PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When a Black mother and daughter moved into their Gresham apartment in early June, they anticipated that their neighbors would offer a warm welcome.
But less than a month later, they began receiving death threats from a tenant in the building.
While living in the Landings at Morrison Apartments, Nubrittany Smith says she and her mom have received threats from 19-year-old Dominic Austin for months.
From pounding on the door to threatening with a knife, videos captured on Smith’s Ring Security Camera appear to show Austin’s behavior escalating – including threats of rape and racist slurs.
“You have to make sure you look outside your peep-hole. You look at your Ring camera before you exit your home,” Smith said. “Honestly, it’s like you live inside of a jail or something.”
One recording shows Austin say, “You’re about to get murdered.” Another tenant told KOIN 6 they’ve seen him with a knife in his hands.
“We were terrified, we were upset, we didn’t know what was going on,” Smith said. “Instantly, we took the videos from the Ring camera, attached them to an email and sent them to the Landings at the Morrison.”
Smith says she notified police and property management on June 30 – the day after the first incident – and continued to report the threats. However, for months, she said nothing was done to remove Austin from the complex.
“Part of the rental agreement says that if a tenant should threaten another tenant, the landlord can throw the offender out in 24 hours notice,” Attorney Greg Kafoury said.
According to documents obtained by KOIN 6, Austin was only officially notified by the property on Sept. 8, and an eviction notice was only filed on Monday.
Between that and the multiple calls to 911 Kafoury said both police and property management failed to protect tenants.
“The people who run this very large apartment complex didn’t give a damn,” Kafoury said. “The police didn’t give a damn. And I don’t know how anyone can look at those videos and come to any other conclusion.”
Smith said she reached out to Gresham Police and property management repeatedly and feels the attacks could have been prevented.
“As a Black woman, we, (my mother and me), I felt that we weren’t heard,” Smith said. “I feel that we were not important.”
Gresham police sent KOIN 6 a statement in response to Smith’s complaints.
“We are aware of the terrible conduct of the suspect in this case, including statements that indicate the motivation for the crime is hate or bias. We share in our communities’ concern and appreciate the unique impact bias crimes, in particular, have on victims.
Although the suspect has been arrested and is currently in custody, the investigation is continuing. We are working with the district attorney’s office to ensure the suspect is charged with the appropriate crimes.
As with all cases where a concern about our response is brought to our attention, we will review our response to identify ways to improve our service to the community.”
Court records show Austin was arrested on Sept. 20 and now faces one count of menacing and 10 counts of violating a stalking protective order.
His arrest comes as court records show another neighbor in the building filed a temporary protective order against Austin back in August for similar threats that were reported to police on at least two occasions.
In that case, investigators say Austin continued to violate the order until Tuesday – the same day he was served with Smith’s protective order.
“I was failed by the system and by the Landings at the Morrison,” Smith said. “I don’t feel safe. Because he’s in jail today but I don’t know what tomorrow is going to be. He could be released at any time. Then what happens next?”