Springfield Police arrested Michael Joseph Schlimmer, 52, for two counts of Bias Crime in the first degree, four counts of Menacing, two counts of Disorderly Conduct in the second degree, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Criminal Mischief.
On July, 8 at about 1:30 pm Springfield Police received a report from a community member that a person, later identified as Michael Schlimmer, had threatened him and and his girlfriend with a knife near 14th and Main. During that incident, witnesses say Schlimmer made racist remarks and threats towards that community member, who was Black. The suspect was unknown to the couple. The couple was able to get away from Schlimmer.
While responding to that incident, Springfield Police received another call that a person matching Schlimmer’s description had broken a glass door at Bobbi’s VIP Room at 1195 Main Street. The suspect left the location prior to the officers’ arrival.
Officers arrived in the area, found the suspect, and arrested him two blocks away. Officers talked to people at the business who said Schlimmer threatened a woman customer who was playing a video lottery game.
That woman told police that Schlimmer had approached her from behind and whispered in her ear that he was going to “murder” her. She said turned towards Schlimmer. Schlimmer then threatened her with his fist and acted aggressively towards her. Like the first caller, this person was also Black.
When interviewed by police, Schlimmer made statements corroborating victim and witness statements.
“This behavior is appalling and will not be tolerated by SPD or the Springfield community. Everyone in our community has the right to be safe,” Chief Andrew Shearer said, noting that, while bias incidents and crimes sometimes target specific individuals, they often violate an entire group or community’s sense of safety and belonging. “Graffiti on the wall, fliers, anonymous emails and language meant to harass individuals convey intolerance that impacts all of us.”
The Definition of a bias crime in the first degree per ORS 166.165, states in part that “A person commits a bias crime in the first degree if the person intentionally, because of the person’s perception of another person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin, places another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.”
The Springfield Police Department encourages the public to report any activity of biased crimes to Springfield Police.