A former Clackamas County employee convicted of spray-painting a Nazi swastika next to a memorial for a Black man who died after attempting suicide while incarcerated will spend 90 days in jail after his sentencing this week.
Collin Michael Williams, 21, was also sentenced to 60 months of probation and $1,080 in fines at the January 10 hearing. Williams had pleaded guilty in December 2021 to second-degree bias crime, second-degree criminal mischief, abuse of a memorial and third-degree criminal mischief.
He was arrested in August 2021 after police unearthed social media evidence pointing to him as the person responsible for vandalizing a memorial to honor Jermelle Madison, a 23-year-old Black man who had died of self-inflicted wounds one month earlier after attempting suicide while in the custody of the Clackamas County Jail.
The memorial had been left at the intersection of Beavercreek Road and Library Court in Oregon City after an August 6 vigil. Williams had knocked over candles and broken picture frames that contained photos of Madison.
Detectives were allegedly able to identify Williams’ vehicle in surveillance video in the area of the crime at the time it happened. They also got a subpoena for banking information related to the purchase of the spray paint.
Police said they located a video Williams allegedly recorded of himself destroying the memorial while using a fake name with the caption, “I unenthusiastically commit a hate crime.” The suspect also posted, “I also spray-painted a fun German windmill on the sidewalk for good measure. DM for the pic.”
According to police, Williams admitted he was responsible for painting the swastika and destroying the memorial. The cans of spray paint, along with other evidence, were recovered from his vehicle.
At the time, Williams had worked for Clackamas County for about a year, most recently as an engineering technician for the county surveyor’s office with an annual salary of $44,000. He resigned shortly after the arrest, while the county was in the process of terminating him.
Following his arrest, Clackamas County Administrator Gary Schmidt posted a statement saying his alleged behavior was unacceptable.
“We do not tolerate hate in this county,” Schmidt said. “We do not tolerate hate crimes towards anyone. At Clackamas County we strive to create a safe and prosperous environment for all members of our community.
“The crime charged against one of our employees does not reflect the values of the county and our employees. We have deep sorrow for community members and employees who may have been harmed by this act.”
Initially charged with four counts and facing a maximum possible sentence of more than three years in prison and $20,000 in fines, Williams’ third-degree criminal mischief charge was merged into his second-degree bias crime charge.
Williams will get credit toward his probation for jail time served and has been ordered by Circuit Judge Cody Weston to receive a mental health evaluation.
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