An Oregon State University student government representative is facing felony hate crime charges after he allegedly put racist bumper stickers—that included a racial slur—on cars in Corvallis, Ore., last year.
Andrew Oswalt, a 27-year-old chemistry doctoral student, was indicted Tuesday on four criminal counts, including two counts of criminal mischief and two counts of intimidation, which is a hate crime, according to Oregon laws, The Oregonian reports. Oswalt has been arrested and was jailed that same day in lieu of $157,000 bail.
By Wednesday, his bail was increased to $250,000. Oswalt pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday. If Oswalt posts bail, he will be banned from the university’s campus and from having any contact with members of the Corvallis chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. He will also have to surrender four firearms that authorities say they discovered in his home.
According to the news site, Oswalt drew attention to himself last week after he wrote about some of his
trash views in a student newspaper article, sparking outrage on the campus.
It turns out that last week was also the first time he was arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief for what authorities say was his little bumper sticker stunt last summer off campus. However, he was released the same day.
Police say that Oswalt and another unidentified individual put the racist bumper stickers—which contained a hateful slur against black people—on two cars that belonged to social activists parked outside a local food co-op.
The stickers that were placed on the cars covered messages that supported immigrants and refugees.
At the same time, an employee discovered that someone had also put anti-Semitic leaflets on the windshields of every car in the staff parking lot.
“This is a hate crime inspired by ignorance, fueled by racism and aimed at people of color,” Benton County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Joslin told The Oregonian. “It was his intent to terrorize both individuals and a group of people.”
Mere days after his first arrest last week, photos of Oswalt throwing up Nazi salutes from a highway overpass, carrying a swastika flag on Holocaust Remembrance Day and marching with white nationalists at a Portland, Ore., rally last April surfaced on the website of the Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, a group made up of anti-fascist activists from Oregon and Washington state.
This is not the first time that Oswalt’s white supremacist beliefs have been documented, The Oregonian notes. Last July, he and three other known white nationalists were stopped by officers on the Eugene campus of the university. The four men had staples, flyers and a ladder with white supremacist propaganda written on it saying things like, “Diversity means fewer white people.”