Hate crime detective investigating possible felony assault at Ir - KPTV - FOX 12

Hate crime detective investigating possible felony assault at Iraqi restaurant in NE Portland

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Damien Rodriguez, jail booking photo Damien Rodriguez, jail booking photo
The DarSalam restaurant on North Alberta. (KPTV) The DarSalam restaurant on North Alberta. (KPTV)

A hate crime detective is investigating possible felony charges in connection with a violent incident at an Iraqi restaurant in northeast Portland.

Damien Rodriguez, 40, was arrested last month. He was scheduled to appear in court again next week, but misdemeanor charges of harassment and disorderly conduct were dismissed as prosecutors pursue felony charges against him.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office stated once the investigation is complete, it will be submitted to a grand jury for consideration of felony charges of assault and intimidation.

Police responded to DarSalam on Northeast Alberta Street near 30th Avenue on April 21.

Owners Ghaith and Tiffany Sahib said two men who appeared to be intoxicated walked into the restaurant and sat for nearly an hour without ordering food.

An argument ensued involving an Arabic employee. Surveillance video then showed one of the men, suspected to be Rodriguez, picking up a chair and hitting the employee with it.

The employee was not badly injured.

Other workers and customers held Rodriguez until police arrived.

Court records show Rodriguez is from Lake Elsinore, California and is an active duty sergeant major in the military with family in the Portland area.

Court documents state Rodriguez takes medication for PTSD.

A district attorney's office spokesperson said the assigned case prosecutor and a victim advocate are in close contact with the victim in this case and others affected by what happened at the restaurant.

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