A Salem man was charged Wednesday with assaulting and seriously injuring a Ukrainian refugee in May because of his national origin.
Prosecutors charged Boris A. Miroshnichencko, 41, with second-degree assault and first-degree bias crime in Marion County Circuit Court.
The victim told police he was blinded in one eye as a result of the attack, according to a probable cause affidavit.
On Nov. 2, a Keizer Police Department officer responded to a report by a man saying he had been assaulted at a Keizer home in May, the report said.
The man told police he and his wife had moved to the U.S. in April as Ukrainian refugees and were living with her uncle in Keizer.
He said on May 15, he invited some friends over to his home. The group included Miroshnichencko, who the victim had never met before.
After they ate dinner and had some drinks, the man said Miroshnichencko asked where “the Nazis” were and said Ukrainians were Nazis. He said Miroshnichencko also called Ukrainians a homophobic slur multiple times, according to an affidavit.
The man said he asked Miroshnichencko to “stop with the name calling,” and his wife’s uncle asked that they take the conversation away from the house because his children were asleep in the home.
The three of them walked from the deck around to the side of the house where the man and Miroshnichencko “discussed why Mr. Miroshnichencko should stop saying insulting things about Ukrainians,” according to the report.
The man told police his wife called him back to the house. He walked toward her before her uncle called him back, telling the man to go into a nearby shed so they could settle their differences.
Thinking they “would make peace,” the man said he walked inside the shed with Miroshnichencko walking behind him, according to the affidavit
“(The man) said he heard the shed door latch behind him and immediately felt ‘danger,’” the report said. “When he heard the door latch is when he realized this would not be a peaceful conversation.”
The man told police the latch was on the outside of the door and had been latched by the uncle. He said he began to turn around when Miroshnichencko struck him in the face and he fell backwards onto the floor.
He said Miroshnichencko climbed on top of his chest, straddled him and “began striking his face repeatedly with closed fists,” the affidavit said. “(The victim) said he thought to himself that if this didn’t stop, he could die.”
The man told police he never struck or initiated any physical confrontation with Miroshnichencko and “had been completely surprised” when Miroshnichencko struck him in the face.
He estimated Miroshnichencko struck him more than 10 times, adding that he barely remembered the shed door opening and said someone picked him up and led him to bed.
The man told police he went to the hospital where he learned his left orbital socket and nose were fractured.
He said “he was blind in his left eye and the doctors said he would never be able to see again out of that eye,” and that his vision in his right eye was also impaired and he had to get glasses. He said he also had nerve damage in his face “which consistently caused him pain.”
The victim said when he and his wife discussed going to the police, her uncle said he would tell police that the victim actually started the fight, that officers would not believe him and that they could be deported.
Her uncle said he would protect Miroshnichencko because they had been friends for 20 years. The victim told police Miroshnichencko paid his medical bills for his injuries.
The victim’s wife told police she heard commotion coming from the shed, saw her uncle standing outside with the latch closed and heard her husband moaning inside the shed. She said she had to scream at him to open the door and when he did, she saw Miroshnichencko straddling and striking her husband with his fist, adding that she had to shine the light of her cell phone in Miroshnichencko’s eyes to get him to stop.
The report said she saw blood all over the floor of the shed and on the lumber inside the shed, and Miroshnichencko was missing the skin on his knuckles’ and had blood on his forearm. She said her husband’s face was “destroyed.”
Keizer Officer Benjamin Howden said in the report that on Nov. 2, he had the victim place a recorded phone call to Miroshnichencko. During the call, he told Miroshnichencko he was interested in experimental medical treatment to help restore his vision.
He told Miroshnichencko he was “obligated” to help pay since he was responsible for his injuries, and Miroshnichencko agreed with him.
Police said the victim provided medical records confirming his injuries.
Miroshnichencko was released Wednesday from Marion County Jail on $50,000 bail.
Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.
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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.