Man charged with bias crimes against Troutdale teens
A 21-year-old man is facing charges after allegedly threatening a group of Hispanic and Black teenagers with a hatchet and using racial slurs toward them in Troutdale.
John Yeargain faces seven counts of first-degree bias, seven counts of unlawful use of a weapon and seven counts of menacing, the Multnomah County Circuit Court announced Tuesday evening, July 21. His altercation with the teens came on the heels of the group being attacked by another unidentified woman.
According to court documents the investigation began Monday, July 20, when Multnomah County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of Northeast Harlow Road in Troutdale.
A group of Hispanic and Black teens, ages 14-19, were swimming in the Sandy River when an unidentified woman approached them and directed racial hate speech toward the group. During the subsequent argument, the woman allegedly used a backpack to strike one of the teens. Deputies confirmed one of the teen victims had injuries consistent with someone being struck with a backpack.
The identity of the woman remains unknown, police said.
After that confrontation, the teens said Yeargain approached with his own group and that he began using racial slurs and threatening them with a weapon. According to law enforcement, Yeargain was wielding either a hatchet, axe or machete.
When speaking with deputies at the scene, Yeargain denied threatening the teens, however police said he used racial hate speech several times while describing the group of teenagers.
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