Man cries in court after his threats to Muslim couple result in hate crime charges
Just a few days after two Portland men were stabbed to death defending two young girls from a white supremacist’s racist, Islamophobic attack, 49-year-old Oregon man Frederick Nolan Sorrell followed an African American Muslim couple in his truck for twenty blocks, allegedly yelling numerous racial slurs at them, and at several times, trying to strike their vehicle with his own.
Sorrell allegedly shouted “take off that fucking burka”, “this is America”, and “go back to your fucking country”, while riding alongside the victims’ car, and also “made pointing hand gestures that were said to resemble pulling the trigger of a gun” according to the the Oregon Committee of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Portland Police’s “Bias Crimes” unit investigated the incident, and on July 10, Sorrell was arraigned on hate crime charges in a Multnomah County courtroom, where he pleaded not guilty to second degree intimidation. Following the arraignment, Sorrell broke down into tears in front of television cameras.
“I never tried to run into them. I was just going to work. I never tried to follow them. I never tried to make contact with them after the fact,” Sorrell told local station KGW. He said that his lack of education is to blame for his actions. “I guess my fear and paranoia, I just yelled out. I don’t go on social media looking to hate on people… I guess my ignorance and my stupidity is why I opened my mouth, and I shouldn’t have and I claim full responsibility.”
Despite Sorrell’s claims that he doesn’t “go on social media to hate on people,” he is restricted from going on Facebook while out on bail because the judge said he had made several discriminatory comments on the platform.
“I don’t know who you are. I’m sorry I blurted out what I blurted out, my paranoia my fear. I don’t hate you I don’t know you,” Sorrell added. “I don’t wish death upon these people.”
He also said that if the couple wanted to meet and explain to him — a 49-year-old, fully-grown adult man — why it was wrong to do what he did, he’d be open to listening to them. “If the victims want to sit down and talk I would love to sit down and have an open conversation with them and have an open mind and apologize,” he said. “I just don’t know them, and all I know is fear-based information.”