In Portland, Ore., 41-year-old FedEx driver Timothy Warren didn’t know he’d wind up killing a man during a dispute over dangerous driving. When he stopped his truck to confront Joseph Magnuson, who had screamed that Warren was driving his delivery truck too fast, began hurling insults and racial slurs at him.
Magnuson, whose insults were unrelenting even after Warren’s explanation, had stepped out of his vehicle, as had Warren. According to Warren, Magnuson, 55, swing first. Warren swung back, landing a single blow above his foe’s left eye.
Magnuson took a tumble, briefly losing consciousness. He died later that night.
What happens next will shock you: Prosecutors decided against charging Warren, a black man, with a crime.
Magnuson’s death was precipitated by “extremely poor health,” according to a medical examiner. Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs also concluded the punch itself was less than fatal.
“They report,” Gibbs wrote, “that Mr. Magnuson then ‘very aggressively’ began yelling at Mr. Warren to slow down. Mr. Warren stopped his truck while Mr. Magnuson continued to berate him. The witnesses agree that Mr. Magnuson called Mr. Warren a ‘fucking nigger’ in combination with other aggressive and abusive phrases ‘over and over again.’ ”
Three witnesses who saw the scuffle said Magnuson threw a drink before he swung.
Warren has yet to be reached for comment. Honestly, good for him. Sadly, there’s no guarantee he’d have been the beneficiary of witnesses, a level-headed prosecutor, or today’s Thanksgiving dinner, elsewhere.