Salem man accused of threatening Black man with bat charged with bias crime

A Salem man hurled racist slurs at another man before threatening him with a baseball bat Monday, police say.

William A. Main II, 20, was charged Aug. 16 with unlawful use of a weapon — a felony — as well as menacing and second-degree bias crime in Marion County Circuit Court, according to court records.

Around 9:56 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 15, Salem police responded to a 911 call from a man reporting another man was swinging a bat and hitting his truck near Southeast 14th and Mill streets. The call taker could hear “lots of yelling” and the caller reporting he was threatened with a bat, according to a Salem police probable cause affidavit.

A Salem officer arrived to find the caller seated in his work truck on Southeast 14th Street. A man who police later identified as Main was standing with a woman outside a Honda parked alongside the truck.

The caller told police he was driving north on Southeast 14th Street near Southeast Hines Street, and was driving slowly because he was looking for an address. He then noticed a Honda driving behind him “extremely close” to the bumper of his truck, the affidavit said.

Unsure where he was or where to go, he moved forward in the intersection. Main then sped past him in the Honda and screamed at him to move, according to the report.

The man told police he got back onto Southeast 14th Street and noticed the Honda was stopped at 14th and Mill Streets. As the man approached the intersection, Main sped off before pulling over just north of the intersection. 

As the man pulled alongside the Honda, Main screamed at him to pull over, calling him a racist slur used to refer to Black people, according to the report.

The man, who was Black, said Main exited the Honda and came over to his passenger side window. He said Main had his head inside the vehicle, again called him the slur and said, “I will kick your ass,” the report said.

The man stayed in his car and did not threaten Main in any way, according to the report. He said Main then reached into his Honda, grabbed a large wooden baseball bat and “was holding it in a threatening manner.”

The report said the man feared Main was going to hit him with the bat and tried pulling his truck forward to drive off. Main had to back his head out to avoid being hit with the pillar between windows.

The man said Main then walked behind the cab of the passenger side of the truck and swung the bat at the truck twice. The man called 911 and exited the vehicle.

Main told police the man was driving in front of his car driving extremely slow, claiming the man’s speed was “so slow it was unsafe,” according to the report.

Main said he passed the man and yelled at him “(expletive) move!” claiming the man then followed him and stopped next to Main’s car when he pulled over.

“I took it too far with the bat,” he told police.

The report said Main admitted to exiting his car, grabbing the wooden baseball bat, approaching the man’s passenger side and confronting him.

“William (confirmed) the man never had a weapon or made direct threats of violence that would justify the bat being brought out,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Main denied intentionally swinging the bat “but stated it could have happened when he was upset,” the report said.

A woman told police she drove by during the altercation and also called 911. She reported seeing Main holding a baseball bat, standing outside the man’s truck, yelling something like “pull over” and swinging the bat at the truck.

Another witness who lives nearby told police he heard Main call the man a racist slur and threaten to beat him up with the bat. The witness said the man “was never the aggressor and tried to calm the situation down, never threatening any violence,” the report said.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter starting at $5 a month. Click I want to subscribe!

Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.