PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man accused of trashing a gas station store and threatening violence against the clerk — who is a Muslim from Afghanistan — faces six counts of bias crimes among other charges for the incident at a Southeast Portland gas station.
Brian Miller was charged with three counts each of bias crime in the first- and second-degrees, along with one count each of first- and second-degree burglary, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, menacing, robbery and theft, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said.
The store owner’s son shared the video with KOIN 6 News, but did not want to share his name or his father’s name due to safety concerns. He said Miller came in to buy cigarettes Friday night.
In the video, the suspect is heard saying, “Is that how we do things in America, Afghan? Al Qaeda? Osama? Huh, is it?”
Meanwhile, the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for support of the victim and increased bias crime charges.
“It is unconscionable that a suspect in an apparent and violent hate crime has not been charged accordingly,” Seemab Hussaini, the vice chair of CAIR-Oregon, said in a statement. “The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office must correctly address the charges against the suspect to reflect the hate crime laws that have just newly been instituted in our state. Without proper accounting of these acts, this state will never begin to heal from its dark past.”
Hussaini, who described the video as “horrifying,” said the “initial charges must define the crimes for what they are, but according to the family the initial charges define white privilege.”
The family said the entire incident went on for more than 10 minutes.
“When you go through something like this you feel less American,” Hussaini said. “You feel ‘othered.'”
The Multnomah County DA’s Office provided statistics that show bias crime charges have increased in three of the past four years. There were 15 cases issued in 2017, then 18 the next year, followed by 35 in 2019 and 31 in 2020.
It’s unclear if Miller has an attorney.