Prosecutors say a FedEx driver won’t face charges after he fatally punched a Portland, Oregon man who shouted racial slurs and tried to hit the driver.
Joseph Magnuson died following the encounter with Timothy Warren, who was driving his truck through a Portland, Ore., neighborhood when Magnuson screamed that he was going too fast.
Warren stopped his truck and tried explaining to Magnuson that night in late September that he was exhausted and just wanted to get done with his work. Magnuson, 55, responded aggressively and hurled insults and racist slurs toward him.
Warren, who is Black, was not having it. He stepped out of the truck and both men exchanged heated words. Magnuson took a swing and missed and Warren swung back, punching Magnuson above his left eye. He briefly lost consciousness, then died later that evening.
Prosecutors have decided not to charge Warren with a crime, as he did not intend to kill Magnuson and acted in self-defense during the Sept. 26 incident.
Magnuson’s death from the fall was attributed to “extremely poor health,” a medical examiner concluded, and the punch itself was not fatal, Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs wrote.
Warren was within his legal right to challenge Magnuson’s “racist vitriol,” Gibbs noted.
Eyewitnesses all maintained that Warren was not speeding and that Magnuson started created a scene and then escalated it.
“They report,” Gibbs wrote, “that Mr. Magnuson then ‘very aggressively’ began yelling at Mr. Warren to slow down. Mr. Warren stopped his truck while Mr. Magnuson continued to berate him. The witnesses agree that Mr. Magnuson called Mr. Warren a ‘fucking ******’ in combination with other aggressive and abusive phrases ‘over and over again.”
“However,” the prosecutor wrote, “the decision by Mr. Warren, who is Black, to not let the racist vitriol to which he was being subjected go unanswered is not of legal significance . . . Mr. Warren was within his right to exit his vehicle and verbally challenge the manner in which Mr. Magnuson was addressing him.”
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