Mom says man spit on teen kids, yelled racial slurs, threw cup with liquid at family in SE Portland

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – A man is wanted after police say he had an altercation with two teenagers in an alleged bias crime in southeast Portland back in December 2023.

On Dec. 29, 2023 just after 2 p.m. while Kanika was at work, her 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son were walking on Southeast Burnside and Southeast 28th Avenue to Starbucks when out of nowhere, they say they were approached by a man.

Kanika said her daughter called her and said a homeless man had crossed the street, spit on her and her brother, called them racial slurs and said that he hates their kind.

“I can hear the panic and her voice. All I can do at that point is grab my keys and my phone that’s it. And just leave work,” Kanika said. “I told them please at least get to the Starbucks so you’re in a safe situation until I get there I will grab you so we can go home.”

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When she arrived, the suspect was sitting at the bus stop.

Kanika said he got up from his seat and sprinted toward them. Then he took a cup, filled with brown liquid, and threw it at them.

“At that moment, I just kind of blacked out, I went red. I dropped my phone and everything and the – so the man and I – we had an altercation, and I did, we fought, and I hit him to the ground.”

The suspect got up and got away before police could arrive.

“I don’t care about me, I’m an adult, but where do things stop with kids? You had no right to come and approach my kids,” Kanika said. “They were minors, minding their own business, not even bothering you.”

She said she wants officials to make a change.

“They need to come in and actually put a plan in. Stop inviting so much homeless or individuals to come here without having a plan so it doesn’t put our streets where you can’t be out here safely.”

Nearly two months later, Kanika says her kids still have a hard time sleeping.

“It’s hard to explain to your child. How does your skin color be an issue in 2024? Why is it you can’t walk down the street without having that be a threat? As a parent you answer it, but it’s still not enough.”

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According to data from the Portland Police Bureau, bias crimes – sometimes called “hate crimes” – are a growing problem in Portland.

The FOX 12 Investigates team has analyzed the data from PPB and found a dramatic increase in bias crimes and incidents just last year.

In 2016 police noted just 12 reported bias crimes, a number which has grown almost every year since.

The number steadily grew to 19 in 2017, 28 in 2018, and fast-forward to 55 reported crimes in both 2021 and 2022. And in 2023, there were 128 reported crimes.

That’s more than double the year before.

In 2021, PPB started recording bias incidents along with crimes, which they describe as actions with a bias element, but not necessarily a crime.

These numbers have also seen a progressive increase. Starting with 11 reported bias incidents in 2020, 43 in 2021, 90 in 2022, and finally, 163 reported incidents last year.

Anyone who has information about this incident, or the identity and location of this suspect, please e-mail [email protected] attn: bias crimes unit and reference case number 23-334800.

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