A man was arrested Tuesday after attacking a restaurant employee in Salem, Oregon, with a pipe and yelling, “go back to your country, terrorist” and “Arab, you need to leave asshole.” The attack is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Jason Kendall, 52, allegedly began yelling and screaming at the employee, Portland’s KOIN 6 reported Thursday. After he was asked to leave, he returned a few minutes later and struck the victim over the head with a pipe while unleashing a stream of racist abuse, also including “get out of America.”
The altercation, in which court documents allege Kendall also threw something plastic at the victim, left the employee with a small bump on his head. Kendall told police that he saw an “evil totem” with Arabic writing on it and threw it at the victim.
Kendall also explained to the arresting officer that he saw a “Saddam Hussein looking guy” and believed a woman in the restaurant was a slave. He said he went in to tell her that she was “free to leave.”
Kendall has been charged with felony assault, unlawful use of a weapon and misdemeanor intimidation.
In a wave of incidents of hate following last year’s presidential election, Oregon led the nation in the number of incidents per capita. Oregon reported 65 hate crimes to the FBI for 2015, however, the state’s largest city – Oregon – failed to report data. In all, 12 percent of Oregon’s agencies did not file a single hate crime report for 2015. In the past six years, more than 100 Oregon agencies did not file a report for at least one year.
Across the country, there was a six percent rise in hate crimes for 2015. By far the biggest spike was seen in incidents targeting Muslims, which went up 67 percent from the previous year.