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Portland grand jury clears pair accused of pummeling man in MAGA hat outside of bar

MAGA cap (Chamtrumping/WikiCommons)

A Multnomah County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict two people accused of assaulting a man outside a Portland bar for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, prompting the court to dismiss the case.

Adebisi Okuneye, 23, and Leopold Hauser, 22, no longer face criminal allegations in the Aug. 24 altercation at Growler’s Taproom on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.

Police arrested the pair after another bar patron, Luke Lenzner, 34, claimed they attacked him while on a date with his wife because of his red baseball cap, which bears the slogan for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.


Photos of Lenzner with a black eye and bloody face garnered national attention. He also gave interviews on local television about how he was “mobbed” and beaten for simply displaying his support for Trump in Portland, a liberal city known increasingly for its violent clashes between left- and right-wing activists.

Lenzner on Thursday blamed Portland’s “radical” political leanings for the outcome of his case.

“I know who hit me, who assaulted me,” he told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “In any other city they would have been indicted.”

Lenzner’s account came under scrutiny after video surfaced that appeared to show him threatening and picking fights with patrons at a different bar earlier in the evening. During that confrontation, Lenzner also said he served in the military — a claim he later admitted wasn’t true.

Though Okuneye and Hauser were ultimately charged with third-degree assault in their encounter with Lenzner, court documents painted a convoluted scene.

Lenzner’s wife, who isn’t named in the records, told police that she and her husband had been to several bars that night and that she was curious how people in Portland would react to his “Make America Great Again” hat.

She had asked her husband to wear the hat so she could see how people would treat him, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Hauser, court records show, told police that he and his friends at the bar had taken offense to Lenzner’s hat and stared him down.

Okuneye, a black woman, told police that Lenzner later came out of the bar and approached her, allegedly calling her an expletive and asking: “How do you like my hat?”

Lenzner told police that Okuneye “got in his face.” Lezner then pushed back to create distance, he said.

That’s when Lenzner said Hauser punched him in the face, court records show.

Lenzner said Thursday that he continues to wear his red baseball cap on walks around his neighborhood. But he no longer takes it into bars or other establishments in Portland.

“It’s just one more reason to move out of this state,” he said.


© 2019 The Oregonian