Oregon police are praising witnesses who stepped in to help a 17-year-old girl as she was followed, threatened and harassed by a racist white man on her walk home this week.
Authorities arrested 37–year–old Samuel Corbett outside a Beaverton convenience store Monday after bystanders said he assaulted the teen, who’s African-American, and pushed her into oncoming traffic, local station FOX 12 reported. Witnesses told police Corbett had been following the teen, hurling racial slurs and threatening to harm her.
“Bunch of, you know, N-word, racial slurs, all you guys should die, if I had a switchblade on me I’d kill you right now,” witness Ain Avila, who first noticed the incident from his car, told the station.
The moment his light turned green, Avila said he sped into the gas station parking lot and confronted the man.
“I hopped out the car and got him away from her before he pushed her into oncoming traffic,” he recalled.
Gas station attendant Doulgas Short also stepped in to help, along with another man. He said they instructed the young woman to hide inside the store as they tried to keep Corbett from following her inside.
“(Corbett) grabbed ahold of her backpack and tried to pull her, but she got free from the strap, and that’s when we all intervened,” Avila said.
Corbett fled the scene, but authorities eventually caught up with him. Police have since charged Corbett with second-degree intimidation, harassment, menacing and disorderly conduct, according to FOX 12. His first court date is scheduled for June 30.
Beaverton police said they’ve reached out to the victim and her family to provide any support they may need at this time.
“This type of crime won’t be tolerated in our community, which is evident by the response from our community members,” said Beaverton police chief Jim Monger. “Thank you for standing up against racism.”