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Portland Man Charged With Bias Crime After Using Racial Slur At Cop

Portland, OR – An irate suspect accused of repeatedly calling a black law enforcement officer a racial slur has been charged with two counts of second-degree bias crime, according to court documents.

The chain of events leading up to the arrest of 57-year-old Steven James Betz began at approximately 12:20 p.m. on Monday, when police received a report about a man screaming at streetcar operators and riders in the area of 250 Southeast Tilikum Way, KPTV reported.

Betz also allegedly pounded on a streetcar operator’s window multiple times prior to the officers’ arrival, according to court documents.

When they arrived at the scene, the officers spotted Betz sitting on a bench at the streetcar stop and told him it was time for him to leave the area.

Betz refused, so two of the officers got on either side of him and held onto him as they started to escort him away from the stop, KPTV reported.

When one of the officers asked the suspect if he understood that he was trespassing, Betz allegedly clenched his fist and turned towards him before spouting, “shut up n-word,” according to court documents.

Police said the suspect made multiple hand gestures and threatened to shoot the black officer before again calling him a “stupid n-word.”

Betz allegedly charged at the officer several times while clenching his fists as the officer backed away from him and raised his hands, according to court documents.

His fellow officers led Betz away and told him to leave the area, but the suspect made a beeline back to the streetcar stop and plopped down on the bench, KPTV reported.

Additional officers responded to the stop and placed Betz under arrest, at which point he again allegedly called the black officer the “n-word,” according to court documents.

Betz was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct, two counts of second-degree bias crime, second-degree criminal trespass, and interfering with public transportation, KPTV reported.

He was released on his own recognizance one day later.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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