PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man has been charged with a felony hate crime for allegedly threatening to kill a Black man while using racial slurs on Ediz Hook.
Samuel Elliot Ketchum, 39, was charged Monday with one hate crime offense, two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.
He will be arraigned in Clallam County Superior Court on Aug. 27.
Port Angeles police said Ketchum repeatedly stated that he was “going to kill me a (N-word)” before driving a Toyota pickup towards a Black man in a car at about 2:20 a.m. last Wednesday, forcing the driver to veer to avoid being rammed.
A woman who was in the car with the alleged victim told police that Ketchum had said “we gonna kill a (N-word) tonight” before trying to ram the vehicle, officer Tyler Mueller wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.
Police used spike strips to stop the car Ketchum was driving on Marine Drive and stopped a fleeing Ketchum with a stun gun, according to the probable cause statement.
Ketchum also was alleged to have set fire to the entrance sign at Coast Guard Group Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles and destroyed a light that illuminates the sign.
Port Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Jason Viada had said federal charges were possible for the property damage at the Coast Guard base.
Ketchum was being held Monday in the Clallam County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
He repeatedly used the F-word and raised his middle finger at the court at his bail hearing Thursday, prompting Superior Court Judge Brent Basden to double the requested bail and cut his microphone.
Ketchum made no further outbursts in a brief court hearing Monday.
Basden had ordered Ketchum to undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. A competency hearing may be necessary before Ketchum’s arraignment, defense attorney Harry Gasnick said in court Monday.
Ketchum’s case was the second hate crime charged in Clallam County Superior Court since 2020.
Jeffery Michael Dunn, 25, of Clallam Bay pleaded guilty last month to committing a hate crime and misdemeanor assault by throwing eggs at Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Port Angeles in June 2020.
Dunn is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
A hate crime is punishable by a maximum five years in prison or $10,000 fine.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].