Gresham man charged with bias crimes
A 31 year-old white Gresham man has been charged with multiple counts of bias crimes for threatening to kill his next door neighbor, who is black.
Sead Seth Selimovich faces four counts of second-degree bias crime, three counts of second-degree criminal mischief and one count of first-degree criminal mischief, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced Friday, Sept. 27.
The incident started with a dispute about a fence. Selimovich allegedly threatened to kill his neighbor and damage her property based on his perception of her race and color of her skin, which is a bias crime under Oregon law, Underhill's announcement said.
In mid-August, Selimovich started yelling racial slurs toward the victim from his residence on Southwest Fourth Street in Gresham, court documents state.
Selimovich's lawyer A. Alexander Hamalian characterized the situation as "little more than a dispute between neighbors that got out of proportion."
Hamalian said Selimovich "is a hard-working guy. He has a small business."
Hamalian also noted that Selimovich runs the auto shop business with his significant other, who is a person of color. Selimovich has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The alleged hate speech used by Selimovich was intertwined with death threats, according to court documents.
A 9-year-old boy, who walks the victim's dog, was also also present during one of the alleged incidents, and documents said the alleged yelling caused the child to become extremely frightened.
The woman also reported that she feared for her life and believed Selimovich would try to hurt or kill her because of her skin color.
Investigators learned the victim's living room window had been broken out with a thrown rock and that the victim's car window had been broken out with a golf club, according to court documents.
Gresham police responded to the victim's house on a later date and said that the other windows, including the sunroof, on the victim's car had been broken out, according to court documents. More than $1,800 in damage was done to the car.
The victim said Selimovich was the person breaking out her windows, according to court documents.
The indictment alleged that Selimovich unlawfully and intentionally, because of his perception of the race and skin color of the victim, subjected her to alarm by threatening to inflict serious physical injury.
The charges claim he tampered and interfered with her car on multiple occasions and unlawfully and intentionally damaged her personal property.
Selimovich appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Friday, Sept. 27.
Court records show Selimovich has had run-ins with the law dating back to 2005 for various alleged crimes including theft and possession of a stolen vehicle, assault, burglary, menacing and attempting to elude a police officer.
Attorney Hamalian said Selimovich immigrated from a country that was formerly part of the Soviet Union and because of language issues and cultural differences, some of these people find themselves in contact with the law.
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