Police in Oregon say they have identified a seventh Clark County man arrested Saturday for allegedly harassing a Black family on a beach, shooting off illegal fireworks and challenging responding police officers to a fight.
One of the seven men taken into custody after the incident had refused to give his name to officers and was booked into the Lincoln County Jail, according to a police department press release.
But once booking officers identified the man, they discovered that his name — Oleg Saranchuk, 45 — had been initially associated with another man booked and photographed by police.
That person was actually Andrey I. Leonchik, 41, of Clark County, according to the press release, which blamed the mix-up on “a language barrier and some lack of cooperation.”
The group had been described as “confrontational and highly intoxicated” in a press release issued early Sunday.
Both men were booked on suspicion of riot, interfering with police, second-degree disorderly conduct, harassment, possession of illegal fireworks and offensive littering.
Leonchik was cited and released from the Lincoln City Police Department. Saranchuk was later released from the Lincoln County Jail.
None of the men remained in custody due to the Lincoln County Jail’s COVID-19 policy limiting the offenses for which someone can be incarcerated before trial.
July 4 incident
Officers responding to a 9:33 p.m. call at a public beach near the Inn at Spanish Head found themselves surrounded by a group of about 10 people who began taunting and challenging the officers for seizing illegal fireworks, police said.
As additional officers arrived on the scene, they learned that the same group of white people had been taunting and challenging a Black family, yelling racial slurs, insulting them and using Nazi salutes toward them, police said.
Police formed a line between the group and the Black family, allowing the family to leave the beach and return to their room, police said.
Meanwhile, several members in the group continued to taunt the officers and challenge them to fight, while others began shooting off a number of large illegal aerial fireworks in front of the police, according to police.
Police said they are referring the case to the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office for further review and determination of charges.
Lincoln County District Attorney Jonathan Cable issued a press release Tuesday noting that using racist or derogatory language isn’t in itself a criminal act under Oregon law, which requires “offensive physical contact, destruction of property or threat of serious physical injury” to constitute a bias crime.
“Thankfully, the quick intervention of the Lincoln City Police Officers prevented those things from occurring. … It should be noted that the Lincoln City Police were cheered and applauded by numerous witnesses and did a great job in keeping the victims safe,” Cable said. “The behavior alleged will not be tolerated in this community and should not be anywhere.”