BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas firefighter resigned Friday after his arrest for an alleged assault on an Asian American man, officials said.
The resignation of Benjamin Snodgrass, 44, a Bentonville firefighter for 14 years, was effective immediately, according to a statement from the City of Bentonville.
“He expressed regret and an apology for any embarrassment to his family, fellow firefighters, friends and the City of Bentonville,” the city stated.
The resignation came after he was placed on administrative leave for being charged with misdemeanor battery and public intoxication.
He was arrested March 13 outside the Oaklawn casino in Hot Springs where he refused to take a breath test and was taken to Garland County jail. Snodgrass says he confronted an Asian American man “for not being American,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
The man said Snodgrass approached him outside the casino, asked if he knew he was in America and started pushing him. He said Snodgrass then struck him several times before he hit Snodgrass with a fist in self-defense.
Snodgrass was released on a $1,500 bond and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is scheduled for May 6 in Garland County District Court.
Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman said in a statement Thursday that a task force has been formed to guide the city’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
“The City of Bentonville does not condone or tolerate any form of discrimination or violence,” she said.
The incident comes at a time of increasing national attention to reports of violence against Asian Americans, particularly since the March 16 shootings where eight people, including six Asian women, were fatally shot at three massage businesses in the Atlanta area.