Oregon man sentenced to 90 days in jail, ordered to write essay for yelling ‘go back to your country’

Posted at 8:41 PM, Nov 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 22:41:04-05

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) — A man was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to write an essay for yelling “go back to your country” and spitting in a person’s face.

The Multnomah County District Attorney said 37-year-old Harold Eugene Denson III will have to write a 500-word essay after he told an immigrant to “go back to your country” and then spat in that person’s face.

On Nov. 22, Denson pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of second-degree bias crime. A Multnomah County judge proposed the idea of having Denson write the essay as part of the sentence imposed.

Denson received 90 days of jail with credits for time served on the unlawful use of a weapon conviction.

Denson has until March to complete the essay, according to the District Attorney, which the court ordered be focused on the process and challenges people can have when moving to the United States from another country.

The DA said if the court accepts Denson’s essay, the state and the victim both support the court allowing Denson to withdraw his plea to the bias crime charge. The charge would then be dismissed.

However, if Denson does not complete the essay in the appropriate time or it does not meet the court’s requirements, Denson will be convicted of the bias crime and could face additional sanction, according to the DA.

According to court documents, the investigation started on Aug. 25 when the victim, an immigrant from Ukraine, was working at a local car dealership. As the manager, he was told that there was someone on property who had thrown trash all over. The victim grabbed a trash bag and approached the man, who was later identified as Denson. He gave Denson the trash bag and asked him to clean up the area.

Denson initially said thank you, which prompted the victim to start walking away. However, Denson suddenly became agitated and started yelling that the car dealership was not the victim’s property and proclaimed it was “American soil.”

Denson asked the victim if he was American and where he was born. The victim turned around and briefly spoke with Denson who became more agitated. Denson spit in the victim’s face and told him to go back to his own country, according to court documents.

Court documents said Denson then reached down and picked up a box cutter and pointed it at the victim and threatened to cut him.

Police responded and located Denson nearby and recovered a box cutter from his pocket upon arrest.