The fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white man has sparked protests in Oregon. On Nov. 23, Aidan Ellison, aged 19, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest. The officers responded to the situation of shooting in the parking lot of a hotel in Ashland.
According to police, the argument began over loud music in which Robert Paul Keegan, aged 47, shot Aidan Ellison in the parking lot. Both of them were guests at the hotel, and they did not know each other before the incident.
Oregon Activists Seek Justice After The Fatal Shooting Of Black Teenager
The Oregon community group is now seeking justice in this case, and they want changes that would address racism and end white supremacy across the country. The area is situated near the border of California and is dominated by the white community.
Robert Paul Keegan was arrested on charges of murder even as he claimed that he shot in defense. However, the arresting officers have shot down the claims and filed murder charges against the accused.
Keegan was disturbed with loud music that was played in the parking lot of the hotel at around 4 am. He asked Ellison to turn down the music, which led to an argument at the Stratford Inn hotel. Keegan later went back to his room and got dressed before moving to the front desk of the hotel to complain to the clerk. He grabbed a semiautomatic handgun before heading to the front desk.
When the clerk was trying to sort out the issue with Ellison in the parking lot, Keegan came to the parking lot and confronted the teenager. This led to an argument, and Keegan shot Ellison once in the chest. According to the affidavit submitted by Keegan, Ellison punched him in the face several times before the shooting happened.
However, according to the autopsy report of Ellison, there were no indications of him punching Keegan. Even the arresting officer had said in the report that Keegan had no visible injuries to his face. Both of them were guests at the hotel and did not know each other before the incident, according to police reports.
The local community leaders condemned the incident, and the SOBLACC organization released a statement expressing outrage at the incident. They said that racism continued to endanger black lives, and they want stronger policies that would protect black lives. The group also wanted laws to be stronger to fight anti-black racism, and they wanted stringent punishment for such acts.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said that hate crime charges have to be raised against Keegan. The Ashland Police Chief also said that they are also looking into the case from this angle, and they are open to find any evidence that would support this argument.
The police chief also said that Ellison was killed as the suspect decided to bring a gun into the scene and decided to use it during the argument. He added that it was not the fault of the young man who was murdered.
While Keegan is charged with first-degree manslaughter and reckless endangering, he is not yet charged with a hate crime. As of now, Keegan is held without a bond as he was also carrying a firearm unlawfully. The reckless endangering charge was placed on Keegan as he fired the gun in the hotel clerk’s proximity.
According to the Oregon DOJ, any crime is classified as a hate crime when someone intentionally uses physical offense or threatens injury to another person or property because of the actual or perceived race of the person. The same charges apply when the crime happens due to the color, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the victim.
The Ashland region is predominantly white, with more than 90% from the white community and has just over 1.4% black community members as per the US census data. Julie Akins, Mayor of the area, addressed the residents to take stock of systemic racism during this situation. The city has a population of about 21000.
Activists claim that white supremacy and racism are embedded in the US’s language and culture, and it has spread across all communities. They now want stringent laws against anti-black racism so that such incidents can be avoided in the future.