Oregon City police arrest man in hate crime at memorial

Images: Oregon City Police Department

OREGON CITY, OR (KPTV) – A Happy Valley man has been arrested after he allegedly spray-painted a large swastika on an Oregon City sidewalk next to a memorial for someone who recently died while he was in custody at the Clackamas County Jail.

On Tuesday, between 4:50 p.m. and 5:25 p.m., police say someone vandalized a memorial set up at the corner of Beavercreek Road and Library Court. The memorial was for Jermelle Madison, a Black man who died on June 28 after he was found unresponsive in a Clackamas County Jail cell. The memorial had been left after a vigil that happened on August 6. 

The suspect also knocked over candles and broke picture frames with photos of Madison.

Detectives were able to find the suspect’s vehicle in surveillance video in the area of the crime at the time it happened. They also got a subpoena for banking information related to the purchase of the spray paint.

Law enforcement then searched social media platforms for evidence of the crime and located a video that the suspect recorded of himself destroying the memorial. Using a fake name, the suspect shared the video on social media with the caption, “"I unenthusiastically commit a hate crime." The suspect also posted, "I also spray-painted a fun German windmill on the sidewalk for good measure. DM for the pic."

Collin Michael Williams

Collin Michael Williams jail booking photo

On Thursday, detectives identified the suspect as 20-year-old, Collin Michael Williams, a white man. Detectives also determined that Williams was a Clackamas County employee. He admitted to detectives he was responsible for painting the swastika and destroying the memorial. Cans of spray paint, along with other evidence, were recovered from his vehicle.

Williams was later booked into the Clackamas County Jail on the following charges, second-degree criminal mischief, abuse of a memorial, and second-degree bias crime.

In response to the arrest of Williams, Clackamas County Administrator Gary Schmidt issued the following statement:

“We do not tolerate hate in this county. We do not tolerate hate crimes towards anyone. At Clackamas County we strive to create a safe and prosperous environment for all members of our community. The crime charged against one of our employees does not reflect the values of the county and our employees. We have deep sorrow for community members and employees who may have been harmed by this act.” 
 
According to the county, Williams had been an employee for a year. 

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