USOregon man becomes first person charged under state’s bias crime law, after attacking 3 Latino men walking out of gay club
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A 58-year-old man had the distinct honor of being the first person to deal with the consequences of breaking Oregon’s new bias crime law over the weekend.
Robert Oden is accused of punching and yelling homophobic and racist remarks at three men as they walked out of CC Slaughters, a popular gay bar and nightclub in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, according to prosecutors.
At around 2 a.m. Saturday, Oden allegedly attacked the group — three men of Latino descent who hadn’t even spoken to him — by hurling anti-gay epithets and then punching them. Oden, who was sitting in an alcove of a nearby building, attacked the group as they walked along the sidewalk after leaving the club.
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One of the men was left with a swollen and bloodied lip, according to. As they ran away, Oden shouted “go back to your country.”
After the incident, CC Slaughters employees called police. When Oden was taken into custody, he continued using homophobic and racist language, the newspaper reported.
He was charged with one count of bias crime in the first degree, felony assault in the fourth degree, two counts of harassment and two counts of bias crime in the second degree.
Oregon’s new law — which makes it a felony to injure someone because of the victim’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or national origin — went into effect last month, according to Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill.
According to The Oregonian, the Multnomah County D.A.'s Office helped to draft the language in Senate Bill 577.
The new law changed the crime of “intimidation” to “bias crime,” and added gender identity to protected categories, among other alterations.
It went into effect on July 15.
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