The Daily Obscurantist

News reports now often raise more interesting questions than they answer:

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help in tracking down a suspect who allegedly crashed into a deputy’s car.

MCSO says that they have been performing a “safety mission” to reduce gun and traffic violence in East Multnomah County.

They reported that so far these efforts have resulted in 45 traffic stops, five arrests and one firearm seizure.Gresham passes crime initiatives to reduce gun violence

During this mission, deputies report that they saw a black sedan swerving through traffic.

Deputies say they attempted to stop the vehicle and that the car turned and crashed head-on into the deputy’s car.

There was a deputy and a K9 in the car at the time, and neither was injured.

The suspect reportedly got out of the car and ran into the Mount Hood Community College campus.

Police set up a perimeter but were unable to stop the suspect.

This article gives the impression they did not follow the suspect into the school. What gives? They “were unable to stop the suspect” can mean a lot of things. Did they not pursue? This article reads as if they didn’t.


Does the college provide sanctuary for those fleeing police or something?

It’s probably attributable to the sloppy grammar and inept phrasing typical of short news reports now, which read like bad translations or automated programs. I can’t find the Sheriff’s Department’s pursuit policy online. I’ve emailed KOIN and MCSO seeking clarification.

Including this clip just because

This KOIN report is much clearer, but the import is the same: police aren’t policing so much right now:

A SE Portland neighborhood says they’ve been targeted by a man on a bike who has been smashing their windshields as they’re driving.

After two people shared their own stories online, other neighbors came forward to them to say they’ve also been targeted in Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood just west of Mt Tabor.

The attack came out of nowhere, according to victims. Last weekend, Steve Magnuson was driving along SE 49th near Hawthorne, when a man on a bike smashed his windshield — all caught on dashcam.

“He stood up and sort of steadied himself and just took a big swing with a rock or something hard, right into my windshield,” said Magnuson, who went on to add he didn’t see where the man went off to but later found the same bike with a cart attached in a nearby homeless camp.

When he contacted police, they say they recognized the suspect, identifying him as 51-year-old Robert Casey McClatchey.

Great, that means he’s going to jail, right?

Another neighbor — who wished to remain anonymous — says the same thing happened to her a few weeks ago near 42nd and Belmont. She says she saw a man on a bicycle pulling a cart and pulled over to give him room. She says the man threw what appeared to be a coffee cup at her car, which she says she later found had paint in it, splattering near her tires.

She says as he got closer, he raised his hand, and she thought maybe he was going to wave and thank her for pulling over — not expecting what came next.Economist: Few vacant units mean more rent increases in Oregon

“Instead, he took something like a really heavy glass bottle and he just started smashing at my windshield, right in front of my face. My windshield shattered. It didn’t break through but there were shards of glass everywhere,” said the woman. “It was a violent attack, completely unprovoked.”

She says her daughter is a teen driver who also drives in the neighborhood and she worries for her family’s safety while pointing out that violence like what she experienced should have harsher penalties.

“I went home and called the police and when the officer came, he said, ‘well even if we can find him, he’ll just get a $100 citation,’” the woman told KOIN 6.


An earlier version of this story included a paragraph referencing the relevant Oregon law providing for a jail sentence in this case, that seems to have disappeared. Why they would edit it out I don’t know. Oregon law recognizes four levels of assault, each one requiring some level of bodily harm. A quick search of our intimidation laws suggests they all require a racial or similar motivation. We’ve outlawed the display of nooses (which is a little terrifying when you realize any looped piece of string now can qualify). We have a “cyberbullying” law.

Intimidation in the Second Degree looked promising, but it too is a “bias crime”. I suspect the police gave the victim a quote for a petty vandalism charge–that is, the law against breaking the windshield of a parked, unoccupied car. That someone can smash your windshield while you’re driving and there’s no law to address it is clearly a lie. A working police department would find the relevant charges.

It appears you can terrorize and intimidate people to your heart’s content–as long as your heart’s in the right place, social justice-wise.

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