Man threatens to stone gay city official for ‘blasphemy’ at public meeting

‘This proves that there is such a violent reaction to the idea that there is even racism in the community’, says assistant city manger who faced abuse

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 05 August 2021 14:30
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City official tells council meeting of homophobic threats received outside meeting

An Oregon city official was threatened with stoning in a public meeting in which he was allegedly called ”a sinner for being gay”.

Eric Osterberg, the assistant city manager of Klamath Falls, Oregon, told colleagues on Monday he was threatened by a man who “brought a rock to this meeting” who accused him of being “a sinner for being gay and “of spreading Aids here in the community”.

He was also accused of blasphemy and “of trying to say that I am the second coming of Christ” by the man, who has not been named.

Mr Osterberg, who is Black, was about to deliver the findings of an equity task force when he was verbally assaulted and threatened in the chamber of Klamath Falls’ city hall.

“I just want to start the meeting off by pointing to you that just having a simple conversation about racism in our community is gaining that level of violence, that threat of violence,” Mr Osterberg told colleagues.

As the Herald and News reported, the man was removed from the building but there was “not enough information to arrest him” as of Monday, according to police.

Mr Osterberg told the news outlet that he had hoped the man would be arrested, “since he made a direct threat to me, and I think it would be pretty bad if he was allowed to just leave”, but that had reportedly not happened.

He added: "I think this proves that there is such a violent reaction to the idea that there is even racism in the community.”

“That people are being threatened by violence in order to try and silence them. And I think that is pretty damning of the community.”

Mr Osterberg is due to leave Klamath Falls in August to become the city manager of Ferguson, Missouri.

The Independent has approached Klamath County Sherff’s Office for comment.

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