Samuel Corbett, 37, chased a Black teenage girl while screaming: “Bunch of, you know, N-word, racial slurs, all you guys should die, if I had a switchblade on me I’d kill you right now,” according to witnesses in the Beaverton, Ore., incident. Corbett grabbed the girl’s backpack and tried to pull her into traffic, but she got free.
Then three bystanders intervened: Ain Avila distracted Corbett from the girl, and AM/PM gas station employee Douglas Short and another man helped the girl get away from Corbett and into the nearby store.
” This poor girl comes walking in and she goes, ‘I was just attacked,'” Susan Hughes, AM/PM manager, told KOIN 6 News. “She was extremely upset and she was [shaking].”
Of Corbett, she said: “He literally started yelling at her at the top of his lungs and took a swing at her.”
Corbett, who has been known to have mental health issues according to KOIN 6 News, fled but was caught and arrested for second-degree intimidation, menacing and second-degree disorderly conduct. He is currently at Washington County Jail with a scheduled court appearance on Tuesday. Bail was set at $250.
Jim Monger, chief of Beaverton police, said, “This type of crime won’t be tolerated in our community, which is evident by the response from our community members. Thank you for standing up against racism.”
Since President Trump’s election, ProPublica partnered with local news to track hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and southwest Washington and found that Oregon leads the nation in reporting hate/bias incidents.
“We would never want a bystander to put themselves in danger, their physical body in danger, but it’s a personal choice for them,” said Officer Jeremy Shaw, a spokesperson for the police department. “We appreciate it, but we wouldn’t advocate for someone to go out there, be a vigilante, and put themselves in danger.”
Last year a racially charged attack against two Black women on a train in Portland resulted in the violent and deadly attack on good Samaritans that defended the women.
Avila said that incident came to mind but didn’t deter him from helping: “I’m pretty sure if no one was here he could have pushed her into oncoming traffic and we could have had a casualty…. We’re all in this together.”
The teen was just walking on the sidewalk headed to school. Now a police victim advocate has reached out to her and the family to provide support in the wake of the traumatizing event.