A Somerville man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly yelling racial slurs at a store clerk in Arlington, police said.
Andrew DeCarlo, 36, of Somerville was arraigned Wednesday in Cambridge District Court on a charge of assault to intimidate. He pleaded not guilty and was released without bail.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington police investigated a reported disturbance at a Verizon Wireless store on Massachusetts Avenue. The clerk told police DeCarlo had entered the store and asked him to fix his cellphone. When the clerk explained that he could only fix and repair Verizon phones, DeCarlo became angry, calling him two racial epithets and telling him to go back to his own country, police said.
The clerk told police he felt threatened and worried DeCarlo might attack him, but DeCarlo left the store shortly after.
A few minutes later, Arlington officers saw DeCarlo near a bus stop down the street and identified him as the suspect. DeCarlo acknowledged using the two slurs but denied telling him to go back to his own country, police said.
But later, he told officers the clerk should go back to his own country, declaring there was nothing wrong with saying so and noting that “Donald Trump is the president.”
DeCarlo also referred to himself, while gesturing to the officers as well, as “proud members of the Aryan Brotherhood.”
The officers asked DeCarlo to lower his voice so as to not offend others, but he continued to use racial slurs during his explanation, saying it was his constitutional right, police said.
When DeCarlo saw the clerk leaving the store, he continued to call him several racial slurs, police said. He was then placed under arrest.
“The hard-working men and women of Arlington deserve to earn a living free of harassment and hatred,” Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan said. “Nothing gives an individual the right to put another person in fear for their safety, and I am very proud of the professionalism of our officers to find this individual. I would also point out the resiliency and bravery of the store employee in this case to report this incident for what it was: a hate crime.”
At the courthouse, DeCarlo’s attorney, Anthony Gargano, said his client is bipolar and “he regrets what he did.”
Judge Dominic Paratore ordered DeCarlo to stay away from the store and the victim. After the proceedings, he was taken into custody for violating his probation on a previous charge.Jerome Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeromercampbell.