Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime

Fighting hate by networking resources

Showing Up for Love on Valentine’s: Portland United Against Hate — February 13, 2017

Showing Up for Love on Valentine’s: Portland United Against Hate

Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/72583

Portland United Against Hate

Vigil and joint announcement about creation of coalition

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

5:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Da Vinci Middle School

2508 NE Everett St.

Portland United Against Hate is a community initiated partnership of Community Based Organizations, Neighborhood Associations, concerned communities and the City. Together, we are building a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and providing the support and protection our communities need in this uncertain era. We seek to combine our resources, assets and relationships to create an inclusive city that protects, embraces, and celebrates its diverse communities.

We hear the outcry of our communities. In recent months, many community organizations report increasing incidents of hate crimes and intimidation, including bullying and violence stemming from racism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, islamophobia, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, stigma, and misogyny. This affects every area of our lives, including our workplaces, schools, places of worship, healthcare facilities, the marketplace, and more. We reject this hateful behavior.

We are tackling this toxic environment head on. Our partnership is bound by these common values: we oppose a registry of people based on their faith, culture, ethnicity, and documentation status. We know Black Lives Matter. We will continue advocating reform of our police department and building trust between police and communities of color so everybody feels safe in our neighborhoods. We support Portland’s evolution as an Inclusive City, regardless of the threats made by the Trump administration.

We have come together. This community initiated partnership is combining forces with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), whose charge is to connect and support all Portlanders to work collaboratively with government to build inclusive, safe, and livable neighborhoods and communities.  Community organizations look to ONI to collaborate in creating a robust response to the negative forces that undermine our city and community.

Our bold and intentional collaborative efforts are designed to protect communities from hate and proactively, create a strong base of support, provide the tools and resources to combat oppression, prosper economically and thrive collectively.

Everyone and every community deserves a safe, prosperous, and peaceful life, a life free from hate and harassment. We recognize and honor our collective resilience and our right to nurture our communities from a place of compassion, security, and belonging.

“With divisiveness and hatred becoming the norm at the national level, and here on the Best Coast, we must find ways to support our neighbors.  I sincerely appreciate this statement of community values, being generated by the people, for the people.  We believe in dignity and respect for all.  That is the Portland way.” Commissioner Amanda Fritz

We invite you to join us. Need help? Please reach out to the organizations below. Someone there will listen to what happened, and help you find a solution. Want to be involved? YOU can volunteer, lend your financial support, get trained on how to combat hate, and come together for community events. YOU can speak up when you hear or see hateful, harassing or intimidating acts. YOU can be part of creating a truly welcoming community. Together, we can all unite against hate.

Here’s the Facebook Event.

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Oregon Senators sign letter critical of Trump’s removal of racists from extremist list — February 11, 2017

Oregon Senators sign letter critical of Trump’s removal of racists from extremist list

Democratic Senators Criticize Reported White House Plan to Refocus Counter-Terror Program, Ignore Threats from White Supremacists and Other Extremist Groups

Reports indicate that Trump administration is seeking to refocus Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts solely on “Islamic Extremism,” ignoring broader violent extremist threats.
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Source: http://www.booker.senate.gov

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), along with 10 other Democratic Senators, are criticizing a reported Trump administration plan to restructure U.S. government efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE) to instead focus solely on “Islamic Extremism” or “Radical Islamic Extremism,” and no longer target violent white supremacist and other extremist groups that have threatened or carried out attacks in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security currently defines CVE as efforts that aim “to address the root causes of violent extremism by providing resources to communities to build and sustain local prevention efforts and promote the use of counter-narratives to confront violent extremist messaging online.”

Joining Sens. Booker and Schatz on a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and USAID acting Administrator Wade Warren expressing concerns with the reported White House plan are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bob Casey (D-PA). 

The Senators write, “Singling out a specific religion as the focus of CVE efforts rather than violent extremism more broadly— while ignoring threats from white supremacist groups— would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country.”

The letter continues, “Supporting countering violent extremism programs that take an evidence-based view of what violent extremism really is and how to tackle it increases the U.S. government’s standing as a moral leader, advances American foreign policy objectives, and protects our homeland. We will not allow these U.S. government’s efforts to be tarnished by any move that would overtly single out a specific religious, ethnic, or other identity due to bias instead of evidence.”

The full text of the letter follows:

February 9, 2017

The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

 The Honorable John Kelly
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20528

 The Honorable James Mattis
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

 The Honorable Wade Warren
Acting Administrator
U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20523

Dear Secretaries Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis and Acting Administrator Warren:

We write with deep concerns about reports that the Trump administration plans to restructure U.S. government efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE) to instead focus solely on “Islamic Extremism” or “Radical Islamic Extremism,” no longer targeting violent white supremacist and other extremist groups. As we have witnessed most recently and tragically with the mass shooting of worshippers at a mosque in Quebec this past month, violent extremism is not confined to any single ethnic, religious, or other identity group, but is instead a political and social phenomenon afflicting diverse nations and peoples across the globe. In the United States, the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was perpetrated not by “Islamic extremists” but by an anti-government extremist from New York. Singling out a specific religion as the focus of CVE efforts rather than violent extremism more broadly— while ignoring threats from white supremacist groups— would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country.

Bipartisan national security leaders along with numerous former U.S. officials and practitioners recognize the value that CVE programs bring to the fight against extremists and we are eager to continue this critical work. Countering violent extremism programs have proven to decrease the number of communities engaging in extremism. By preventing people from heading down the path to radicalization and recruitment, we can help to stem the spread of extremist ideologies and prevent new individuals from resorting to violent means—thereby reducing the need for the U.S. military to solve violent extremism through use of force alone, an impossible and misguided task.

As national security leaders tasked to protect our country and expand our alliances and partnerships around the world, we know you are aware of the considerable efforts we and our partners across the world have engaged in to prevent violence and the spread of violent ideologies. From the United Arab Emirates’ Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, to our own Life After Hate, a group of former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement countering neo-Nazi propaganda, these governments have taken important steps to address radicalization. Refocusing our violent extremism program to focus exclusively on Islamic extremism will, without any doubt, alienate Muslim organizations and individuals in the United States, as well as the governments who have been our closest partners abroad. It will also put U.S. service members, diplomats, development practitioners, and citizens traveling the world at significant risk, and will increase the likelihood of more attacks. We have already seen the effects of this proposed change as Reuters reported that one Michigan-based group led by Lebanese-Americans has already declined a $500,000 CVE grant from the Department of Homeland Security and numerous overseas development partners have expressed that they will no longer work with the United States in the event of such a redefinition. 

In addition to isolating our closest allies in the fight against extremism, both at home and abroad, the administration’s plan to exclusively target Islam raises serious questions over whether such a policy would violate constitutional protections and the rights of American citizens. Specifically, we are concerned that this course of action risks violating both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, crucial safeguards on the rights of vulnerable citizens.

Supporting countering violent extremism programs that take an evidence-based view of what violent extremism really is and how to tackle it increases the U.S. government’s standing as a moral leader, advances American foreign policy objectives, and protects our homeland. We will not allow these U.S. government’s efforts to be tarnished by any move that would overtly single out a specific religious, ethnic, or other identity due to bias instead of evidence.

Sincerely,

 

_______________________________                                      _______________________________

Cory A. Booker                                                          Brian Schatz

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

_______________________________                                      _______________________________

Richard Blumenthal                                                  Jeffrey A. Merkley

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Ron Wyden                                                                Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Tom Carper                                                               Chris Van Hollen

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Patty Murray                                                             Maria Cantwell

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________ 

Sheldon Whitehouse                                                Robert P. Casey Jr.

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

CAHC Meeting, Feb. 2 at 2 pm — January 27, 2017

CAHC Meeting, Feb. 2 at 2 pm

January 27, 2017

The January 5th meeting was well attended. Participation from community groups as well as Portland Police, the FBI and the DOJ really got the ball rolling. Our next Coalition Against Hate Crime meeting is:

Thursday, February 2nd at 2 pm

PCC – Cascade Campus
Student Union Building
Room 204 – Cascade Room
(For directions: CLICK HERE)
Among other items, we will be discussing the proposal to declare Oregon a “Hate-Free Zone,” a hate crime reporting app, and events in Ashland.
CAHC Meeting, Jan. 5 at 2 pm — December 21, 2016

CAHC Meeting, Jan. 5 at 2 pm

December 20, 2016

We had to cancel the CAHC meeting this month because of the snow. The new meeting time is:

Thursday, January 5th at 2 pm

PCC – Cascade Campus
Student Union Building
Room 204 – Cascade Room
(For directions: CLICK HERE)
Among other items, we will be discussing the possibility of declaring Oregon a “Hate-Free Zone” as was done in Washington this week.

We hope to see you there. Happy holidays!

Dec. 15 CAHC meeting to be rescheduled — December 15, 2016

Dec. 15 CAHC meeting to be rescheduled

December 14, 2016

Thanks to the snow, PCC will be closed Thursday, 12/15, so we will have to reschedule our Coalition Against Hate Crime meeting. I apologize for any inconvenience. We will try to get a new meeting date out you as soon as possible.

 Please think about these two questions before we meet:
1. How can we encourage people across the state to report hate crimes and incidents to the appropriate authorities?
2. How can we engage in outreach to communities who are the most vulnerable to hate crimes?
Thanks and hope you all have the day off Thursday.
Randy Blazak,
CAHC chair
CAHC meeting set for December 15th — November 28, 2016

CAHC meeting set for December 15th

November 28, 2016

The Coalition Against Hate Crime is having a face-to-face meeting to discuss recent hate related incidents in Oregon. We expect meeting participation from community partners, and local and federal law enforcement agencies. The meeting is open to the public.

Thursday, December 15th
2 p.m.
PCC Cascade Campus
Student Union Building, Room 204
The agenda will address two primary concerns:
1. How can communities be made to made to feel safe in the wake of election-related hate crimes and incidents?
2. What kind of education can be done to reduce hate and bias in our community in the coming year?
Additional agenda suggestions can be sent to me at: blazakr@gmail.com
This is a time of both vigilance and calm. Last week I appeared on an Al Jazeera program about the wave of fear around this issue.

Scared state: Fearing a Trump presidency

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The Department of Justice is also taking this issue very seriously.  The link below features U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch discussing the increase in reported hate crimes in 2015 and emphasizing U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to enforcing the laws and keeping our community safe.

The Department of Justice has also released a statement titled,  PORTLAND METRO LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS UNITED AGAINST ALL FORMS OF HATE CRIME. (click link)

We look forward to building strong responses to hate through our historic coalition.

Randy Blazak, CAHC chair

 

The Portland Man Accused of Murdering A Black Teenager Is Connected to A White Supremacist Gang — August 23, 2016

The Portland Man Accused of Murdering A Black Teenager Is Connected to A White Supremacist Gang

Aug. 22, 2016

The white 38-year-old Portland man accused of murdering a 19-year-old African American man fleeing from him in Gresham earlier this month has tattoos indicating he’s in “European Kindred,” a white supremacist gang based in Oregon. The Mercury has also found several references he and his associates have made online backing up his connection to the group.

Convicted felon Russell Courtier and his girlfriend, 35-year-old Colleen Hunt, are accused of mowing down Larnell Bruce with their Jeep after Courtier and Bruce got in a fight on August 10 outside of a Gresham 7-Eleven store. Courtier and Hunt were officially indicted for murder on Friday and were arraigned this morning. According to a probable cause affidavit for Courtier and Hunt’s arrest, Courtier admitted to a detective he intentionally chased down and hit Bruce with his car.

Courtier was out of prison on parole for a gun conviction when he killed Bruce, according to court records.

EUROPEAN KINDRED

Facebook

Facebook

Courtier has the European Kindred logo tattooed on his leg, according to pictures he’s posted on Facebook. In a reply to a sarcastic comment someone left on this photo, Courtier said “I’ll cum in your face with white pride nigero.”

russel_courtier_upper_body.jpg

FACEBOOK

Russ_Courtier_upperbody_tattoo.jpg

FACEBOOK

In a separate photo he uploaded of other tattoos, he wrote “511” in the comments, a code for the group where the 5 represents the E, the fifth letter the alphabet, and 11 represents K, the 11th letter. An associate of his also commented on Courtier’s picture, mentioning “us kindreds.”

European Kindreds are a white supremacist prison gang based out of Oregon. The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a long report on them in 2010:

Kennedy first organized the gang within the medium-security Snake River Correctional Institution, the largest prison in Oregon, where he was serving time for burglary. In less than two years, EK had spread to all four other medium-security prisons in the state. In 2001, as members were paroled, it began to establish a street gang presence in Portland. Over the next few years, EK became notorious as members committed hate crimes, murders, rapes and home-invasion robberies, along with manning identity-theft, methamphetamine-distribution and dog-fighting rings.EK now has at least 300 confirmed members in the Oregon prison system plus another 100-125 members on the streets of Portland, as well as in other cities and towns in the region. While the Portland-area street division of the gang — by far its largest outside of prison — is somewhat in disarray after a series of recent arrests of leaders and high-ranking members, the gang overall is expanding beyond the state where it was born. Last year, EK chapters appeared within prisons in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, and a street crew sprang up and began recruiting skinheads in Orange County, Calif.

Courtier has a lengthy criminal history and has spent time in prison for assaults and illegal weapons charges. He’s was previously convicted of four felonies and three misdemeanors—with seven parole violations—dating back to the late 1990s, according to court records. He was on parole for a felony weapons conviction—scheduled through March 2017—the night he killed Bruce.

THE MURDER

Larnell Bruce

Larnell Bruce GRESHAM PD

Just before midnight on Wednesday, August 10, Courtier and Hunt drove their red Jeep to a 7-Eleven store in Gresham. Outside the store, he and Bruce apparently exchanged words, and got into a fight. During the altercation, Bruce pulled out a “machete,” authorities said, and tried to walk away. Courtier and Hunt then hopped in their Jeep while Hunt yelled “get him baby, get him baby.” They chased after Bruce and intentionally hit him.

Here’s what what Courtier told Gresham Detective Aaron Turnage, according to the probable cause affidavit (emphasis ours):

Mr. Courtier stated he arrived at the 7-11 to make a purchase, and was contacted by and exchanged words with an unknown black male. Mr. Courtier admitted he and the black male adult got into a physical altercation, and the black male adult produced a machete. Mr. Courtier said he then stopped fighting and got into his vehicle. Mr. Courtier stated the black male walked away eastbound through the parking lot. Mr. Courtier says he was angry the male produced a knife and thought about driving away from the scene, however made a conscious decision to drive his vehicle towards and chase the black male. Mr. Courtier said the black male began to run away from his vehicle as he chased him. Mr. Courtier stated the black male ran to the east into a neighboring parking lot and Mr. Courtier said he chased him into the parking lot. Mr. Courtier admitted the black male turned directions and ran back towards the west and that he believed the black male was trying to get away from him. Mr. Courtier said he chased the black male across oncoming lanes of traffic and then intentionally struck him with the front of his vehicle. Mr. Courtier said that when he contacted the black male with his vehicle he knew he had hit him because he heard the impact and saw the male fall to the ground.”

The Mercury has asked the Gresham Police Department about the alleged machete/knife. We’ll update this post when more information comes in.

Larnell Bruce was motionless on the street with blood flowing out of his head and ears when police arrived. He was taken to OHSU and died three days later.

SOURCE: The Portland Mercury Article by Doug Brown

Crime Alert: Nazi skinhead killer at large — July 16, 2016

Crime Alert: Nazi skinhead killer at large

A man is suspected of shooting four people, killing three of them, Friday night in Clark County.

Authorities identified the shooting suspect as Brent W. Luyster, 35, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Luyster was arrested this past May on accusations of of pistol-whipping his ex-girlfriend in Longview, and a May report from The Daily News says he “has a long criminal record sheet that includes several allegedly racially motivated attacks on black men.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 8.28.08 AM

Sgt. Tony Barnes of the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately know early Saturday morning how authorities identified Luyster as the suspect. Barnes said authorities were still at the scene of the shooting — a home in the 4000 block of Northwest 417th Street near Woodland.

Barnes said Luyster knew all the victims somehow. Barnes said one of the victims, a woman, drove herself from the shooting scene to an ampm convenience store. She was suffering from a gunshot wound to the face, deputies said.

The store, 1039 Lewis River Rd., is more than 2 miles away from the shooting scene.

Deputies responded to the store at 10:20 p.m. and found the woman who was suffering from a gunshot wound. Barnes said the woman went right into surgery. Deputies and members of the Southwest Washington Regional SWAT Team later responded to the home, where they found three people dead.

Luyster hasn’t been apprehended, and authorities think he’s armed and dangerous.

Deputies said he could be driving a gold Ford Explorer with a cargo rack and plates reading ATD5294. He could also be driving a white Explorer with Washington plates reading AYH9994.

Deputies said Luyster is 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds with a shaved head. He’s covered in tattoos, including multiple swastikas and ink that appears to read “skinhead.”

Barnes said the last place authorities know Luyster was living is in Longview. He has ties throughout Clark County, Barnes said.

Authorities haven’t identified the victims, Barnes said.

Deputies ask anyone who has information to call 911.

Source: Jim Ryan, the Oregonian
jryan@oregonian.com
503-221-8005; @Jimryan015

Deputies arrest Creswell man on hate crime charge — July 13, 2016

Deputies arrest Creswell man on hate crime charge

CRESWELL, Ore. – Deputies say a man reported he was threatened at his home near Creswell for being African American. Authorities arrested a man who lives near the victim.

According to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Rodney Blomberg, 45, was one of four men who drove to the victim’s home on Jackson Marlow Road near Creswell.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 8.49.43 AM

The incident occurred about two weeks ago around 10 p.m.

According to court documents, three other men were with Blomberg, driving two vehicles with the confederate flag attached.

Officials say Blomberg and the victim are acquaintances.

“We had deputies respond. The suspect, 45-year-old Rodney Blomberg, reportedly made some racial slurs towards the neighbor, some intimidating comments,” said Carrie Carver from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

In the affidavit, the victim stated that he “does not feel safe living in the area because of this.”

The victim identified himself as half black with brown skin and black curly hair.

Law enforcement arrested Blomberg a couple days after the incident for second degree intimidation. His next court appearance is scheduled on August 15.

Source: KMTR Eugene

Will LGBTQ “Safe Places” come to Portland? — June 24, 2016

Will LGBTQ “Safe Places” come to Portland?

SEATTLE — A program in Seattle designed to help protect the LGBTQ community is getting interest from other major cities across the country.

Safe Place was launched in May 2015 and allows businesses and schools to post signs in their windows, indicating they are a “safe place” for victims of anti-LGBTQ crimes and harassment to seek help.

Officer Jim Ritter, the Seattle Police Department’s LGBTQ liaison officer and head of Safe Place, is in San Francisco this week to teach that city more about the program.

His visit came as a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others.

“After hearing the news of these shootings in Orlando, I had to remind myself that the person who committed these murders did more than just take lives of innocent victims,” Officer Ritter said. “He kind of single-handedly brought to life the fact that these hate crimes against the LGBT community that they face daily are very real and a problem that needs to be addressed.”’

Ritter, who is gay, said the shooting has sparked a worldwide conversation about LGBTQ rights and the challenges the community still faces. He hopes the tragedy will be a reminder to anyone who is the victim of a hate crime that they should not be afraid to report it.

Since the Safe Place program launched in Seattle, around 1,600 businesses and schools have signed on, Ritter said. In addition to San Francisco, he said cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Philadelphia have also expressed interest in launching similar initiatives.

Source: Seattle’s ‘Safe Place’ program getting interest from other major cities