SALT LAKE CITY — A former Draper man was found guilty of a hate crime late Wednesday following a three-day civil rights trial.
Mark Olic Porter, 59, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court of a racially motivated assault with a dangerous weapon, stemming from an incident with an African-American neighbor at the Adagio Apartments, 13343 Minuteman Drive, on Nov. 3, 2016.
Federal court documents state Porter yelled a racial slur at the 7-year-old son of Mike Waldvogel and told the child to “get out of here” as the boy rode by on his scooter. When Waldvogel came to his son’s defense, Porter reached over the railing and used an electrified stun cane on Waldvogel, injuring him and knocking him to the ground.
Waldvogel was able to get the cane from Porter, who became upset and told responding police that it was stolen, according to court documents.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Porter had mentioned to an apartment maintenance employee that he didn’t want to live near any African-American people, court documents state. Porter had also previously told another neighbor that he thought African-Americans should be “exterminated.”
“Porter’s violent conduct, motivated by his intolerance of another race, is an egregious crime that will not be tolerated by this justice department,” said civil rights prosecutor and acting assistant attorney general John Gore. “We will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute hate crime cases.”
Porter, who was living in Lake Havasu, Arizona, when he was arrested, was originally charged in 3rd District Court with third-degree felony aggravated assault and various misdemeanor charges stemming from his Draper arrest. Those charges were dropped when federal prosecutors and the Civil Rights Division became involved.
He was previously charged in Idaho and convicted in Nevada for assaults involving African-American employees at two unrelated retail establishments, prosecutors noted.
“There is no place in Utah for race-motivated hatred and violence,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber. “All families deserve the opportunity to live peaceably in their homes where they may pursue happiness in safe environments.”
Huber said the sentiment of the Utah jury is that “this criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”
Porter is set to be sentenced May 30. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.