapons,” all problematic because the suspected white supremacist was restricted from possessing weapons, specifically firearms, since the 1990s after being convicted of earlier gun crimes.
Those convictions caused his firearms license to be revoked.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to numerous weapons charges. He also admitted to targeting a Haitian family in his neighborhood because of their race and nationality.
“This case reflects our unwavering commitment to actively prosecuting those who intend to intimidate and threaten members of our communities because of their race,” Ryan continued.
“When someone who commits civil rights violations, at the same time, illegally possesses high capacity firearms, they pose a substantial threat to the safety of the community,” Ryan declared. “As we continue our work to remove unlawfully possessed firearms from our streets we will aggressively use enforcement as a tool to hold those who violate the Commonwealth’s gun laws accountable.”
Ivarson’s neo-Nazi connection reflects an uptick in this color of domestic terrorism in the nation. Recently, a Maryland woman and Florida man connected to a neo-Nazi group were arrested on federal charges of conspiracy to launch an attack on several Baltimore power substations to cause chaos.
According to the DOJ, the two were to hit a certain amount on the same day, with the hopes to “completely destroy this whole city.”
The FBI thwarted the alleged conspiracy.