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Asheville Man Arrested For 'Ethnic Intimidation' Of Walmart Employees

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Asheville Police
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43-year-old James Lawrence Owensby was arrested Friday by Asheville police

Asheville police arrested a man Friday whom they say twice threatened and intimidated employees of two different Walmart's in the city, one of which was caught on video which subsequently went viral.

43-year-old James Lawrence Owensby of Asheville was arrested Friday and faces one count of simple assault, and two counts of communicating a threat and ethnic intimidation.  Police say employees at two Walmart locations in south Asheville reported the incidents.  One happened on June 30th, which was caught on video.  The other happened on Thursday.  

Police say they are investigating whether each incident was racially motivated, which could lead to more charges.  Anyone who witnessed the incidents is encouraged to call police at 828-252-1110.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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