Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Oregon City Police Arrested a County Employee For Vandalizing Black Man's Memorial with a Swastika

The memorial was in honor of a 23-year-old who died in June after attempting suicide while in custody at the county jail.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Oregon City Police Arrested a County Employee For Vandalizing Black Man's Memorial with a Swastika
Image: Mehaniq (Shutterstock)

As we’ve seen time and time again in recent years, it’s apparently almost impossible to put up a monument or memorial to a Black person in this country without it being vandalized by racists.

Advertisement

Here’s the latest example: The Oregonian reports that a 20-year-old white man was arrested Thursday after posting a video of himself defacing a memorial for Jermelle Madison, a Black man who died after attempting suicide last month while in custody at the Clackamas County, Oregon jail.

The video showed Collin Michael Williams kicking over candles, pictures, flowers and signs at the memorial, according to The Oregonian. Oregon City Police said that Williams, who worked as a surveyor for Clackamas County, also spray painted a swastika on the sidewalk next to the memorial.

Advertisement

CBS affiliate KOIN-TV reports that Williams admitted to vandalizing the memorial, and according to prosecutors, has displayed a “pattern of dangerous radical thinking”–including making threats to kill Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and displaying “a terrifying amount of racist rhetoric.”

More from KOIN:

“What was your life about that you hate somebody that’s already dead? ‘Cause they’re Black? I don’t understand that,” Lynette Madison explained she was in disbelief when she heard her grandson’s memorial [had] been vandalized with imagery of a swastika.

Madison’s family told KOIN 6 the memorial was erected at the corner of Beavercreek Road in Oregon City, as a place to remember the loss of Jermelle and help raise awareness for those struggling with mental health crises in the system.

Advertisement

According to The Oregonian, 23-year-old Jermelle Madison was previously arrested by police for missing a June 14 court date stemming from an attempted use of a weapon charge. His family said he was lashing out due to his father’s cancer diagnosis.

Caysha Clayton, who spoke to The Oregonian on behalf of Madison’s family, said he missed the June court date because his father died on May 26.

Advertisement

From The Oregonian:

Deputies arrested Madison, lodging him at the Clackamas County Jail. His family requested he be placed on suicide watch, pointing to a history of mental health crises.

Madison attempted to kill himself while inside the jail. Deputies responded, but he succumbed to his injuries four days later.

“He should still be here,” Clayton said.

Clayton said that while Madison’s family is still seeking answers from law enforcement about his death, The Oregonian reports, they are thankful that Williams was arrested for vandalizing the memorial.

Advertisement

Clackamas County Administrator Gary Schmidt issued the following statement to Fox affiliate KPTV in response to Williams’ arrest:

“We do not tolerate hate in this county. We do not tolerate hate crimes towards anyone. At Clackamas County we strive to create a safe and prosperous environment for all members of our community. The crime charged against one of our employees does not reflect the values of the county and our employees. We have deep sorrow for community members and employees who may have been harmed by this act.” 

Advertisement

Williams is due in court on Oct. 7, according to KOIN.