Teen cited after video taunts

Medford police have cited a teenage boy on a disorderly conduct charge for appearing to taunt and attempt to instigate a fight with Medford icon "Downtown Dan" Doty, captured on a short video that went viral this week on social media.

But it's much ado about nothing, according to the 53-year-old Doty, who said Thursday he never felt threatened during the Sunday incident in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park and wishes the ordeal would go away.

"What the kid did wasn't really appropriate, but I personally didn't feel harassed," he said. "I'm not going to help in his prosecution, either.

"Everybody's got their panties in an uproar over nothing, but what can you do?" he said.

Police disagree, saying the 13-year-old boy's actions seen on the 25-second video along with witness statements support the citation for disorderly conduct under Medford codes.

In the video, a boy's voice can be heard uttering slurs toward Doty, a sometimes homeless Medford resident who suffered a brain injury as a child and is a well-known downtown figure. At one moment on the video, the boy slowly lifts a fist toward Doty's face.

The citation alleges the boy caused a public alarm and a breach of the peace by appearing to engage in fighting or violent behavior, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

The citation was not, Budreau said, a response to the video's wide circulation on Facebook and boatloads of Internet comments representing a vast spectrum of views.

"If we had an officer driving along and saw that, the same action would have been taken," Budreau said.

The boy was cited late Wednesday at his residence after his parents refused an officer's attempt to interview him, Budreau said. He said the boy's parents were "less than cooperative" in the case.

The boy's mother said she was outraged at the response to the video, calling it "totally absurd," and that she and her family have received multiple death threats via social media.

Doty said he considered the boy a friend with whom he plays basketball at Fichtner-Mainwaring. The mother said everyone's actions immediately before and after the moments seen in the short video paint a far better picture of what happened.

"People are going off this 10-second clip thinking my son is some monster and he's not," she said.

The case will be referred to Jackson County Community Juvenile Justice, police said. The boy also was banned from the park for 30 days.

Officers began their investigation Wednesday after numerous people complained and sent video links to everyone from police dispatchers to Chief Tim George, Budreau said.

Budreau said police considered other possible charges of harassment and second-degree intimidation. Officers, however, could not substantiate any physical contact with Doty, and there was no physical harm or tampering with property, Budreau said. Doty also said the boy didn't touch him.

The case does not need Doty's permission or cooperation to move forward.

"We don't need a victim," Budreau said. "Society is the victim."

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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