Raymond James has fired an employee after he and his wife were videotaped complaining and then calling police over a Black Lives Matter sign in San Francisco.
Robert Larkins, formerly a managing director of public finance, and his wife Lisa Alexander, CEO of LaFace Skincare, had the confrontation last week.
It was recorded by James Juanillo, who owns the home where the chalk statement was drawn, and posted via Twitter on Thursday.
“A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stenciling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here,” Juanillo said in a tweet.
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP
— Jaimetoons (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
Early Monday, Raymond James said it “has zero tolerance for racism and discrimination of any kind.”
“After an investigation into the circumstances of a video alleging racism by one of our associates, we have concluded that the actions of he and his partner were inconsistent with our values, and the associate is no longer employed by Raymond James,” it explained on Twitter.
Larkins has been in financial services for 28 years, starting out at Citicorp. He was with Raymond James since 2012.
This development came about three weeks after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police. His death on May 25 sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. and worldwide.
Also in late May, an employee of asset manager Franklin Templeton set off a firestorm on social media when she called the police on Christian Cooper, a black bird-watcher, while the two were in New York’s Central Park. The woman, Amy Cooper, was fired.
Alexander “decided to call men with guns because of chalk art,” Juanillo told local TV station KPIX.
The San Francisco resident, who is Filipino, has lived in his home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood for 18 years and runs a dog-walking business, according to the news report.
In the video, Alexander asked him, “Is this your property? Hi. I am asking you if this is your property.”
“Why are you asking?” Juanillo said.
“Because it’s private property,” Larkins stated. “So, are you defacing private property or is this your building? You’re free to express your opinions but not on people’s property.”
Alexander then says she knows the person who lives there and believes Juanillo may be committing a crime.
“I suggest you call them, call the police,” Juanillo said later in the conversation. “And that, people, is why black lives matter.”
According to Juanillo, the police officers who came by did not get out of their patrol car. “This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced fear or even loathing that just kind of creeps out,” he said.
Alexander issued a statement on Monday in which she said: “I want to apologize directly to Mr. Juanillo. There are not enough words to describe how truly sorry I am for being disrespectful to him last Tuesday when I made the decision to question him about what he was doing in front of his home.”
“I should have minded my own business. The last 48 hours has taught me that my actions were those of someone who is not aware of the damage caused by being ignorant and naive to racial inequalities,” she said.
“When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did,” she continued. “It was disrespectful to Mr. Juanillo and I am deeply sorry for that. I did not realize at the time that my actions were racist and have learned a painful lesson. I am taking a hard look at the meaning behind white privilege and am committed to growing from this experience.”
— Check out A Goldman Executive Has Advice for His White Colleagues on ThinkAdvisor.