Multnomah County, Ore. – A Portland man who threatened to harm two young boys because of their race will learn his fate this morning. In December of last year police say a seven year old black boy was taking out of the trash near Southeast 92nd and Division. That’s when 61-year-old Michael Amatullo, who is white, started screaming racist language at the boy. The boy’s 15-year-old brother, who’s also black, stepped in to defend him. Amatullo started screaming at both of them. The 15-year-old physically threatened the man. Then the man went inside his home, grabbed a knife, and came back out threatening the boys with the weapon. The boys ran away and hid. Both the man and the boys called 911. Amatullo was found guilty of multiple crimes back in July. He’ll be sentenced in Multnomah county court at 9am.
Man Convicted Of Hate Crimes For Yelling Slurs, Threats
Michael Amatullo convicted of bias crime for screaming racial slurs and threatening to harm two boys
Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced that 61-year-old Michael Amatullo was found guilty on July 17, 2019 of two counts of intimidation in the second degree, two counts of menacing and one count of unlawful use of a weapon after he threatened to harm two boys because of their race.
Intimidation in the second degree is a bias crime in Oregon.
Amatullo was acquitted of one count of unlawful use of a weapon.
This investigation started on December 18, 2018 when Portland Police responded to the 9200-block of Southeast Division Street on reports of a disturbance. Upon arrival, law enforcement contacted two victims, a seven year old boy and a 15 year old boy, both of whom are African American, and learned that their neighbor had used racist language towards both and threatened them with a knife.
During the three-day trial, the state presented evidence to show that the incident started when the seven year old boy walked from his apartment to throw out some trash when Amatullo, who is white, started yelling and screaming at the boy. Amatullo repeatedly used racist language towards the boy.
The boy’s older brother saw the disturbance and stepped in between the two, according to testimony provided at trial.
Amatullo then started screaming racist expletives towards the 15 year old victim.
Fearing for his safety, and the safety of his brother, the 15 year old physically threatened Amatullo, according to trial testimony.
As the shouting continued, Amatullo went inside his apartment, grabbed a kitchen knife, went back to his doorway, and held the knife up at shoulder level as if he was going to stab the 15 year old.
During trial, the state presented evidence that proved Amatullo was about six feet from both victims while armed with the knife.
Both boys ran away and hid under the stairwell of a neighboring apartment.
Two separate 9-1-1 calls were placed, one by the 15 year old boy, the other by Amatullo.
The jury heard the 9-1-1 calls which included Amatullo using racist language to describe the victims.
Upon his arrest, while in the back of a police vehicle, Amatullo used racist and anti-sematic language towards the officer and his family.
Amatullo will be sentenced on August 12, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. with Judge Christopher A. Ramras.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was an active participant of the Oregon Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Task Force and helped draft the language that is in Senate Bill 577. The new law will rename the offense of “intimidation” to “bias crime,” add gender identity to the list of protected categories and remove the requirement that requires two or more people commit the crime in order to make it a felony.
All potential bias crime cases, whether they are a felony or misdemeanor, are reviewed by the Violent Crimes Unit within the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. If a misdemeanor bias crimes case is issued, the felony-level attorney will retain the case.
No additional information on State v. Amatullo can be released at this time.