PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A Portland man is facing bias crime charges after stealing Black Lives Matter signs from businesses while wielding a metal bat, according to court documents.
The incident happened Monday afternoon just after 3 p.m. Court documents say police got to Screen Door on East Burnside to respond to a disturbance with a weapon.
The documents say 36-year-old Eric Potratz went to the popular restaurant while holding a metal bat, pushed his way inside and grabbed the Black Lives Matter sign from their window.
On his way out, a probable cause affidavit states he broke a plexiglass door and yelled at customers - saying the Black Lives Matter movement is a "murderous organization.”
Potratz told FOX 12 on Wednesday he was triggered after seeing the now viral video of a man being attacked and then kicked unconscious Sunday night.
“It kinda just hit a go button. I felt that I needed to do something. This has been going on in Portland for 82 plus days, the rioting, the assault on people, I figured the least violent thing I could do is to tear up a few signs to wake people up," Potratz said.
However, we spoke with Moms United for Black Lives on Tuesday, who said what happened Sunday night has nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter. My thing is people need to stop trying to reverse the narrative. Whenever something bad happens, they want to place it on black lives matter, we’re fighting for our lives," said Elisha Warren, with Moms United for Black Lives. “We’re not out here trying to cause havoc for the police.”
When leaving Screen Door on Monday, Potratz said he threw the sign out of anger, and it hit a person waiting in line for food.
“I apologize for hitting him with a sign, I hope he didn’t take it as directed towards him— I didn’t mean to hit him," Potratz said.
He said he also stole a sign from nearby Fifty Licks on East Burnside.
One local business that supports the Black Lives Matter movement, Wooptido on Northeast 28th Avenue, said they're saddened to hear what happened at Screen Door.
“It’s upsetting to hear that local businesses can’t share their feelings about a movement, especially one that’s this important," said Mallory Musson, a hair stylist at Wooptido.
Potratz is facing bias crime and burglary charges, among others.
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