Over the weekend, more Portlanders fell victim to a hate crime. This time, police say, the victims were police officers.
Saturday afternoon, police responded to a car wreck in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland. They found a Nissan Altima flipped over on its hood with a 5-year-old child in the car. The child was unharmed.
Three adults had been in the car as well. The suspected driver resisted arrest and the two other passengers attempted to “physically intervene,” according to a Portland Police Bureau press release.
In a city where police officers routinely complain the community they serve no longer wants their help, what allegedly happened next was still remarkable.
Amid the hubbub, neighbors began to crowd the officers and the situation became “hostile.” So the police resorted to a show of force and made a “code 3″ call for immediate assistance.
In all, 16 cops swarmed the scene, sirens blaring. Despite numerous attempts to deescalate the situation, police said, they became the victims.
The driver, 35-year-old Sasha Lundy, threatened to assault two female cops due to their race and gender, according to the release.
Lundy, the driver, had been drinking and driving fast, police allege. She was charged with a bias crime and driving under the influence of intoxicants. The two other adult crash victims were also arrested.
Charges for bias crimes, the legal term for hate crimes in Oregon, are not common. Still, they are becoming more frequent. There were eight bias crime reports in the first quarter of this year listed in an online database maintained by the Police Bureau, most targeting Black or Latino victims.
This has been the third time in the past month that a bias crime has made headlines.
On July 8, 54-year-old Neal Walker was arrested downtown after he admitted to chasing down another driver in a fit of road rage and making threatening gestures. “I will kick your ass, Asian chicken,” he allegedly said to the victim, who told officers that he thought he was going to be shot.
A black plastic pipe, but no gun, was found in Walker’s vehicle. Walker was charged with a bias crime.
And over the July 4 weekend, Dylan Kesterson, 34, was arrested after allegedly attacking a Japanese American family while screaming racial slurs on the Eastbank Esplanade.
Kesterson was arrested on Saturday and released. Prosecutors demanded his rearrest the following week. He was found a short time later near the downtown park where he lived.
Three more victims accusing Kesterson of racial harassment came forward in the following weeks as the case garnered extensive media attention.