AWhite Oregon couple accused of running down a Black teen in a convenience store parking lot on August 10 will face additional hate crime charges, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Reports say Russell Orlando Courtier, 38, pleaded not guilty to first and second-degree intimidation in the death of 19-year-old Larnell Malik Bruce. Courtier’s partner, Colleen Hunt, 35, pleaded not guilty to a first-degree intimidation charge, The Times reports:
“Under Oregon law, a charge of intimidation means the defendants are accused of acting based on their perception of the victim’s race, color, religion or disability.”
Hunt was riding in the passenger seat during the incident. Courtier and Hunt also previously pleaded not guilty; they were both indicted on August 18 for murder, according to The Portland Mercury.
According to The Times’ report, The Mercury inquired about Courtier’s affiliation with White supremacists after finding pictures of him on Facebook with a “EK” tattoo, which stands for European Kindred. The Southern Poverty Law Center writes the European Kindred is “an Oregon-based racist prison and street gang (that) has produced an incredible amount of criminal violence.”
After further investigation, coupled with witness interviews and experts on White supremacists, a grand jury re-indicted the couple on hate crime charges.
The incident took place outside of a 7-11 after Bruce and Courtier got into a physical confrontation. According to police, Courtier was wielding a machete. Police do not know what started the fight.
After the altercation, Courtier jumped into his Jeep and chased Bruce through the parking lot, according to the police report reviewed by the Times. Surveillance video shows Courtier’s Jeep turning around to accelerate in Bruce’s direction.
The police affidavit says the video did not show the moment of impact, but officers found Bruce lying unconscious and bleeding from his head and ears. He died in a hospital three days later.