PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — A 57-year-old man was arrested Monday afternoon after he harassed multiple people on a Portland Streetcar and repeatedly called an officer a racial slur, according to court documents.
Steven James Betz is facing two counts of second-degree bias crime, second-degree disorderly conduct, second-degree criminal trespass, and interfering with public transportation.
The charges stem from an investigation that began at about 12:20 p.m. on Monday when officers responded to the area of 250 Southeast Tilikum Way.
Court documents state that Betz was harassing multiple streetcar operators by yelling at them, as well as yelling a riders. Betz also banged on an operator’s window several times.
Officers arrived to the scene and found Betz sitting on a bench at the streetcar stop. The officers told Betz it was time to leave, but he refused.
Two officers held on to each side of Betz and escorted him away so that he would not fall over. Betz then turned his attention to one of the officers who is African American, according to court documents.
Court documents state that the victim asked Betz whether he understood that he trespassed and Betz turned towards the victim, clenched his fist and said “shut up n-word.”
According to court documents, Betz threatened to shoot the victim while using hand gestures multiples times and continued to call the victim a “stupid n-word.” Betz also clinched his fists and charged at the victim several times, court documents state.
The victim reportedly put up his hands to create distance between himself and Betz, according to court documents. Other officers helped Betz walk away and told him to leave. He then quickly walked back to the streetcar stop and sat down on a bench.
Additional officers responded to the scene and took Betz into custody. Court documents state that Betz continued to focus on the victim and called him the “n-word” again.
Betz was booked into the Multnomah County Jail. He was released the following day on his own recognizance.
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