LINCOLN CITY, OR (KPTV) - A Black Portland-area woman says her family was targeted and harassed by a group of white men while celebrating July 4 in Lincoln City.
She says her family was targeted because they are Black. She said the holiday weekend was supposed to be a relaxing getaway for the group.
“We’ve been going to the Oregon Coast for over 30 years," the woman said. "I was born and raised here. I’m 50."
The woman did not want to be identified. She said until the men who did this have been prosecuted and punished, she fears for the safety of her and her family.
She says her family had booked a stay at the Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City, a place they often stay.
“That was our refuge," she said. "That was our place to go to unwind, get away and come back to ourselves."
She said her adult children and some friends arrived at the hotel on Saturday to spend the weekend. But by early afternoon, she says some of her kids were already experiencing racism from a group of rowdy white men also staying at the hotel.
“They go, ‘mom and dad, mom and dad, these guys were in the hall and they did a hail Hitler sign to us and they said happy 4th and they laughed,’” she said.
She says the family tried to brush it off, but then there was another encounter where the men flipped off some of her children in the elevator.
She says her family then tried to build a fire on the beach, but the men soon came out on their balcony waving “Trump 2020” flags and screaming for about 20 minutes.
Shortly after that, she says she and her husband had an encounter with several of them in the hotel, where one of the men pointed his fingers like a gun at her husband. She says that’s when she made the hotel call police.
“If you can think of every emotion and write it down, that’s what we were all going through,” she said.
Lincoln City police say as soon as they arrived, the group of white men was taunting and challenging officers for seizing their illegal fireworks. The woman says the harassment also didn’t end when police arrived. She claims one of the men threw a firework at her family.
“He took a firework, he had it in his hand, and he lit it and he tossed it over by us," she said. "It did not hit us, but he tossed it in our direction and he looked at us, in front of the police, and he said this is just a taste of what you’re going to get."
She also said the group told her family to “go back to where you came from.” Police say they formed a line to protect the family so they could leave the beach and get to their room safely.
Once they were gone, police say they arrested seven men, charging with them multiple crimes, including riot, harassment and other crimes.
The victim says she is grateful for the actions of police and personally thanks the Lincoln City Police Chief.
“It was because of the training he did with his officers, in addition to God putting it in each of their hearts to truly step up and protect and serve, and that’s what they did,” she said.
She also says she gives a special thanks to the Chapel By the Sea, a local pizza shop owner, one of the guests at the beach and a stranger who saw their story on the news, for reaching out and checking on her family. She says the support from community members has helped to ease some of the pain.
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