Beaverton police arrest man accused of threatening, using racial slurs against teen girl
Beaverton police arrested a man accused of making threats of physical harm and using racial slurs against a 17-year-old girl Monday, and they want to thank bystanders who stepped in to help the girl get to safety.
Ain Avila, 21, was stopped at a red light at Southwest TV Highway and Murray Boulevard when he first heard it.
"I was listening to my music loud, and I hear this screaming over my music," said Avila.
He says a young black girl was waiting to cross the street when an older man approached and tried to hit the girl. Avila says the girl ran away, but the man followed. He says the man was harassing her, threatening her, and calling her racial slurs.
This was happening at about 4:45 p.m. on Monday, according to police.
"He was saying the N-word and racial slurs. 'All you guys should die. If I had a switchblade on I'd kill you right now,'" Avila said the man said.
One witness says the man grabbed the woman by the neck. Another says he pulled her backpack, dragging them into the first lane of traffic.
Once Avila's light turned green, he says he drove into the parking lot of a nearby gas station and got out to help the girl. He said he was angry.
"Racism should have been done decades ago. It's 2018, we should know that racism is alive and well, and we should be more open-minded. Nobody should be targeted because of the color of their skin," Avila said.
Avila and at least one other bystander were able to separate the man from the girl. She ran into a convenience store to wait for police. Avila says they kept the man away.
When officers arrived, they arrested Samuel Corbett, 37, on charges of second-degree intimidation, menacing, second-degree disorderly conduct and harassment. Bail was set at $250 at his first court appearance Tuesday.
"This type of crime won’t be tolerated in our community, which is evident by the response from our community members. Thank you for standing up against racism," Police Chief Jim Monger said in a statement.
"We would never want a bystander to put themselves in danger, their physical body in danger, but it's a personal choice for them," said Officer Jeremy Shaw, a spokesperson for the police department. "We appreciate it, but we wouldn't advocate for someone to go out there, be a vigilante, and put themselves in danger."
Shaw says the girl was not hurt, but she is shaken up. She did not want to be interviewed.
Some witnesses say this incident reminded them of what happened in the MAX stabbing last year in Portland when two men were killed and a third man was injured trying to help two girls on a train who were being harassed by Jeremy Christian.
Avila says he thought about the stabbing too.
"There are comparisons. I have a friend who was there when it happened, the MAX stabbing, and saw everything," said Avila. "That came to mind. I'm pretty sure if no one was here he could have pushed her into oncoming traffic and we could have had a casualty. If no one stops and says anything, no one is going to fix the issue. You have to speak up. ... We're all in this together."