Maine attorney general to file civil rights complaint in attack on Asian woman and daughter in Portland
The Maine Attorney General is filing a civil rights complaint against a Portland man accused of assaulting an Asian American woman and her daughter last week, urging the woman to “return to your country.”
Troy Sprague, 47, was arrested Saturday for a criminal accident and interference with constitutional and civil rights. He was released on bail.
The Attorney General’s complaint seeks an order to protect the woman and her family by prohibiting Sprague from contacting them and violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.
“We witness an unstoppable increase in hate crimes against people of Asian origin in our nation,” Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a press release. “We will not tolerate such attacks in Maine and we will act quickly to counter allegations like those that were received in Portland last week.
“We encourage every member of the Asian-American community in Maine to contact their local law enforcement agency if they are exposed to threats or acts of violence or property damage based on prejudice against their race, ethnicity, or national origin. We will review all such cases to see if they meet the criteria for enforcement under our Civil Rights Act. “
Marpheen Chann, president of the Maine Cambodian Community Association and educator at the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center, welcomed the attorney general’s action on Monday, but said there was still much work to be done in law enforcement on recognizing and addressing racism react.
“I think it’s a very important statement from AG Frey,” said Chann. “We have to call racism what it is. It’s racism and that act was a racist act against an Asian American woman and her daughter while they were trying to start their day. I think Attorney General Frey took a step in the right direction to call it what it is and to make the public aware that this is not acceptable behavior. “
The woman and daughter were in their car last week waiting for an oil change at 471 Forest Ave., the complaint read. Sprague was walking down the street when he turned and started scolding the woman. He told her to “go back to your country” and “you Chinese go back to your country”.
Sprague then jumped over the guardrail separating the sidewalk from the gas station and kicked the woman’s partially open window. His kicking damaged her rearview mirror and sent debris into her car and hit her daughter.
Police said Sprague was homeless and it was unclear Monday if he had a lawyer.
There are no criminal charges of “hate crimes” in the Maine Statute. A person charged with civil rights violations may be charged with violating the Constitution or civil rights or, in cases involving an injunction under the Civil Rights Act, with knowingly violating a civil rights order. Both are Class D crimes, punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $ 2,000.
In addition, any criminal offense may be treated as a hate crime at conviction if the court determines that the accused has identified the victim on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or homelessness.”
While there is a federal hate crime law in place, it has a higher law enforcement threshold and has restrictions on the circumstances in which a case can be brought, such as: B. That the crime results in willful assault or attempted assault. There are also certain circumstances related to the federal charge, such as: B. if the crime takes place across state borders or concerns a weapon that has traveled in interstate or foreign trade.
A recent study by the Center for Hate and Extremism Research found that the number of anti-Asian hate crimes in America’s largest cities rose 145 percent over the past year, even though the overall hate crime rate fell 6 percent.
Last week, after the murder of eight people, including six Asian American women, in Georgia, President Biden said he supported the passage of a COVID-19 hate crime law that would accelerate the federal government’s response to the rise of During the Pandemic Hate Crimes are helping state and local governments improve hate crime reporting and making hate crime information more accessible to Asian American communities.
Police learn to identify impairments while volunteers are stoned at the Auburn Training Institute