Two men were assaulted in downtown Portland last week in what the Portland Police Bureau is treating as a hate crime.
Kiah Lawson, 22, and Sam Smith, 21, had just parked near Silverado the night of March 14. They were holding hands while walking to the bar when two men approached and called them “faggots,” Lawson said.
“They got up in my face,” Lawson said, “and not in a friendly way.”
Lawson said he pushed one man away. Then the man started punching him, he said. Lawson fell to the ground, and the men began kicking him, he said. At one point, he said one of the men pulled out a knife.
“I don’t know if I’d ever been so scared,” Lawson said. “To have two people over me kicking me – I was terrified.”
Smith said he doesn’t remember much of what happened, but he was punched in the face at one point; he has a bruised nose.
Lawson fought back, landing blows on both attackers before breaking away from the fight, he said. He ran to Silverado to get help. The manager at Silverado, Imer Rodriguez, came outside when he heard about the assault.
“Kiah was holding the side of his face,” Rodriguez said, “I asked him what happened, and he said he was gay bashed.”
Rodriguez then looked down the street and saw the two attackers vandalizing Smith’s car. They had slashed the tires, broken the windows and slashed the seats. Lawson pointed out the attackers to Rodriguez, and Rodriguez ran toward them.
“I didn’t think about the consequences or anything,” Rodriguez said. “I just did it.”
The two attackers ran in different directions. Rodriguez chased one of the men to Waterfront Park, where Rodriguez tackled the man. He held him until police arrived to arrest him.
“While I was holding him down,” Rodriguez said, “he was talking about how ‘queers cause enough problems’ and how he ‘didn’t quite care for fags.’”
The arrested man was identified as Paul Anthony Martinson, 39. He was charged with assault in the third degree, intimidating in the first degree and criminal mischief in the first degree. He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail.
The other man is described as white and in his 20s or 30s. He has short hair, is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds. Anyone with information about this assault or information about the second unidentified suspect is asked to contact Detective Paul Dolbey at 503-823-0451 or Paul.Dolbey@PortlandOregon.gov.
Lawson and Smith suffered cuts and bruises, but neither required serious medical attention. Smith said the damage to his car would cost $4,200 at most to repair.
See photos of Smith’s damaged car after the jump.