A 29-year-old man was arrested after allegedly carrying out a series of anti-Asian attacks in the Slabtown district of Portland, Oregon.
What happened: On the evening of Sept. 4, Zion M. Cochran allegedly shouted “I hate Asians!” at a group of Asian people who entered the Mama Bird restaurant before throwing patio chairs, dishes and glasses at the windows of the business, reported Oregon Live.
A few moments later, Cochran then spotted two young Asian women and allegedly shouted, “Don’t you walk away from me!” before violently shoving one of them. At that point, Sean Milligan, a bystander, along with a Mama Bird employee tackled Cochran to the ground near Northwest 21st Avenue and Raleigh Street until police arrived. The attacker was sedated by paramedics and brought to a local hospital for evaluation.
“There were so many bystanders, some with their phones out,” Milligan told Oregon Live. “Someone needed to take action before somebody seriously got hurt. It was kind of a split-second decision.”
Arrest and charges: According to witnesses, Cochran appeared to be either high on drugs or in a mental crisis. Police reportedly cited Cochran on four counts of felony and misdemeanor criminal mischief for causing property damage, including while jumping on a moving car and smashing the windshield of a parked car that same evening.
However, police did not cite him for hate-related charges or crimes of assault or harassment. According to Police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Allen, officers were not successful in trying to locate Cochran’s targets to get firsthand accounts from them. Police are asking anyone with information to email Major Crimes Unit Sgt. Matthew Jacobsen.
Portland’s hate crimes: The incident is among the series of recent attacks against people of Asian descent and other targeted communities in Portland. Hate crimes and incidents reported to the state’s Bias Response Hotline have nearly tripled in the past three years.
“I think safety in the city is a real issue,” Milligan said. “It’s scary for a lot of people but specifically people of color that are being targeted.”