Bank of America Corp. ousted a financial advisor after police arrested a racial slur at a smoothie shop in Connecticut, which was caught on video and viewed millions of times on social media over the weekend.
According to a statement from the Fairfield Police Department, the incident began on Saturday at a Robex outlet when James Innazo ordered a drink without peanut butter for his son, who is allergic to peanuts. Police said he left the shop, but sent his son to the hospital after an allergic reaction, after which he returned to confront the staff.
A video shot from behind a counter shows a man shouting and abusing, and throwing a drink at an employee. “I want to speak to the person who made this drink,” the man can be heard saying in copies of videos on TikTok and Twitter that were widely cited in media reports. “You idiot f— idiot,” he said, later adding, “You f—ing immigrant loser.”
A lawyer for Innazo said his client “fully regrets the incident” and is not a racist. As of Sunday, Bank of America said Innazzo, 48, was no longer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, where regulatory records show he has worked since at least the mid-1990s.
“Our company does not tolerate such behavior,” company spokesman William Holdin said in a statement. “We immediately investigated and took action. This person is no longer employed in our firm.”
Innazo’s lawyer, Frank J. Riccio wrote: Twitter That his client had “insisted to employees that the product must not contain peanuts,” and that his receipt shows that it must not contain peanut butter. Riccio said the son had a “severe allergic reaction” and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
“When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr. Innazo’s parental instincts acted and he acted out of anger and fear,” the lawyer wrote. “He is not a racist person and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress.”
Riccio declined to comment on his client’s departure from Merrill.
According to the police report, Innazzo asked that the drink be made without peanut butter, but never told the shop staff about his son’s allergies. According to police, the staff repeatedly asked Innazo to leave, but he stayed and kept shouting insults. He also tried to open a locked door only in the employees’ area. He left before the officers arrived and later made himself inside.
According to the police, he was charged with intimidation, trespassing and breach of the peace on grounds of bigotry or prejudice. A small appearance was scheduled for February. 7.