A man who spit in an immigrant's face and told him to "go back to your country" has been ordered by an Oregon judge to write a 500-word essay on the challenges immigrants face when moving to America, KOIN-TV reported.
What's the background?
Harold Denson III of Portland reportedly threw trash around outside a car dealership Aug. 25, the station said. The dealership's manager — a Ukranian immigrant — walked over to Denson with a bag and asked him to clean up the trash, KOIN reported.
Initially, Denson said thank you, the station said, but as the manager was walking away Denson became agitated and yelled that the dealership wasn't the manager's property but was "American soil." Denson then asked the manager where he was born before spitting in his face and telling him to "go back to your country," KOIN said.
Denson also threatened to injure the manager with a box cutter, the station said.
Police responded to the scene, the Willamette Week reported, adding that no one was hurt.
Denson on Friday pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree bias crime, KOIN reported.
As a result, the station said, Multnomah County Judge Christopher Ramras sentenced Denson to 90 days in jail — and ordered him to write a 500-word essay on the difficulties immigrants face when moving to the United States.
“This is a unique resolution to a very serious incident," Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann said of the essay order, KOIN reported. “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."
Here's a clip of the judge explaining the essay to Denson, as well as Denson's reaction to it:
Judge explains why he wants defendant to write 500-word essay youtu.be
If the court accepts Denson's essay, his bias crime charge will be dismissed, the station said, adding that if the essay isn't accepted, Denson will be convicted and could face more sanctions.
He has until March to complete the essay, KOIN said.