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3 Oregon Men Face Hate Crime Charges For Alleged Beating Of Black DJ

Three men from Oregon with ties to white supremacist gangs have been arrested for their role in allegedly beating a black DJ in Lynnwood, Washington, north of Seattle on Saturday. The incident is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Those accused include 23-year-old Daniel Dorson of Corvallis, and 38-year-old Randy A. Smith and 34-year-old Cory Colwell of Eugene. They were arrested for allegedly beating the DJ and another man who tried to stop them. The other injured man was identified as Asian.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident with the help of the FBI. A total of eight suspects face felony hate crime charges in connection to the incident.

"We do not and will not ever tolerate acts of hate in Snohomish County,” said Sheriff Ty Trenary in a statement. “The violent behavior directed at members of our community over the weekend simply because of their race is disgusting. The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the FBI in hopes of getting the strongest sentencing possible for these hate crimes.”

The incident started when a man began operating the DJ's equipment at the Rec Room Tavern in Lynnwood without the DJ's permission.

After the DJ attempted to stop the man who law enforcement officials would later learn has ties to a white supremacist gang, the DJ was surrounded.

"White supremacist gang members," a probable cause affidavit specified.

The DJ told investigators he was stomped and beaten while gang members yelled racist slurs.

"After being beat up by the group of white supremacist gang members was told by the gang members, ‘We will see you n—,’ ‘Its over for you,’” investigators noted in documents. The victim “was in complete fear for his life,” they continued. Other witnesses interviewed by police matched the victim’s statement, according to the documents.

Snohomish County Deputy David Rogers reviewed video footage of the incident, according to documents, confirming that the occupants of a white Toyota Tundra were involved in the beating. Among them were Dorson, Smith and Colwell. According to Rogers, Smith had “bloody hands.”

The men from Oregon face harassment, fourth-degree assault and malicious harassment charges. The final charge is a felony hate crime charge.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office says the group was believed to have been in the area for a rally marking the death anniversary of white supremacist leader Robert Matthews. Matthews led the white supremacist group The Order, which sought to create a white homeland in the Pacific Northwest. 

Colwell has since been released on a $15,000 bond.

County prosecutors have until Dec. 28 to file additional evidence to support filing charges. No future hearings have been scheduled for the suspects in the case.

Editor’s Note: OPB has chosen not to name who police have identified as the victim of the beating. The victim’s name was redacted in investigative documents but included in charging documents.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ericka Cruz Guevarra