PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A stranger who attacked two gay men outside a Portland bakery, hurling homophobic and racial slurs at them and punching one in the face, is the first person to be convicted under Oregon’s new bias crime law, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office says.
Don Kirchhoff, 50, faces 15 days of jail with credit for time served and three years’ probation. The new law took effect July 15 and increases the penalty for some hate crimes to a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
According to the attorney’s office, Kirchhoff approached the men Sept. 1 while they were sitting on a bench outside the bakery in the 900 block of Northwest 10th Avenue. Both men are gay and one them is black, the attorney’s office says. The men are friends but Kirchhoff was a stranger to them.
Kirchhoff used homophobic language while speaking to the men and pushed one against a brick wall when he stood up and tried to deescalate the situation, cutting his head, upper neck and back, the attorney’s office says.
The two men tried to leave but Kirchhoff followed, pulling at one of the men’s shirts and punching him in the face. Witnesses called police and Kirchhoff was taken into custody. Kirchhoff later admitted to starting a fight and using hate speech at the bakery, according to court documents.
Kirchhoff appeared in court last week and changed his plea on one count of bias crime in the first degree. As part of his sentencing, Kirchhoff will have to undergo a mental health evaluation and a drug and alcohol evaluation and complete any treatment that is ordered. Kirchhoff is also not allowed to come within 500 feet of the bakery off Northwest 10th Avenue.
According to the attorney’s office, Kirchhoff also pleaded guilty to one count of felony strangulation constituting domestic violence in an unrelated case. As part of his sentencing in that case, he was ordered to to attend a domestic violence survivors impact panel and was ordered not to enter or remain in any bar or tavern and not possess or consume any drug or alcohol. The court also imposed a $200 fine and ordered Kirchhoff to pay $300 in attorneys fee.
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