Police suspend investigation of assault at Portland college

Possible hate crime at Lewis %26 Clark College

Police say the investigation of an alleged assault at Lewis & Clark College has been suspended because the man who reported the crime no longer wants to participate in the investigation.

The African-American student at Lewis & Clark College initially said that he was assaulted by three white men who also made racial slurs on November 21st.

But this week, the student told detectives he does not want to take part in the investigation or in any subsequent prosecution, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau.  Simpson said that detectives were unable to identify any suspects, and there is nothing further to investigate without new information.

Police first received a call about the assault at 12:49 a.m. Saturday and officers met up with the 26-year-old victim.

The man told police that at around 9 p.m. he was confronted and assaulted by three white men near the campus pool. He said he waited to report the incident until after talking with friends, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson of Portland police.

The victim told police the suspects used racial epithets before assaulting him. He was able to fight back, get away from the men and return to his residence on campus, Simpson said.

The man did not need medical attention, Simpson said.

The suspects were described as three college-age white men who were about 5 feet 8 inches tall with medium builds.

Police haven’t determined if the assault had a direct connection to social media posts on Yik Yak earlier this week, in which one user used the hashtag #bringbackslavery.

Lewis & Clark College announced on its website that there will be additional security on campus starting Saturday night.

Bias Crimes detectives are investigating the incident.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Todd Prosser at 503-823-9320.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales released a statement that read in part:

"Over the past week, there have been several potentially threatening comments made on social media at Lewis & Clark College that have been directed at African-Americans. Last night on the campus, there was an assault on an African-American student. At this time there has not been a link between these events, and the Portland Police Bureau is actively investigating.

While we are a city that prides itself on the broad protection of free speech, no matter how abhorrent the content may be, I am calling on all of us to stand together against the use of ugly, disturbing language that inexcusably threatens or otherwise creates fear in any other person. Further, I ask each of us to be vigilant in reporting this kind of hate to the appropriate authorities, whether that's campus police, administrators, or Portland Police.

We are in a particularly sensitive time here in Portland and around the world. It is imperative that we do as we’ve done time and time again, and show the world that in Portland, we take care of each other; that we choose to live in Portland because of community, not in spite of it."

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