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Clackamas County employee charged with hate crime

A 20 year-old Clackamas County employee has been charged with a hate crime after police say he painted a swastika on the sidewalk beside a memorial display for a Black man who died after being held at the county’s jail.

Collin Michael Williams, who is white, was arrested Thursday and charged with a bias crime, criminal mischief and abuse of a memorial.

On Wednesday, Oregon City police received a report that a memorial display near the county’s developmental services building had been vandalized. The memorial display was the result of a vigil held days earlier for Jermelle Madison, who had been found unresponsive in the county’s jail in June and later died. Madison’s death remains under investigation.

Police asked businesses in the area for any surveillance footage of people buying spray paint around the time the memorial was thought to have been destroyed. On Thursday, that led police to their suspect, Madison, and his vehicle. They also found a social media post of the suspect videotaping himself defacing the memorial.

According to police, the video was captioned: ”I unenthusiastically commit a hate crime.” The suspected also stated, “I also spray-painted a fun German windmill on the sidewalk for good measure. DM for the pic.”

Police were able to identify the suspect as Williams and also determined he worked for Clackamas County.

During an interview, Williams admitted to destroying the memorial and painting the swastika.

Detectives filed for a subpoena for Williams’ banking information related to the purchase of spray paint and also recovered cans of spray paint from Williams’ vehicle, police said.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting