A Portland man was convicted of an anti-gay hate crime on Tuesday.
Scott Wayne Smith, 47, pled guilty to second-degree intimidation, which is considered a hate crime under Oregon law, in Multnomah County Circuit Court. As first reported in the Oregonian, Smith received a sentence of 21 days in jail and two years’ probation.
According to court documents, Smith verbally threatened violence against a gay man in Southwest Portland on Aug 13, 2018. The victim, who resides in an apartment complex for people living with HIV and AIDS, told police that Smith approached him outside the apartment complex and asked for a cigarette. When the victim and his friend ignored him, Smith grew angry and began making threats.
“I’m gonna kill all you faggots,” Smith said, according to court documents.
Most of the people who live in the victim’s apartment complex identify as LGBTQ. Smith is a neighbor of the complex, and according to the victim, had previously used the same homophobic slur when referring to those residents.
The victim reported Smith’s threat to the police, and said he feared for his safety and the safety of other residents.
Under Oregon law, threatening or committing violence against a person because they are a member of a protected class—which can include race, gender, and sexual orientation—is considered a hate crime.
Smith’s conviction comes two months after a rash of rumored anti-LGBTQ violence set Portland’s queer community on edge, though only one of those alleged hate crimes was reported to the Portland Police Bureau.
Oregon has seen an uptick in hate crimes in recent years—despite the fact that it can be difficult for survivors to come forward, because they fear they will not be believed or will be made into more of a target. The Oregon Legislature is currently working on legislation that would make the reporting process easier for survivors, and lead to more accurate data.
“The truth is we don’t know as much as we should be able to about hate and bias crimes," said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month. "The only thing we do know is that they’re consistently underreported."