Tuesday, April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

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Man accused of yelling racist slurs at Portland police officer faces charge

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PORTLAND — A 57-year-old man is accused of yelling racist slurs at a Black Portland police officer while making a shooting gesture toward the officer and then charging at him, according to court records.

Steven James Betz was arrested Monday and accused of two counts of committing a second-degree bias crime, second-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal trespass, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The encounter happened as police were trying to remove Betz, who is white, from a streetcar stop in Southeast Portland for allegedly harassing riders and operators.

Betz is accused of threatening to inflict serious injury against Officer Derrick Daley because of his race.

Police were called about a man banging on the windows of a city streetcar and yelling at the operators and riders, according to a probable cause affidavit.

When Daley and other officers told the man to leave, he refused, prompting Daley and other officers to physically escort him away, Deputy District Attorney Bumjoon Park wrote in the affidavit.

When Daley asked the man if he understood that he was being banned from the location, Betz turned toward Daley with a clenched fist, told him to shut up and called him a racist slur, the affidavit said.

Betz continued to use the slur, motioning toward Daley with his hands, pretending to shoot him, Park wrote in the affidavit. Betz also charged at Daley, prompting the officer to put his hands up to create distance, the affidavit said.

Betz then walked back to the streetcar station and was arrested.

Betz was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center Monday and released on his own recognizance. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer to comment on his case.

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