Police: Murder of Black Teen in Oregon a Hate Crime

Police in Oregon say a 38-year-old man and his girlfriend who ran over and killed a black teenager last month targeted the victim because of his race. Russell Orlando Courtier and Colleen Hunt both entered not guilty pleas Tuesday to charges of intimidation for last month’s incident. Under Oregon law, a charge of intimidation means the suspects acted based on the victim’s race. Initially, the couple had been charged with murder in the death of 19-year-old Larnell Malik Bruce, who was run down in a 7-Eleven parking lot. Bruce had reportedly gotten into an altercation with Courtier inside the store before Courtier and Hunt went after him in their vehicle. Courtier’s ties to a white-supremacist group came to light when local media noticed he had an “EK” tattoo, standing for “European Kindred,” a street gang affiliated with the KKK and the Aryan Brotherhood. At that time, police said they didn’t have enough evidence to classify the killing as a hate crime. But witness interviews and expert testimony led to a re-indictment of the couple by a grand jury Tuesday.