A man who spit in an immigrant’s face and told him to “go back to your country” has been ordered by an Oregon judge to write a 500-word essay on the challenges immigrants face when moving to America, KOIN-TV reported.
Harold Eugene Denson III of Portland will have to write the short essay after pleading no contest to an unlawful weapon use charge and a bias crime charge, according a statement last week from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office in Oregon.
Denson will be allowed to withdraw his bias crime plea if the court accepts his essay.
Denson reportedly threw trash around outside a car dealership Aug. 25, KOIN reports. When the dealership’s manager — a Ukranian immigrant — walked over to Denson with a bag and asked him to clean up the trash, he said thank you and appeared to comply with his demand.
But as the manager was walking away, Denson became agitated and yelled that the dealership wasn’t the manager’s property but was “American soil.”
Denson then asked the manager where he was born before spitting in his face and telling him to “go back to your country,” KOIN said.
Denson also threatened to cut the victim with a box cutter, according to prosecutors.
Defense lawyer Autumn Shreve said that a dispute between the men started after a hole appeared in a bag Denson was using to collect cans, causing the cans to fall out, according to The Oregonian. She added that Denson thought the victim was acting in a condescending way.
District Attorney Nicole Hermann said in a statement that the essay requirement was “a unique resolution to a very serious incident.”
“Mr. Denson needs to understand the impact his actions had on the victim and our immigrant communities,” she said. “This is an opportunity for him to reconcile his behavior through compassion, learning and understanding.”