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Police look for hate crime suspect who assaulted man on a bicycle

Posted by on December 3rd, 2010 at 9:38 am

The Portland Police Bureau are offering a $1,000 reward for help in solving a brutal assault and possible hate crime that occurred in Southeast over a month ago. Both the suspect and the man who was assaulted were on bicycles, according to police and media reports.

The PPB released a statement yesterday saying the assault happened just after midnight on November 1st near the footbridge overpass located at SE 16th and Brooklyn Street. According to KPTV, the man — who was severely beaten and spent weeks in the hospital recovering — says he was likely targeted in part because he was riding a “purple bicycle with Tinkerbell and Christmas lights on it”.

Police say the suspect and a man accompanying him were also on bicycles. A sketch has been released of the possible suspect (see above) and he’s described as a white male in his early to late 20s standing about 6’1″ with a muscular build. He had short blonde hair, a light beard, and a light complexion with a face full of freckles.

If you have any information about this crime, please call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-HELP (4357), leave a tip online or text 823HELP plus your tip and send it to CRIMES (274697).

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  • mello yello December 3, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Alright bicycle (and possibly LGBT) community. Print and plaster this guy’s pick all over SE. Then go back and take it down after they find the guy because his mug awfully menacing.

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  • DDDeebo December 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Whats a “hate” crime? Is that when you happen to be thinking mean things about people while doing something already illegal?

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    • Anne Hawley December 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

      As I understand it, a hate crime is a crime committed against someone who, if they hadn’t looked like they belonged to a category of people who often get abused because of their differences, wouldn’t have been the victim of any crime at all.

      In my view, civilization is more civilized for recognizing an additional degree of heinousness in such cases.

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    • Rebecca December 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

      DDDeebo,

      A hate crime is when a victim is targeted based on their membership (or perceived membership) in a particular ethnic, social, or other group. They’re prosecuted differently from regular crimes because they are effectively an attack on the entire group via a single individual. If the victim was targeted because of his perceived homosexuality then it is an attempt to terrorize the entire gay community.

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    • Spiffy December 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

      it’s an illegal thought crime… persecution based on your thoughts and beliefs rather than the actual crime committed…

      so be careful what you’re thinking while committing crimes…

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      • Bob R. December 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

        That’s garbage… The laws and the courts take motive into account for a variety of crimes. It’s why we have different degrees of homicide laws, Murder I, Murder II, Manslaughter, Negligent Manslaughter, etc.

        It is perfectly reasonable to take into account the circumstances, motivations, and intended targets of a crime.

        Hate Crime laws are NOT “thought crime” laws. Give the tired right-wing trope a rest.

        (I note with interest that these sort of objections to hate crime laws mostly come up when the victim being discussed is gay.)

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        • PdxPhoenix December 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm

          You mean _perceived_ as being gay.

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  • Larry December 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Perhaps it was Schwinn hate? I saw this idiotic descriptor “hate crime” last night on the television news.

    Find the man who did this an punish him as severely as the law allows. But, get rid of all thought crimes. I lived a block off of Columbia Villa for several years and if I had a fiver for every time I was challenged on the street because I’m white..why, I’d have 15 dollars and three hate crime offenders.

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    • esther c December 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      Larry, did anyone ever do anything criminal to you. Threaten or intimidate you? If so, it may have been criminal behavior. But no one can prosecute anything if you don’ t report it. But often mere speech isn’t a hate crime. We do have freedom of speech in this country, even freedom of ugly hate speech. There needs to be actual criminal behavior.

      The determining factor isn’t what was said during the attack. The problem is the motivation for the attack and that was determined by what was said during the attack. Just like other levels of crime are determined by motivation.

      If hate crimes were committed againt you, it doesn’t follow that because you didn’t report hate crimes committed against you, that hate crimes against other people shouldn’t be prosecuted.

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  • Spiffy December 3, 2010 at 11:30 am

    wow, attempted murder for riding an awesome girl’s bike?! those people have some serious issues and need to be purged from society…

    I think everybody able to defend themselves needs to get their spare girl’s bike out and adorn it with glitter and lights and ride around Powell and 17th as much as possible…

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  • Alicia Crain December 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    It’s important to point out that the perpetrators used anti-gay expletives during this assault, which makes it a hate crime.

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  • chelsea December 3, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I completely agree with Bob R.

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  • S brockway December 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Bob R. and Rebecca explain it quite simply and to the point .Bravo.

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  • Slammy December 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    right next to the underpass where transients on bikes spend a majority of their day. maybe ask them?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I have had some complaints about offensive comments and have deleted a few already. Please realize this is a sensitive topic and therefore my threshold for moderation is much lower than other posts. Thanks for being thoughtful and considerate of me and the BikePortland community.

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  • Skid December 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Calling him derogatory terms for homosexual is what makes this a hate crime. I find it absolutely disgusting and I can’t believe there is still gay-bashing going on especially in a so-called progressive city. Maybe Bash Back needs to be revived.

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    • El Biciclero December 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      Calling him derogatory terms for homosexual is what makes this a hate crime.

      I don’t think so. I’ve been called derogatory terms for homosexuals because I’ve been on a bike wearing spandex. If I got beat up while being called such terms, but then it turned out I wasn’t really gay, it would not be a hate crime. IANAL, but I would bet that the victim actually claiming membership in a minority group is a qualification for crimes like this to rise to the level of “hate crime”. If my speculation is correct, then there is no way that “hate crimes” could be classified as “thought crimes”, because thinking the victim was gay does not make this a hate crime; the victim actually has to be gay.

      I don’t like “hate crime” classifications because IMO, they reinforce divisions between different groups and can foster resentment. What we should have is a blanket “for no good reason” classification of crimes. If no motive other than “I didn’t like the looks of him” can be determined, then that should be the trigger for a higher level of offense–regardless of with what minority group the victim may identify.

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      • Keith D. December 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

        Actually, regardless of whether the person was gay or not is irrelevant to intent & the perpetrator would still be charged with a hate crime. And for good reason – do you really want a court room situation in which the person’s homosexuality is questioned?

        When, however, victims do chance to get mistaken as gay and become victims of anti-gay hate crimes, the media often gives them greater significance than gay victims. Which is annoying as that comes from a perception that the victim is ‘more innocent’ – but perhaps in the end even that helps end the concept of targeting specific groups of people in the end for violence.

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        • El Biciclero December 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm

          And for good reason – do you really want a court room situation in which the person’s homosexuality is questioned?

          A very good point. I would not want to have to prove I was or wasn’t gay during a trial of my attacker. On the other hand, would a perpetrator ever be able to claim they were using anti-homosexual terms “generically”? I know some of those terms were tossed around when I was in high school, with no real intent to intimidate an entire group; it was just a sign of immaturity. Would prosecution have to prove that the use of such epithets had a particular intent?

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  • Red December 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Law enforcement, the courts and the culture we live in is biased against certain groups of people. How many times have I heard “homosexual panic” used as an acceptable defense, or something like ‘if he hadn’t been a homo, I wouldn’t smashed his face in.’

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  • dmc December 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    So, I feel that I am a formidable opponent for a single male (without weapons). Two or more guys…. then I just run as fast as I can.

    Do any of you carry self protection during late night bike rides? If so, what?

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  • Keith D. December 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Let’s please user our twitter accounts to get this guy’s picture to everyone we know – use hashtag #pdxbashing – if we can find a stolen bike by twitter we can find a suspect!

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  • Joe Rowe December 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Let’s say you witness a man being punched while the assailant yells things like “faggot” and “mexican”. That would be a hate crime. It becomes a police problem when the cops show up and refuse to do anything because the victim has fled. Myself and several neighbors saw the beating. Days later I noticed the assailant lived a block away. The cops would do nothing. To make it worse, one of my close neighbors called it “street justice”. Sadly, Portland is a lot like Indiana and Arizona.

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  • CaptainKarma December 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    His freckles will be his downfall.

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  • mello yello December 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    This guy is a sadistic killer. The victim was probably continually beaten well after he was knocked unconscious. A part of his colon was removed, if that tells what the suspect did to him. I’m surprised they haven’t already identified him in police mugshots — he must have an extensive criminal history. He could possibly be part of a hate group with his short style of hair. He’d be good backup against a menacing driver trying to mow down cyclists.

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  • sepdxguy December 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I live one block from where this incident happened. I have distributed 70 flyers throughout the S.E. part of town. Thank you Bike Portland for posting this. $1000 can buy a lot of meth- someone is bound to spill beans on this POS.

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  • Bob R. December 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Depending on the circumstances, quite possibly, yes.

    Whether something classifies as a “hate crime” has less to do with the suspected classification of the victim and more to do with the intent and actions of the perpetrator: Was the perpetrator, through his actions and expressions, attempting to intimidate an entire class of people, beyond an “ordinary” crime?

    As I stated before, we draw multiple distinctions of intent when it comes to murder and other crimes, including the lesser crimes of manslaughter or negligent homicide. In all those cases, the victim is dead, but how society views the crime differs significantly based on the intent and actions of the perpetrator.

    Look at it another way: If a white guy, seeing a criminal opportunity, mugs a black guy because he thinks the black guy has a lot of cash on him and says “give me your cash” and then beats up the black guy in the commission of the crime, that’s sad and heinous but not a hate crime. On the other hand, if the perpetrator makes statements along the lines of “you and your kind should stay out of this neighborhood” (I’m softening this quite a bit to avoid racial epithets in the comment), that is racial intimidation on another level beyond just a robbery, and yes, that classifies as a hate crime. And it should.

    I note again for the record that I seem to find that this kind of intense questioning (and sometimes mischaracterizations) of what “hate crimes” laws actually are seems to mostly come up in the context of discussing crimes against gay people.

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    • El Biciclero December 6, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      I note again for the record that I seem to find that this kind of intense questioning (and sometimes mischaracterizations) of what “hate crimes” laws actually are seems to mostly come up in the context of discussing crimes against gay people.

      I believe that is because you can’t “tell by looking” whether you are committing a crime against an actual gay person. I responded to a commenter above that if I am beaten up because I am standing around with my bike, waiting for a MAX train, and I happen to be wearing spandex, and the perpetrator takes that to mean I am gay, and calls me “faggot” while pounding the crap out of me, but I am not actually gay, is it still a hate crime? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect that it would not be. With racially-motivated hate crimes, it is not as difficult to tell whether a victim really is a member of the target race.

      Also, if a black guy targets a white guy for mugging because he looks rich and lost, and tells him in the process that “you rich whiteys ought to know better then to come around here”, is that a hate crime?

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      • El Biciclero December 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

        Responding to myself to pre-emptively apologize for using an actual derogatory term for illustrative purposes. Jonathan, feel free to delete the “f” word from my post.

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      • El Biciclero December 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        Sorry, replying to myself again. Keith D.
        makes an observation above that makes me start to think that actual membership in a minority group is NOT a strict prerequisite for classification as a hate crime. Again, I have no nuanced legal knowledge about these things and feel like I should shut up before I unintentionally offend someone with my curiosity. Again, for the record, I do not like “hate crime” classifications. I wish we had something like a “class intimidation crime” that applied to whatever classes an offender could think of to use.

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      • rigormrtis December 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        Bici,

        if you value equality and understand that it means applying standards of behavior equally, then yes the black guy should be charged.

        However, it’s been my experience that most liberals would argue that because the black guy has assumedly been a victim of discrimination that they are somehow justified in their actions or incapable of discrimination.

        oddly enough, I think most conservatives would be the more equitable in this situation, though their views would undoubtedly be disparaged as being racist.

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      • Cascadiance December 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        It is not whether the person being attacked is really gay or not that makes it a hate crime. It is the motivation of the attacker who if they communicate that they are doing such out of hate for a group of people (even if they get it wrong), they are committing a hate crime, and deserve punishment for such.

        Another example of this would be many Indians who were attacked (and probably called “ragheads”) after 9/11 by people mistakenly interpreting their dress as that of being a Muslim, even if they actually were of Hindu faith. That did happen a number of times, and because the victim wasn’t a Muslim as the attacker thought him/her to be when they attacked him, if they clearly indicated they were attacking him out of hate for Muslims, they wouldn’t get off just because the victim wasn’t really Muslim.

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  • wsbob December 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Simply said, a hate crime is:

    “A crime motivated by racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, or other prejudice.”

    That’s from a website page ‘legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com’. I tried and failed to correctly post a link for that page the other day. I suppose that caused it to fall into ‘comment moderation. From there, for some unexplained reason, it was deleted.

    There’s more on that page and elsewhere online about hate crime. Many people probably recognize the name Matthew Sheppard. He was subjected to hate crime, and is referred to at the aforementioned site.

    But what about all those people gathered together at Pioneer Square to celebrate being together in peace and lighting the …well, you know…the conifer with all the pretty decorations on it? What the Somali kid was intent upon doing to them certainly seems to have been a hate crime. too. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed, so concluding exactly what he has done is yet to be determined.

    Prejudice is the defining element, committing a crime against someone or something for no other reason than the perpetrator doesn’t like them or it.

    Oregonion online’s story had a few comments remarking that the location where this crime occurred is a particularly dangerous place to be alone at midnight. The claim in those comments was that convicted felons have been lurking around, squatting, preying on vulnerable people.

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  • Bob R. December 6, 2010 at 6:07 am

    FYI, my comments from Dec 5th at 12:15pm and 2:26pm look a bit odd right now because the original comments to which I was replying are no longer present.

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  • esther c December 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    People who cannot understand that the hate crimes legislation is not making the speech illegal. It is the motivation for the crimes that the speech makes obvious.

    This is America and we still have freedom of speech even if Fox News wants to make it illegal to say happy holidays.

    We can still say mean things about gay people if we are ignorant enough to do so.

    The problem is if you say mean things about gay people while beating someone up then it will be pretty damned clear that the reason you are beating them up is because they are gay or because you think they are. This is an act of intimidation against an entire class of people.

    Also, motivation is a factor that is taken into consideration when prosecuting crimes. Look into the criminal codes if you do not understand this simple fact. If you commit your crime because you are motivated by hatred of a class of people that is an aggravating factor. Thus the additional charges.

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  • esther c December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    And if you can parse my first sentence in that last post to make it make sense you will get extra credit.

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  • DDDeebo December 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    “if you value equality and understand that it means applying standards of behavior equally”.
    Which is why “hate crimes” are fundamentally flawed practice. Convicting individuals for well established crimes such as murder, assault, etc, is strait-forward. The implementation of hate crimes is vague at best considering that if someone beats a gay/black/Hindu/juggler to death without ever saying a thing about how much he doesn’t like juggling then I guess its not a hate crime. Even if he does happen to say something mean, are you really going to deduce the full context and intricacies of his inner monologue from that? (Camus’ The Stranger, anyone, anyone?) If you, as a victim, happen to not fit into the court’s pre-established special groups then you’re out of luck (Sorry high school freshman, you’re gonna get it). People here seem to have an idea that every single person who commits an illegal act against one of these groups is by default going to own no less than 3 Nazi flags and have a swastika cut into their forehead. Something we should consider is what effect these laws have. Are they meant to prevent these crimes from happening by scaring away the potential perp with higher penalties? I doubt our illiterate Nazi friend is going to stop in mid kick and think to himself “ya know, I’ll go to jail for 5 more years if I do this and say ‘ginger’ so I better stop”. Therefore the laws are simply vindictive and meant to inflict a harsh retribution. Fine if you’re into the whole Old testament kind of thing and you just want to push the problem away somewhere that you don’t have to see it without actually doing something about it. Finally, the whole “punishing the one for the sake of the many” argument is bogus as our Nazi buddy has no clue about any of this high-fallutin philosophizin. He just doesn’t like guys with tight jeans is all, be they gay or just hanging outside of Branx.
    In summary: the existing crimes that have existed for hundreds of years seem to work just fine. If you assault someone you should get charged for, I don’t know, assault. “Hate” crimes will, by their nature, be arbitrarilly applied and do little to nothing to make anyone actually safer. These groups may feel some sense of recognition, kind of like seeing your name in the paper, but real development comes through creating supportive communities, inside and out of these specialty groups.
    The End

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  • DDDeebo December 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    BTW, anyone notice that the posts are completely out of sequence. Spooooky.

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  • Bob R. December 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Who is this “we” to which you refer? Seems to me like BikePortland is a pretty diverse group.

    Personally, I don’t think Mello Yello’s plan is workable… the perpetrator would be insanely stupid to commit the same crime again after his mug has been so widely publicized. But then again, some criminals just are plain stupid.

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  • wsbob December 5, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Responding with the intent to stop the occurrence of incidents like this one, by any but legal means is dangerous ground. Specifically, efforts of a vigilante nature could be big trouble. Best chance might be that somebody talks.

    I imagine it gets down to whose number the police have, of somebody that does this type of crime. They might not be the actual perp, but with a little pressure applied to one of them possibly in a sticky situation … .

    Hey…it’s weird how the comments are appearing out of time sequence even though they’re not in ‘reply’ format.

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