June 04, 2021
Brent Weisberg, Communications Director
DA Mike Schmidt announces charges following an alleged racially motivated attack against a homeless man
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt filed criminal charges against Mark Meeks who is accused of using racial hate speech and threatening to cause serious physical injury to another person based on his perception of the victim’s race.
Meeks is charged with one count of Bias Crime in the First Degree and one count of Menacing.
The victim is Black and homeless. According to court documents, on June 01, 2021, Meeks approached the victim in northeast Portland and repeatedly used racial hate speech and threatening language while swinging an object toward the victim.
The victim did not know Meeks before this alleged bias crime, and was using a machete to chop and gather firewood, according to court documents.
Meeks is accused of continuing to use racial hate speech while chasing the victim.
A nearby utility crew called 9-1-1 after the victim approached asking for help, according to court documents.
Meeks stopped chasing the victim but remained in the area. Police located and arrested Meeks without further incident.
Police recovered the weapon Meeks allegedly used and described it as a cord-like object with a bulky end.
Meeks continued to use racial hate speech to describe the victim when contacted by police.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was an active participant of the Oregon Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Task Force and helped draft the language that was in Senate Bill 577. The law, which went into effect on July 15, 2019, renamed the crime of “Intimidation” to “Bias Crime,” added gender identity to the list of protected categories and removed the requirement that two or more people commit the crime in order to make it a felony in certain circumstances.
All potential bias crime cases, whether they are a felony or misdemeanor, are reviewed by the Violent Crimes Unit within the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. If a misdemeanor bias crime is issued, the felony-level attorney will retain the case.
If you are the victim of a bias crime or you are witnessing one, immediately call 9-1-1. If you are the victim of a bias crime and the suspect is no longer present or if you have information about a bias crime committed in the past, call the non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.