Eugene man accused of pointing knife at 2 men in Salem charged with bias crime

A Eugene man faces charges alleging he threatened to stab two men during a racist attack near downtown Salem.

A Marion County grand jury on Dec. 4 indicted Brandon A. Howard, 38, on eight counts of first-degree bias crime, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, three counts of menacing and harassment.

Howard, who is white, is accused of pointing a knife at two men and uttering racist slurs used to refer to people of Hispanic origin, according to Angela Hedrick, spokeswoman for the Salem Police Department.

The charges also allege that Howard subjected one of the men to “offensive physical contact” and made both victims fear “imminent serious physical injury” because of their race and national origin, court documents showed.

The incident occurred on Oct. 18 at a fast food restaurant in the 100 block of Northeast Center Street, Hedrick said.

Salem police arrested Howard on Dec. 10 and booked him into Marion County Jail, where he was being held as of Tuesday on $50,000 bail, the jail’s roster showed.

Court documents did not specify what, if anything, precipitated the attack.

The bias crime and weapon charges are both Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000.

A hearing is scheduled for Howard to enter a plea on Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court.

He has criminal convictions dating back to 2005 including escape, fleeing police, robbery and assault, court records showed.

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.