Jason Rickels, fire chief in Tarrant, Alabama, pictured in a mug shot, was arrested last week for pulling a gun on a black realtor and photographer for staging a photo shoot at his home in Georgia, which was listed for sale
A fire chief from Alabama has been arrested after pulling a gun on a black realtor and photographer who were staging a pre-arranged photo-shoot before showing buyers around his $925,000 home in Georgia.
Jason Rickels, a fire chief in Tarrant, Alabama, was selling his four bed, four bath home in Roswell, outside of Atlanta, and his wife had arranged for a viewing with their realtors and left the home.
Realtor Regina Lee, formerly of PalmerHouse Properties, and photographer, Dwayne Brodie, who are both black, said they had arranged the viewing with First Multiple Listing Service to take photographs at the house, for Lee’s portfolio.
She arrived in a black pant suit and high heels with Brodie and around six people, including a make-up artist.
But when Rickels’ wife Melody reportedly spotted multiple people in their house on their CCTV carrying equipment in bags, she rang the realtor to ask them to leave.
When they were still packing up ten minutes later she allegedly rang her husband to report them people burglarizing their home.
Rickels arrived at the address as they were leaving and allegedly pulled a 9mmm Ruger gun on the smartly dressed Lee and her photographer Brodie, who was wearing an outfit with his company’s logo on them, as they were getting into their cars, smashing Brodie’s camera to the ground.
He later claimed he thought the camera was a gun, but was arrested by police on suspicion of aggravated assault, criminal damage and possession of a firearm.
Rickels was captured in a cell phone video by photographer Dwayne Brodie after the incident, claiming that he ‘feared for his life’ because he believed Brodie’s camera to be a gun
Brodie showed his camera smashed on the ground, pictured, which he claimed had been smashed by Rickels
Realtor Regina Lee, of Palmer House Properties, pictured in a LinkedIn photo, said she prayed Rickels wouldn’t shoot her after he pulled a gun on her and photographer Dwayne Brodie for doing a pre-arranged photo shoot
Photographer Dwayne Brodie, pictured here in a photo from CBS46, had his camera smashed
Regina Lee later told CBS46: ‘It was scary, and I was praying like “please Lord don’t let him shoot any of us”. I feel he didn’t see anything but the color of our skin because even the photographers had their logos of their companies on them.’
She added that when she received the call from Rickels’ wife asking them to leave she thought: ‘…well this is scheduled but if the owner doesn’t want me in there then fine we’ll leave immediately. It was a confirmed appointment, it was definitely a confirmed appointment.’
In a video of the aftermath recorded by Brodie, he shows a shot of his smashed camera on the road before showing Rickels next to his car and can be heard behind the camera saying: ‘You see this the f***ing bullsh** I gotta deal with? Cr***** mother f***ers, I’m on the job.’
‘Why you gotta be racial about it?’ interrupted Rickels, who is in shot and leaning on his car window.
Rickels is selling his four bed, four bath home in Roswell, Georgia, pictured on Zillow, for $925,000 and his wife had arranged a buyer viewing with their realtors
The home is in the city of Roswell, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Around 165-miles from where Rickels is fire chief in Tarrant, Alabama
Brodie replied from behind the video: ‘Because you pulled a f***ing gun on me.’
Rickels said: ‘I thought you pulled a gun on me’.
Brodie then said: ‘You pulled a gun on me, jumped in my f***ing car and broke my f***ing camera.’
To which Rickels, who is now also filming the incident, said: ‘All I know is I walked up and you pulled something on me. I was in fear of my life, sir, it’s my house.’
‘I’m not even near your house I’m on the f***ing street, I’m not even in front of your house’, said Brodie.
Atlanta attorney Brian Steel, pictured, is representing Rickels and said it is a ‘baseless charge’
‘Why you gotta make it racial?’, said Rickels.
To which Brodie replied: ‘Suck my d*** mother f***er, f*** you, f*** you’.
Newly elected mayor of Tarrant, Wayman Newton, 40, the city’s first black mayor, said in a statement to Al.com: ‘The City of Tarrant is aware of the current situation surrounding Fire Chief Jason Rickles. The City is taking this very seriously and is looking into any violations of City policy. As per City policy, we will refrain from commenting on any personal issues of personnel in a public forum.’
Atlanta attorney Brian Steel, who is representing Rickels, told AL.com that it was a ‘baseless charge’.
‘The bottom line is we are going to fight this case ethically, lawfully and zealously until the end and Chief Rickels will be exonerated. He has done nothing wrong,’ he said.