Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include links to videos of the incident.
Warning: The videos contain language that some viewers may find objectionable.
The owner of a Vancouver barbershop is accused of threatening, spitting on and using derogatory names toward people protesting Sunday outside a nearby church in support of the LGBTQ community.
Hanif M. Collins, 35, appeared Monday via Zoom in Clark County Superior Court on three counts of malicious harassment, a hate crime offense in Washington.
However, the felony allegations were dropped Wednesday, and the case was referred to Clark County District Court. Court records indicate that the Vancouver City Attorney’s Office may file misdemeanor charges.
Vancouver police were called about 3:45 p.m. for a reported disturbance in the area of Sixth and Main streets. The caller said he and several others were protesting outside a church when Collins confronted him, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Collins called the victim a derogatory name, spit in his face and then said, “I am going to (expletive) shoot you,” the affidavit says. The victim had pepper spray on him and told Collins he would spray him if he didn’t back off, police said.
The victim’s brother witnessed the altercation and told police Collins claimed he has “been to prison” and is “not afraid to go back.” The brother said Collins was “chest-bumping” the victim and “slapping his hands,” the affidavit says.
Another protester said the group had been peacefully marching on the sidewalk with signs when Collins walked by them. He said the altercation started after the victim said something to the effect of, “Have a nice day,” and Collins replied with an expletive. The protester said Collins is friends with the church pastor and has been hostile toward them, according to the affidavit.
After the initial confrontation, Collins went to his business. But a few minutes later, he came back and confronted that protester, head-butting him in the face and spitting on him. The man walked away while Collins continued screaming at the group and threatening to grab his gun from his shop, court records state.
A police officer on the scene saw Collins exit his barbershop, with a pair of shears in his hand, and yell “If I go to prison, people are going to die!” The officer yelled, “Hey, police!” The officer said Collins appeared surprised and retreated inside his business, according to court documents.
In a Tuesday Instagram post from the barbershop’s account, Collins said he was assaulted by two men associated with the protest and was blocked from entering his business multiple times. He said the charges against him need to be dropped.
According to a 2016 article in Willamette Week, Collins is a former Portland rapper, who once went by the name Luck-One. He ended his rap career that year to open a barbershop and rare bookstore on Portland’s South Waterfront. He opened the downtown Vancouver shop in November 2019, according to the business’s website.