Man pleads not guilty to racially motivated threats against Asian man in Portland

This is the second incident within a week that victims of Asian descent have been targeted in the city.
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:12 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A man facing charges for allegedly making racially motivated threats pleaded not guilty in a Multnomah County Court, and is now out of jail.

54-year-old Neal Walker was arrested and charged by Portland police Friday for allegedly threatening a man of Asian descent.

This is Portland’s second bias-crime case in a week where the alleged victims were targeted for being Asian.

Walker was granted pretrial release supervision Monday afternoon after pleading not guilty to bias crime and menacing charges. A Multnomah County Judge granted Walker a pretrial release because the court did not have any court-appointed attorneys available at the time to appoint Walker.

Portland police say Walker targeted someone for being Asian while being stopped alongside them at an intersection.

Just over a week ago 34-year-old Dylan Kesterson was charged with bias crime and assault charges for allegedly attacking a Japanese family on Portland’s East Bank Esplanade on July 2.

In Walker’s case, police say he allegedly pulled up alongside the victim at the intersection of South Macadam and South Taylors Ferry on Friday and began yelling racial slurs and threatening the victim. Police say both Walker and the victim then drove to PPB’s central precinct, and the victim called 911. Walker was then arrested and charged. The victim also told police Walker allegedly threatened him with a weapon, but it ended up being an air hose.

In court Monday afternoon, a prosecutor read a written statement from the victim who expressed concerns about Walker being granted supervised pretrial release.

For leaders in the Portland Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, another instance of an alleged bias crime against an Asian person in the city is heartbreaking.

“We as leadership and the community need to step up and we need to push back on hate bias against all people,” said Duncan Hwang, Interim Community Development Director at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). Huang also is an elected member of Portland’s Metro Council. He says he and other AAPI leaders in Portland are working harder than ever to raise awareness about an increase in hate crimes against members of their community.

“We did our own survey with a bunch of partners earlier this year and about 49 percent of respondents in our community said they experienced or someone in their family was a target of a hate or bias incident,” said Hwang. “It’s a really widespread issue, and yeah I think it’s first really important to shed a light on that.”

According to court documents, Neal Walker has no criminal history other than a DUI charge. Walker is due back in court on August 8.