Oklahoma man charged with hate crime for threatening to kill Black teen
“I have never had any hate crime happen to me,” the victim said.
An Oklahoma man is facing hate crime charges for calling a Black teen the N-word, hurling rocks at her, and threatening to kill her.
Payton Heird, 22, was arrested Sunday after he targeted and harassed Zuria Hurst, 18, on Baker’s Bridge, a popular hangout for teens in Guthrie, Yahoo reports. Hurst was with a group of friends when Heird began screaming at her in an unprovoked attack.
“It was cool for about 30 minutes, and all of [a] sudden, he starts flipping out saying, ‘You need to leave.’ I need to go, especially,” Hurst told News9.
When she began recording Heird on her cell phone, he spat in her face.
“He starts yelling the N-word. He spits in my face and then he starts throwing rocks,” the teen recalled. “It all happened within 15 minutes. As soon as he threw the rocks, I called police.”
Hurst explained to the 911 dispatcher that Heird hit her with a rock and that he was, “being, like, really racist, so I need help,” she said, according to court documents.
Hurst fled the scene when Heird ran to his truck to get a gun.
“He went to go grab the gun and then I kind of ran off because I didn’t want to see the gun,” Hurst told the outlet. “I am terrified [of] guns as is, so for him to threaten me, I felt so helpless because I didn’t have anything on me.”
Police arrived shortly after Heird and a friend left in a truck. Cops ultimately caught up to the vehicle and Heird was arrested.
“The officers had pulled over the vehicle the suspect was in,” Sgt. Anthony Gibbs confirmed. “They identified the suspect who is not driving. Also, there was a loaded firearm in the vehicle.”
“Had he chose to go back to the vehicle and pull out the weapon we could be investigating a homicide,” Sgt. Gibbs told local outlet News4. “In this case, yeah he was free to say these particular slurs, however, based on his actions and his verbiage together, then it becomes a hate crime.”
Arresting officers discovered Heird was out on bond for a 2017 rape case, “where he was charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to News9.
Meanwhile, as expected, Hurst has reportedly already forgiven the suspected white supremacist.
“I didn’t feel like I was worthless, but it just made me feel like I was disgusting,” Hurst said of the encounter.
“I have never had any hate crime happen to me,” she added.
Following his arrest, Heird posted his $50,000 bail. He has been charged with a hate crime as well as assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threatening an act of violence, carrying a firearm while under the influence of an unlawful and unprescribed drug, and public intoxication, per the report.
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