Benjamin Snodgrass, 44, of Bentonville, Benton County, Arkansas, United States was recently arrested. He was charged with public intoxication and third-degree battery.
At around 9:30 p.m. on March 13, 2021, Snodgrass was at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas. That night, he allegedly attacked an Asian man named Liem Nguyen outside the resort.
Nguyen said he was waiting for his Uber outside the casino when Snodgrass attacked him. The Asian man told KARK, “He comes walking back at me, telling me he’s going to kill me and my kind of people and put a hold on me and that’s when I defend myself.”
According to police report, Snodgrass approached Nguyen and asked him if the Asian man knew he was in America. The former allegedly pushed the latter and they both fell to the ground.
In self-defense, Nguyen punched Snodgrass, who also punched back, according to the report. The former called the Hot Springs Police Department.
When officers arrived at the scene, Snodgrass could not speak clearly. He smelled of intoxicants and had redness on his knuckles and blood on his lips and left ear.
“I’m hammered,” Snodgrass reportedly told the police. “I don’t know, man. They are pumping gasses into this place and something is not right.”
Snodgrass claimed that he did confront Nguyen about not being American but nothing else happened after that. The former was booked in the Garland County jail in Hot Springs and was released on $1,500 bond on March 14, 2021.
Since March 2008, Snodgrass has been employed by the Bentonville Fire Department. An engineer and a paramedic, he was promoted to the rank of fire captain in July 2019.
After the encounter with Nguyen, Snodgrass was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. The fire captain has entered a not guilty plea for all charges and is expected to attend a hearing at the Garland County courtroom in Hot Springs at 8:30 a.m. on May 6, 2021.
On March 19, 2021, Nguyen filed a no-contact order, which was granted by a Garland County Judge. His lawyer Julie Roper told KATV that the alleged attack “occurred solely because of his nationality and a climate of hate by some in this country right now toward Asian-Americans.”
Bentonville mayor Stephanie Orman has condemned the alleged attack. She told 4029 News that the city neither condones nor tolerates any form of discrimination or violence and the effort to make the city “an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all” will continue.