Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts

September 14, 2016

Rundown Death of Black Youth Updated to Hate Crime

 Russell Orlando Courtier, 38 and Colleen hunt, 35

An Oregon man and his girlfriend accused of intentionally running down a black teen after an altercation in a convenience store parking lot face new hate crime charges alleging they targeted the victim because of his race.

Russell Orlando Courtier, 38, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of first- and second-degree intimidation in the death of Larnell Malik Bruce, court documents say. Colleen Hunt, 35, who was in the passenger seat, pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree intimidation.

Under Oregon law, a charge of intimidation means the defendants are accused of acting based on their perception of the victim's race, color, religion or disability.

The two had previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in the death of 19-year-old Bruce, of Vancouver, Washington.

Last month, The Portland Mercury raised questions about Courtier's possible affiliation with a white supremacist group after finding pictures on his Facebook page that show him with a tattoo of "EK," which stands for European Kindred. At the time, authorities had not charged him or Hunt with a hate crime, but were investigating.

Gresham police said Tuesday the defendants' "clear ties" to a white supremacist gang were initially not enough to charge them with a hate crime.
"Anything like this, we have to be very careful in looking at motive before we just assume something that may seem very clear to other people," said Officer John Rasmussen, a spokesman for the Gresham police. “We have to be sure to tie it in correctly to where it could withstand a court trial.”

19-year-old Bruce (victim), of Vancouver, Washington
Additional investigation, including more witness interviews and input from experts on white supremacists, led a grand jury to re-indict the couple Monday.
Attorneys for Courtier and Hunt did not return phone calls Tuesday.

According to court documents, Bruce and Courtier got into an argument that turned physical outside a Gresham 7-Eleven on Aug. 10. Bruce was armed with a machete.

It still isn't clear what the two were fighting about, but moments later Courtier jumped in his 1991 Jeep Wrangler and chased down Bruce as the teen ducked and wove through the parking lot on foot, according to an affidavit for probable cause. Surveillance video shows the Jeep turning around rapidly and accelerating toward Bruce as he tries to flee.
The video did not capture the moment Bruce was struck, the affidavit said, but a responding officer found him unconscious on the ground with blood streaming from his head and ears. The officer also spotted a red Jeep speeding away.
Hunt shouted "Get him, baby, get him" during the fight, but has denied any involvement in Bruce's death, according to court papers.
Bruce died three days after being struck.

June 3, 2014

In Oregon Gay Marriage Supporters with a Measured Approach

Oregon United For Marriage, the group formed to put a same-sex marriage initiative on the November ballot, had planned to formally decide Monday whether to drop the measure in light of the May 19 federal court ruling allowing gays and lesbians to marry in Oregon.
But that's been put on hold while the group watches to see how the U.S. Supreme Court handles a request by the National Organization for Marriage for an emergency stay of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency actions for the region including Oregon, has asked all of the parties in the case to give him briefs on the NOM request by 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

As is typical, Kennedy hasn't said when he will rule on NOM's motion.  And it’s possible he could pass it to the full court for a decision.

Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for Oregon United for Marriage, said his group remains confident that the court will reject the request from NOM, which was filed last Tuesday.  But, he added, leaders of his group "are not going to make a decision [on the initiative] until they know what the court is going to do."
“We have the signatures" to qualify for the ballot, Zuckerman added, "and we'll turn them in if that's what we need to do to win."

The group has said it has collected 160,000 signatures; 116,284 valid signatures are needed to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot. The group has said it would like to avoid the cost and divisiveness of a statewide campaign this year if possible.
Oregon United for Marriage, which held a party at Portland's Montgomery Park on Saturday to celebrate the start of gay marriages in the state, said it would offer officiants to anyone who wants to get married at the event. Zuckerman said Friday that the group had not heard of a large number of people worried that they need to get married now for fear the Supreme Court might issue a stay.

Lawyers familiar with the case say they expect Kennedy, or the full court, to act quickly, probably within the week. It took the court just six days after an appeal was filed to grant a stay halting same-sex marriages in Utah.
Here's some additional background on the latest legal proceedings in Oregon's same-sex marriage case:
— Jeff Mapes

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