Oregon State student charged with hate crime over racist bumper stickers

A doctoral student at Oregon State University faces felony hate crime charges after being arraigned Tuesday for allegedly placing racist bumper stickers on cars last June.

Andrew Joseph Oswalt, 27, was indicted on four criminal counts, including two counts of criminal mischief and two counts of intimidation, which is a hate crime in Oregon, the Oregonian reported.

"This is a hate crime inspired by ignorance, fueled by racism and aimed at people of color," Ryan Joslin, a deputy district attorney for Benton County, told the newspaper. "It was his intent to terrorize both individuals and a group of people."

"This is a hate crime inspired by ignorance, fueled by racism and aimed at people of color. It was his intent to terrorize both individuals and a group of people."

— Ryan Joslin, a deputy district attorney for Benton County, Ore.

Oswalt and another person plastered bumper stickers containing a racist slur for African-Americans on two cars belonging to social activists parked outside a local food co-op, authorities said. The bumper stickers covered messages on cars that supported immigrants and refugees, Faith Reidenbach, co-founder of the local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, told the newspaper.

Oswalt was arrested Tuesday and jailed in lieu of $157,000 bail, but that was raised to $250,000 Wednesday, the newspaper reported, citing court records.

He remained in custody, but if he posts bail, he will be banned from the OSU campus and prohibited from having any contact with the local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, a group designed to mobilize support for people of color and social justice issues.

Oswalt is part of the student goverment, but now faces recall efforts to remove him, Willamette Week reported.

Oswalt pleaded not guilty to all charges on Thursday.