Police investigating man's homophobic rant

Police in Portland, Oregon, are investigating a man after he hurled threats and homophobic slurs at a lesbian couple

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 4:59 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 5:09 PM

Oregon police are investigating after a man hurled threats and homophobic slurs at a lesbian couple in a rant caught on video.

In an interview with CNN, Wendy Dragoon said she and her wife, Tru, were trying to help a lost dog find its way home Sunday night in their Portland neighborhood. As they crossed an intersection, the driver of a truck revved his engine and sped toward them.

The couple yelled, "What the f***, dude?" and as the driver made a U-turn, the men inside the cab told them to get out of the street and used a homophobic slur, she said. A man exited the truck, approached the couple and said something about beating the women, Dragoon said.

"I turned on my camera when my wife stepped off the curb and as he was backing away," she said.

It's unclear what preceded the video, but it shows the man threatening to harm the women. The man also makes derogatory statements about the women's appearance, clothes and sexual orientation.

The women uploaded the video on Facebook afterward and it was widely shared.

In a statement, the Portland Police Bureau said an officer was flagged down about the disturbance and advised the parties to "separate from one another," ending the altercation. Police declined to identify the man seen in the video. No arrests were made.

Officers have interviewed the people involved, the police statement said.

"Though the video does not necessarily convey everything that was occurring at the time of this incident, the officer who responded will include this video as part of his police report and it will be forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office for consideration," police said.

The police statement described the situation as "complex legally" without providing specifics.

"Under Oregon law, bias crimes are defined as any criminal act that targets a victim based on the suspect's perception of the victim's race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin," the statement said. "Detectives work to determine whether or not bias elements are present during the reported crime."

Portland police Sgt. Chris Burley described the man's comments as "extremely offensive language" but declined to say whether the officer should have done more.

"Just because of hateful speech, an officer cannot necessarily take somebody into custody," Burley told CNN affiliate KATU.

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