|On July 4, 2020, a group of thugs threatened and harassed a black family on the beach in Lincoln City. They then challenged the 15 police officers who responded to the scene. This week I read that two years later, the first of seven defendants has pleaded no contest to second-degree disorderly conduct and was fined $440.
That doesn’t seem like enough.
In August of 2019, a transgender woman was brutally beaten at Agate Beach State Park in Newport. Five months later, a Lincoln County judge sentenced the assailant to 70 months in prison on several charges, including a bias crime and one count of assault.
In late 2016, swastikas were painted on three minority or gay-owned businesses in Lincoln City. At the time, I wrote, “We are a community that respects each other, supports each other, and celebrates our diversity. A swastika painted on one house, car, or business is a violation of every house and every business.” In this case, the matter was treated as criminal mischief. No one was ever apprehended or charged.
Our uneven and tepid response to incivility and hate crimes gives little comfort to our neighbors and visitors. We can do better. And similarly, treating a confrontation with our police with less seriousness than a littering fine shows little support or concern for our first responders. Again, we can do better.
Lest anyone infer that I’m calling out any particular District Attorney, these events covered the tenure of three different local DAs. My point is that we have a history of under-reacting and under-responding.
Our nation and our state have sadly seen a recent increase in political, religious, and ethnic incivility. Our District is not immune. But it should be clear we do not agree, ignore, nor accept such cowardly and criminal acts in our communities.