Tanasbourne woman attacked with brick outside Safeway, police investigating possible hate crime
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Kara Stevens.
Hillsboro Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a woman said she was attacked by three men in a supermarket parking lot on the day after Election Day.
Kara Stevens, 28, of Hillsboro, filed a police report earlier this week, claiming that she was attacked by three men on Nov. 9, who allegedly yelled racial slurs at her, beat her with a brick and praised President-Elect Donald Trump.
Stevens, who is black, told Pamplin Media Group that she was walking through the parking lot of Safeway, 2177 N.W. 185th Ave., in Tanasbourne, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, when someone threw a brick at her, striking her in the abdomen.
Stevens said that her attackers were three men in their 30s and 40s, who shouted racial slurs at her and threatened to rape her.
Then they yelled Are you scared? Are you scared now? Because you should be," she said. "And then they said, We got a president who finally feels how we feel and were going to make America great again by getting rid of (N-words) like you.
Stevens said she had trouble breathing, but willed herself not to lose consciousness.
All I could think was dont die and dont pass out from the pain, she said. If I collapsed I knew that something bad would happen to me. I had to keep myself awake.
Stevens made it back to her apartment about a mile away, then went to a local hospital for treatment. Doctors told her she likely had cracked ribs, KOIN reported.
Stevens initially didnt report the attack to police, but Sgt. Mike Rouches with the Hillsboro Police Department, said that Stevens filed a report on Monday, Nov. 14, after friends persuaded her to come forward.
We obviously take this very seriously and will investigate this thing all the way, Rouches told the Tribune this week. Its in the hands of detectives, and they still have a lot of pieces to figure out.
The parking lot did not have video surveillance, and Rouches said that the investigation is still ongoing.
Its all still a little sketchy, Rouches said. We need detectives to flesh this out.
Hate crimes rare in Hillsboro
Rouches said that hate crimes are rare in Hillsboro. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in three Hillsboro residents are non-white, and one in five are Latino.
We have quite a diverse community here, Rouches said. This sort of thing typically hasnt happened here.
Rouches said that until detectives finish their investigation, there is no way for police to comment on whether the attack was politically motivated.
The question Ive been getting is whether this is related to the election? Are there people out there who feel emboldened, who think that maybe other minorities dont have a voice? We dont know that or if this was politically motivated," Rouches said. "I am more concerned about the individual person being victimized.
Trump surprised many political insiders when he won Tuesday's election, but during his campaign, the President-Elect drew strong criticism for rhetoric against minorities, including a call for a ban on Muslim immigration and plans for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
In the days after Trump won the presidency, reports of racially motivated violence have popped up across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has received more than 200 hate crime reports since Election Day.
Over the weekend, two bathrooms at Reed College in Portland were spray-painted with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti which praised Trump, and over the past month students at Lake Oswego High School have been involved in two troubling incidents after an anti-Semitic picture was hung in the schools cafeteria and a comment inciting violence against African American students was posted to a Facebook page run the LOHS students.
In an interview with CBS last weekend, Trump said he hadnt heard about reports of harassment against minorities, but told supporters to end the violence.
"I am so saddened to hear that," Trump told '60 Minutes' reporter Lesley Stahl on Sunday, Nov. 13. "And I say, 'Stop it.' If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: 'Stop it.'"
Since Stevens story was first reported by local media on Monday, Stevens said she has had to deactivate her Facebook account because of hateful messages sent to her, but she said she will continue to speak out so that no one else goes through the pain she struggled with.
Im not stay in my home and hiding, she said. I wont give someone that power over me. It will take something stronger than a brick to the ribs if youre going to make me hide.
She said the harsh reality of racism cant be denied, but must be faced head-on.
When people admit that its there, its going to be a heck of a lot easier for us to come together and fix it and come together, Stevens said.
Cole Miller and KOIN 6 News contributed to this report
By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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