Brothers charged with hate crime

Brothers charged with hate crime

Two Medford men are in jail on hate-crime charges after what police say was a racially motivated attack Tuesday afternoon on two black teenagers walking in downtown Medford.

Medford police arrested Shaun Patrick Temple, 21, and Kevin Kaleb Temple, 24, brothers who share a home in the 1100 block of Niantic Street in Medford, on charges of harassment, disorderly conduct, assault and intimidation after they reportedly shouted racial slurs and physically confronted the black teenagers after driving past them on Riverside Avenue. Intimidation charges apply when victims of crimes are targeted because of race, color, religion, country of origin or sexual orientation.

"We can't let incidents like this go by without public outcry," said Connie Saldaña, a board member of the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon. "We don't want people to think this is normal here."

Indeed, the brawl, which was sparked by shouted racial slurs and spilled into traffic on Riverside Avenue, was ugly, but unusual, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.

Police got several phone calls about a disturbance involving at least four people at about 3:25 p.m. Tuesday on Riverside Avenue between Main and Sixth streets.

Officers arrived to find a chaotic scene with people screaming and four young men fighting, Doney said.

One man — later identified as Shaun Temple — ran as police arrived. His brother, Kevin Temple, fought with officers as they took him into custody and had to be restrained, Doney said.

After interviewing witnesses and those involved, officers reported that two black teenagers, a 19-year-old from Sun City, Calif., and a 17-year-old from Murrieta, Calif., were walking north on the west side of Riverside Avenue with two young, white women when the Temples drove by in a van and shouted racial slurs. The van pulled into a parking lot at the Red Lion Hotel and the Temples ran across the street to physically confront the young men while yelling more racial slurs, Doney said.

"It was pretty ugly," he said.

However, Doney said he was pleased the number of witnesses — drivers passing by and car salesmen from nearby lots — who came forward to give police statements. Witnesses pointed out Shaun Temple, who had fled the scene and later returned to the parked van.

Shaun Temple was taken to a local hospital for stitches in a cut on his lip he sustained in the fight, then both Temples were lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where they remained Wednesday.

Shaun Temple is charged with first-degree intimidation, fourth-degree assault, harassment and disorderly contact, and his bail is set at $15,000. Kevin Temple is charged with first-degree intimidation, fourth-degree assault, harassment, disorderly contact and resisting arrest, and his bail is set at $19,000. First-degree intimidation charges apply when two or more people join in intimidation.

The victims in the attack weren't injured, police said.

Doney said this incident was the fourth this year reported as a hate crime in Medford. Last year, the city reported three hate crimes.

The most recently published Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics on hate crimes show that in 2005 Medford reported one, Eagle Point reported one, Phoenix reported two and Jackson County reported two. Local victims were targeted because of race, religion and sexual orientation, the FBI report said.

Racially motivated crime "is more the exception and not the rule," said Debra Lee, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Legal Services and a member of Medford's Multicultural Commission.

"It's important to have our community take a stand against incidents like this," she said. "This area has had some bad history, but this is 2007."

Some of that history includes Ku Klux Klan rallies in the 1920s, when the Klan reached its peak of popularity nationwide. However, white supremacists were active in the county in the 1990s, Doney said.

He said white supremacist activity here and across the Northwest has diminished, but Medford police still see a range of crime, from vandalism to murder, that they can link to bias. He said other possible hate crimes may not have clearly provable links to a bias motivation or may not be reported to police at all.

Saldaña said she was disappointed by this week's incident, but "not too surprised," as Southern Oregon's limited diversity leaves many people with little contact with other races and cultures, and lack of familiarity can lead to fear of others.

Both Saldaña and Lee called for more dialogue to help people value their differences, understand others and find common ground.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or

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