Man gets jail time, essay order for bias crime

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Harold Denson has until March to complete the essay

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man who yelled and spat at an immigrant received a 90-day sentence along with an order to write a 500-word essay.

Harold Denson III was arrested after he reportedly assaulted a Ukranian immigrant who was the manager of a car dealership. On August 25, Denson had thrown trash all over the dealership property. When the victim was made aware of the situation, he walked over to Denson and handed him a trash bag — asking him to clean it up.

The victim began walking away after Denson said thank you, but Denson then became agitated and yelled that the dealership was not the victim’s property, calling it “American soil.” He asked the victim where he was born before spitting in his face. He then told the victim to “go back to your county.”

He then threatened to cut the victim with a box cutter.

On November 22, Denson pleaded no contest to his charges of unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree bias crime. Judge Christopher Ramras’ had the idea for Denson to write an essay as part of the sentence.

“This is a unique resolution to a very serious incident,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann. “Mr. Denson needs to understand the impact his actions had on the victim and our immigrant communities. This is an opportunity for him to reconcile his behavior through compassion, learning and understanding.”

Denson has until March to complete the essay. It is required to be focused on the process and challenges people have when moving to the U.S. from another country.

If the court accepts his essay, Denson’s bias crime charge would be dismissed. If they do not accept it, he will be convicted and could face more sanctions.

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