A man pepper-sprayed a family in northeast Portland on Tuesday night and he remains at-large.
According to police, the suspect was riding a bicycle and the family was in and around their car at the time of the incident.
The case is being investigated as a bias crime because the victims – some of which were children – are black and the suspect is described as white or Hispanic. The suspect also allegedly made a racial slur during the incident.
Please read the police statement below and contact them with any information.
On Tuesday September 13, 2016, at 9:16 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to a residence in the 5500 block of Northeast 9th Avenue on the report that several children were pepper sprayed by an unknown male riding a bicycle.
Officers and medical personnel arrived and treated the three male victims, ages 12, 11 and 7, for exposure to pepper spray. None of the victims required transport by ambulance to a hospital and were treated at the scene by medical personnel.
Police spoke with 62-year-old Patricia Garner and her daughter 32-year-old Foia Frazer, the grandmother and mother of the three victims.
Garner and Frazier told officers that they were getting the kids into the car as a man on a bicycle rode by southbound on 9th Avenue. The suspect turned around northbound, riding back by the car and sprayed the kids with pepper spray. Garner reported to police that the man yelled a racial epithet at them as he pepper sprayed the kids then rode away. The three victims, as well as Garner and Frazier, are African American.
The victims described the suspect as a white or Hispanic male in his mid-20s, 5’9″ tall, 160 pounds, wearing black spandex-style bicycle clothing and a grey and black helmet. The suspect was riding a road-style bicycle (not a mountain bike), with a white box on the back of the bicycle.
Officers searched the neighborhood but did not locate anyone matching the suspect’s description. Frazier found the white box in the neighborhood and turned it over to police. The box contained various tools but no identifying information.
Due to the nature of the report, a detective assigned to investigate Bias Crimes is conducting the investigation.
Anyone with information about this incident or the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Detective Jeff Sharp at 503-823-9773, email@example.com
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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People in full bike kit make me feel a bit uncomfortable sometimes. They seem pretty “Full on”. Maybe my own bias at work here, but people in clothes are more mellow.
I think you are being a bit clothesist with that comment.
I’m a raging clothesist as it turns out. Another good maxim, don’t trust people in pinstripe suits. Seersucker could go either way.
This is why I don’t wear clothes.
Why hello there!
Not sure what “full on” and “mellow” have to do with being a racist and criminal. Interesting observation.
But I wanted to comment to remark on my own bias. I definitely did not expect the person that allegedly committed this wretched crime to have been on a road bike in spandex. This is a serious and brazen crime, not one you usually get from the seemingly white collar type of person, racist or otherwise.
First of all, bike kit *is* clothing. Second, what the F-ing F does this even mean. Third of all, when I’m being a FULL ON SPORTS PERSON in my kit, I’m too busy to be racist because my eyes are glued to my Strava.
The comments on sporting attitude and spandex are totally racist; many here simply hate people who race.
I was about to say the opposite – folks is commuter gear make me uncomfortable. After I ride home from Beaverton I find myself getting attitude from the Cat6 commuter crown on Williams, I’m just cruising home in KIT because riding over the hill in jeans is awkward and leads to sores where you don’t want them… I get to Williams and EVERYBODY with a bucket and safety green jacket is going full gas to get past me. MEH, I chuckle. I’m on my own trip.
Thanks for posting this, Jonathan! I really hope someone in our community recognizes the description of this person and comes forward. maybe they will recognize the fact that the biker carried pepper spray, the helmet, or that they have a white box of tools. Or maybe the suspect will even tell someone what they did and that person will come forward. I’m holding out hope. This kind of bias crime is completely unacceptable and horrifying.
It’s really scary how racists are becoming more open and brazen with their racism, thanks to a specific presidential candidate. A harsh reminder that racism in Portland has not gone away. Hope the family is doing okay.
The disgusting murder of Larnell Bruce was a harsh reminder (granted not quite in Portland). Scary indeed.
but in that instance they were arguing before, so we have a backstory on why the assault happened…
with this story the only known trigger we have is that the victims existed…
I agree with you here… Clinton really has energized the racists.
This crime is so horrifying, infuriating and happened right in my neighborhood. I heard about it yesterday and many in my neighborhood on are on notice and weary. I couldn’t help but notice as I rode my black, road-style bicycle home last night through my hood that I noticed some weary looks when i rode by from some of my neighbors of color.
Maybe I was projecting that as I was aware I was riding a bike of similar description, but it just broke my heart that I might be making neighbors fearful. I hope they catch this psychopath soon.
They may indeed be weary, but I think you meant “wary”.
Yes, thanks, Jonathan. I think this is very relevant to the bike blog since it’s important that we are aware that a bike is just a tool, not a community emblem and some kind of guarantor of moral high ground. Racist jerks can ride bikes, too. Let’s find this jerk!
***This comment has been deleted by Jonathan Maus***
You had two children shoot out your car window? Yikes!
Well, we can’t call it a “hate crime”, otherwise the racists might get upset!
two of who? criminals? like the guy who pepper sprayed the innocent family? i dont think that is what you meant. please keep your hateful comments and attitude to yourself, and please do not act on it! this reductionist thinking is very scary and dangerous.
I didn’t get the sense there was anything hateful in his comments. It sounds like he had some crime perpetrated on his property by some people of color and he is frustrated. He may feel he was the victim of a bias crime as a result.
But throwing around the term “hateful” to squelch his statement is weak sauce and denying him his own voice. The kind of shouting down that you are doing is ironic.
Shocking. I feel like there is more to the story or this guy is schizophrenic.
This just seems crazy. This guy was a fully kitted out Fred and was carrying bear spray? And he attacked them without provocation?
Yes, does not seem to add up. Carrying a white box on the back of a Fredmobile? Does that mean it had a rack? The bear spray is odd too, and then you don’t get many flaming racists in the road biking community, or at least that’s what I’d always thought.
The bike was described by the victims. I’m inclined to believe that they may not have the same experience with bikes that the rest of us do so what they might view as a road or race bike is very different than what you and I do.
To an older woman, anything with skinny tires might be considered a race bike that “Lance Armstrong” types right.
A rack on a skinny tired bike is still going to be a race bike because they might not be able to distinguish what a commuter is.
I guarantee you my 83 year old mom couldn’t tell the difference between a cross bike and a road bike.
Could be one of those city bike buckets, they use kitty litter plastic buckets.
Whether the guy is a garden variety racist, mentally ill, and/or on drugs, maintaining public safety requires preventing individuals like him from attacking innocent people.
If we had anything more to go on regarding the bike (color — or color of any part, does it have a rack — how was the box attached — any details at all) clothing (even general stuff like presence of gloves or glasses, the guy himself (hair, tats, whatever), it would be easier to help.
This guy probably lives really close by. Attaching a white box to a road bike is seriously weird (how big, what type) as is carrying large canisters of pepper spray in an urban area. Someone who sees this story in the news knows who it is. Likewise, odds seem overwhelming that someone who reads this blog can recognize him.
This is terrible. Jonathan, will you provide an update if you hear anything about the kids? Here’s to fast healing for them.
Kittens and Chris, it sounds like you are doubting the victims’ story here. I’d suggest there aren’t many good reasons for bear spraying young children, no matter their skin color.
Also, I’d like to suggest that the comment from Rain Waters be moderated. “2 of them” is hateful, stereotyping language.
Curiously, my post suggesting more details about the bike, guy, clothing, etc would be helpful got moderated.
A white box on a road bike is very distinctive. Someone who sees the news report will know who it is. It is very likely that someone who reads this blog will recognize the guy.
Thanks for flagging a comment. I’ll take a look.
What’s this white box of tools? It doesn’t fit with the spandex roadie description. Where/how was the box attached? (How/why did it come off?) And what make/model of bike? It’s almost like looking for a man who was driving a black car (sedan, coupe, or convertible — not a subaru station wagon) and was wearing a hat.
so this guy only targeted the kids? what did they do while mom and grandma weren’t looking? did they run across the street into the path of the cyclist? were they saying he looked funny in spandex? those kids did something to make this guy turn around… they obviously didn’t do anything harmful or the guy would have called the police, so I’m guessing he was on edge from something else and took it out on these easy targets…
I could hypothesize all day, but there’s no way I see this being an appropriate response…
hoping there’s some more information forthcoming on this…
It would help to know if the box of tools fell off ( found in road or bikepath) or was purposely dumped ( stashed in bushes). Were the tools in the box ones that would be used to work on a bike? Or were they for a different purpose ( breaking in to cars etc.) If you think about it a “Fred” outfit and helmet would be a handy cover for criminal activity. Soon as you are finished, stash the outfit and put on your street clothes and blend back in.
Like one of the evil real-estate moguls in an episode of Scooby-Doo (but crossing the line from scaring to assault/terrorizing.) It almost sounds like someone dressing-up in an attempt to turn neighbors against cyclists and it seems unlikely that anyone would see this man riding a bike on any day before or after.
To the folks asking for more description, I imagine the police gave all the details the victims had. They were dealing with three children who had just been peppersprayed, so I’m surprised they got as much description as they did, given that they were probably in shock and traumatized.
Yes, exactly! And let’s not be too literal in our understanding of the bike and clothing, given that the description was shared by folks who are likely not avid cyclists. Road bike here could mean city or town bike. And the clothes could be black commuter shorts.
Could the white box be one of those buckets converted into a pannier?
I would wait to hear the full story before waving the racism banner.
Are you really trying to defend someone who pepper sprayed children? He shouted a racial epithet at them. That’s (one of) the definitions of racism.
This is incredibly disheartening. My dark heart could envision how someone could pepper spray an innocent motorist (I can’t justify it, but I can see how someone could go down that route with a bit of “us vs them sickness), but harming children is just so barbaric that it crushes me to know these things are happening.
Hi everyone. Because I am in rural Oregon on Cycle Oregon now and am unable to moderate comments, I’ve decided to not allow them. Sorry but I don’t have anyone else who can do this for me and I feel it’s necessary given the context of this story. I will read what’s been written so far and do some editing/deleting as needed. Thanks.
No excuse whatsoever for pepper spraying children (or anyone else, for that matter – unless under the threat of imminent attack from which there is no escape), nor for racial slurs. But I’ll be very interested in finding out if the bike rider already had prior experience with those specific children and was “getting them back” for something. But, again, there are better ways of dealing with one’s problems than attacking children with pepper spray.
As of Sunday around noon I’ve turned the comment section back on. Thanks for your understanding.
Rain Waters had posted a racist rant and I don’t know how to flag it
Thanks. I just deleted that comment. And by “flag” I just mean that you contact us about it. Which you did. Thanks again.
Something is off about this story. Sorry it sounds like a hoax of some kind.
I guess any white guy in spandex on a road bike is potential suspect. Great.
I saw one this morning on my ride to work. If I see him again, I’ll tackle him and call the police. I recommend y’all do the same if you see any potential suspects riding around.
News Flash: Portland cycling community tracks down and brings to justice rogue pepper spraying, right wing radio shockjock who had disguised himself as a cyclist and was fleeing angry listeners with his white box full of embezzled cash. Brought down by his own wickedness
agree , the story just doesn’t quite add up , but never the less his actions were wrong , unless they were shooting at him ?
I’ll just post this conversation here and let people decide how they want to interpret this: