By Sebastian Fortino, ProudTimes Editor-in-Chief
Last month, two gay friends were verbally and physically assaulted in Downtown Portland. Don Kirchhoff, who has been described by his attorney as being a former veteran who suffers from PTSD. The friends in question were sitting outside of a bakery, presumably just minding their own business, just radicalizing the gay agenda by having a coffee and a pastry.*
*If they had coffee it is unconfirmed; if they had pastry, we don’t know what kind.
Today it appears Kirchhoff was convicted of his crime but given what many locals may call a lenient sentence: 15 days, but…there is more to this story.
According to LGBTNation:
One of the victims is black and the other is white, and Kirchoff allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at them and used a racist slur for the black man.
Kirchhoff then attacked, pushing the white man against a brick wall. The victim had lacerations on his head and abrasions on his neck and back.
The men tried to walk away, but Kirchhoff went after them, pulling on their clothes. One of the men turned around and punched him and they left.
His defense attorney said that he was “severely intoxicated” and doesn’t remember the attack. She argued that Kirchoff is a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and uses alcohol to self-medicate.
“That’s not a good solution for him, and he knows that,” the attorney told the court, asking for leniency.
Kirchhoff pled no contest to one count of bias crime in the first degree, a felony. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years of probation. He also has to stay away from Lovejoy Bakers and the victims.
This past Friday, he pled guilty to felony strangulation in a separate case – he was accused of strangling his girlfriend. She survived the attack, and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation in that case.
Since he has already served a month and a half while awaiting his court dates, he has already served his time. The judge said that he will have to stay in jail until Monday.
As part of his probation he will have to wear a device on his wrist that will alert authorities if he consumes alcohol.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he told the judge. “I know I have a lot to prove to other folks besides the court, that’s my goal. To move toward a cleaner path.”
It is the first time that Oregon’s new hate crimes law has been used in the county since it went into effect this past July, according to prosecutors. The new law increased some bias crimes to felonies and added gender identity to the list of protected classes in the state.H/T: LGBTQnation.com
What do our readers think? Is this a case of the new hate crimes law being used effectively? Is this a case of someone with mental illness getting away with too much? Let us know. Please send a message to email@example.com and we’ll be sure to include it in a follow-up piece we plan to write.