A Gresham, Oregon man by the name of Michael James Black was arrested May 11 and is being investigated for a hate crime after allegedly yelling racial slurs at a Black teenage boy.
According to documents obtained by Oregon Live, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office is charging Black, 64, with second-degree intimidation and menacing. It’s alleged that on May 10, the 14-year-old victim (who remains unnamed in publications due to his minor status), was threatened by the older man while he was riding his bicycle near Black’s residence.
According to Gresham Police spokesman Ben Costigan, the teen was riding his bike around 9:30pm, not far from Black’s house on Northeast Glisan Street. The young victim said he was riding his bicycle in circles, when Black proceeded to yell at him.
“He called him a racial slur, and said he was going to blow his head off,” Costigan states.
According to a probable cause statement released by the district attorney’s office, the teen was riding his bike home with friends after basketball practice. Although the teen was traveling on bike, his friends were on foot, which he claims is the reason why he occasionally rode in circles allowing his teammates a chance to catch up to him. The teens were walking in a cul-de-sac that they presumed was a public space.
That’s when the young man alleges that Black, who is white, yelled at the teen from about 30-40 feet away, that the area is private property, followed up by racial slurs and threats.
Fearful that Black would make good on his threats, the teen told officials he got scared, so he rode home where his mother later alerted police of the issue.
Black’s subsequent statement to officials varies somewhat. According to t Oregon Live, Black told the police that the teen went on to his property and engaged in a yelling match and “flipped” him off.” Black also said that he thought the teen had a knife, but admitted he is vision impaired.
It was also revealed that Black has been arrested before, but for crimes not associated with this scenario. While the stories between Black and the unnamed teen vary, he does admit to using racially-charged language during the exchange. We can only imagine what words he used to describe the teen during this encounter.