PORT ANGELES — A Clallam Bay man accused of committing a felony hate crime against a Black woman who says he traumatized her at a June 13 Black Lives Matter protest wants the charge dismissed, contending the eggs he threw at protesters were not aimed at her.
The felony criminal case has been filed against Jeffrey Michael Henry Dunn, who admitted to a Port Angeles police officer that he yelled racial slurs and threw eggs at the group, according to a probable cause statement written by Officer Swift Sanchez.
Dunn is charged additionally with four counts of gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault for allegedly hitting four other women with eggs at the protest, which occurred at the Clallam County courthouse.
The hate crime offense, which alleges Dunn “maliciously and intentionally” injured the Black woman because of her race, includes a special allegation that he showed an egregious lack of remorse in committing the hate crime.
Following the incident, he added “That egger guy” as his Facebook profile nickname and changed his profile photo to one depicting him throwing the eggs from his pickup truck, according to the probable cause statement written by Port Angeles Police Officer Swift Sanchez.
The alleged hate-crime victim and six members of her family, including her grandchildren, were holding signs and chanting “Black lives matter” when a man later identified as Dunn drove by yelling racial slurs and throwing eggs at the participants, she said in a statement to police.
“When he looked over and noticed we (my black family) was there he came back a second time and threw more eggs in our direction,” she said.
“He proceeded to try to get closer to us as he continued to throw eggs and shout racial slurs and obscenities.”
“My grandchildren were traumatized by the event and now because of this I am no longer able to bring them to any more peaceful protests because they have been terrorized [by] a young man they believe hates them even though they are children. And this hate is based on their color only, not because he knows them,” she said, adding she and her family do not feel safe in the community.
The incident should be taken seriously “because this is a bad reflection on our community as a whole,” she said. “Not to mention the people he actually hit with the eggs.”
Arguments on the dismissal motion, filed this week, will be heard Tuesday in Superior Court. Also scheduled is a status hearing on an unrelated charge against Dunn of possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Snipe said Thursday morning he will file a response by Monday or Tuesday.
Protesters carried signs including “I Can’t Breathe,” “Justice for George Floyd” and “Racism is Taught,” Sanchez said.
Dunn, 24, told her he made three passes by the crowd in his vehicle and threw eggs he had recently purchased. He admitted he yelled the racial slurs described by witnesses and saw people of color in the group but denied aiming the invective or eggs at any specific person, Sanchez said.
“The facts alleged by the state show that Mr. Dunn threw eggs into a crowd of people of mixed race, color and ancestry,” Payne said in the motion, echoing Dunn’s statement to Sanchez.
“The facts do not show that Mr. Dunn targeted any specific person in the crowd, but the crowd in general,” he said.
“The facts do not show that Mr. Dunn specifically selected [the Black woman] because of her race, color, and/or ancestry.”
A witness to the incident heard Dunn yell “something to the effect of: ‘Dark-skinned [plural expletive] don’t belong on our streets,” according to the probable cause statement.
The witness mentioned seeing a Black family in front of the group of protesters “who seemed to be the target of Dunn’s racial slurs,” Sanchez said.
Four women in the crowd said they had been struck by eggs — one on her pants, another on her neck, and two on their feet.
Payne cited the 1993 state Supreme Court case ruling in State v. Talley that involved a cross-burning incident.
Six charges of malicious harassment — the state Legislature later renamed it a hate crime — were dismissed in King County Superior Court, a decision affirmed by the state’s highest court.
In that case, David Talley of Maple Valley complained to bystanders that a mixed-race Black family was moving in next door, using a racial slur, told a member of the family he did not talk with their “kind” and set on fire a 4-foot-tall cross on his property, according to the opinion.
“While we agree that bigotry is a protected class of expression, we disagree that the hate crime statutes punish bigotry,” the justices ruled.
“Despite Talley’s odious behavior, his actions do not fall within the prohibitions of [the statute],” they said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].