A man’s racist ways and views have landed him in jail with the possibility of staying there for the remainder of his life.
The Department of Justice for the District of Oregon has announced that a white Colorado man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for stabbing a Black man from Ontario, Oregon. He did so while the man was sitting in a fast-food restaurant.
The white man, Nolan Levi Strauss, 27, pleaded guilty to a hate crime involving an attempt to kill.
“The defendant is being held accountable for his vicious, racially motivated attack on a Black man who was targeted because of the color of his skin,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a written statement. “Racially motivated acts of violence must not be tolerated in our country today. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure that individuals who commit bias-motivated crimes are brought to justice for their actions.”
According to official court documents, on Dec. 21, 2019, a Black man walked into an Arby’s restaurant in Ontario to provide documentation for a pending job application he placed at the restaurant. He sat in a booth alone and while waiting to meet with the restaurant manager, Strauss entered the building and approached the man from behind.
Without warning, Strauss reportedly stabbed the Black man twice in the neck. The victim tried to grab Strauss’s hands and take away the knife and managed to prevent Strauss from stabbing him again. A maintenance worker approached Strauss and directed him to drop the knife several times. After being subdued, the worker asked Strauss why he stabbed the man and Strauss replied, “Because he was Black, and I don’t like Black people,” according to reports. He then later admitted he was trying to kill the man just because he was Black.
“This crime serves as a horrifying reminder that racism and bigotry still exist and threaten the safety of communities of color,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug for the District of Oregon. “Hate crimes not only hurt victims, but spread fear across entire communities. This conviction should send a strong message that federal law enforcement will not tolerate hate-motivated acts of violence and will move swiftly to hold those responsible accountable.”
Strauss faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will be sentenced on Sept. 9 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.