A white man, 19, has been arrested for allegedly threatening to rape and kill his Black neighbours after the mother and daughter moved into the same Oregon apartment complex as him.
NuBrit’tany Smith said that she and her mother Tasha found themselves on the receiving end of Dominic Austin’s violent threats and racist slurs almost as soon as they moved into their Gresham apartment, the Landings at the Morrison.
Some of Mr Austin’s terrifying behaviour was captured on a Ring doorbell camera, including capturing him pounding on Ms Smith’s door and threatening her with a knife, according to KOIN 6.
“You have to make sure you look outside your peep-hole. You look at your Ring camera before you exit your home,” Ms Smith told the outlet.
“Honestly, it’s like you live inside of a jail or something.”
In one Ring camera recording, Mr Austin can be heard saying: “You’re about to get murdered.”
Another tenant had also spotted the 19-year-old wielding a knife, the outlet reported.
“We were terrified, we were upset, we didn’t know what was going on,” Ms Smith said.
“Instantly, we took the videos from the Ring camera, attached them to an email and sent them to the Landings at the Morrison.”
Ms Smith said she alerted police and property management the day after the first incident with their new neighbour on 30 June.
The threats – and their reporting of them – continued from then on, Ms Smith said.
But, despite the threatening behaviour, she said that no steps were taken for months to have Mr Austin removed from the apartment complex.
“Part of the rental agreement says that if a tenant should threaten another tenant, the landlord can throw the offender out in 24 hours’ notice,” her attorney Greg Kafoury told the outlet.
According to KOIN 6, Mr Austin wasn’t contacted by the building until 8 September, with an eviction notice then sent last week.
Both Mr Kafoury and Ms Smith said that more should have been done to protect the building’s residents.
“The people who run this very large apartment complex didn’t give a damn,” Mr Kafoury said. “The police didn’t give a damn. And I don’t know how anyone can look at those videos and come to any other conclusion.”
“As a Black woman, we, (my mother and I), I felt that we weren’t heard,” Ms Smith said. “I feel that we were not important.”
Ms Smith and her mother aren’t the only tenants who have complained about the 19-year-old. Another resident made complaints about Mr Austin back in August, The Root reported.
Gresham Police confirmed that Mr Austin has now been arrested and is in police custody.
“We are aware of the terrible conduct of the suspect in this case, including statements that indicate the motivation for the crime is hate or bias. We share in our communities’ concern and appreciate the unique impact bias crimes, in particular, have on victims,” police said in a statement to KOIN 6.
“We are working with the district attorney’s office to ensure the suspect is charged with the appropriate crimes.”
According to arrest records, Mr Austin was arrested on 19 September for unlawful use of a weapon – a felony – and two counts of menacing – a misdemeanour. He also faces 10 counts of violating a restraining order; these violations fell across three dates in September, records showed.
The 19-year-old’s next court hearing is scheduled for 27 September.
“I was failed by the system and by the Landings at the Morrison,” Ms Smith told KOIN 6. “I don’t feel safe. Because he’s in jail today but I don’t know what tomorrow is going to be. He could be released at any time. Then what happens next?”
Ms Smith started a GoFundMe page asking for $5,000 in order to help pay to relocate.
“An individual is struggling with mental health and has been coming down to my unit making death threats, racial slurs and rape threats,” she wrote.
“Every time he comes down he is either holding a knife or beating on ur door. The property management is aware of the situation and appears not to be concerned in our health or safety. My mother has requested accommodations as far as being transferred to a different unit or paying for to place us in a hotel. The property management declined both accommodations.”
She continued: “My mother and I don’t feel like enough is being done and that the local authorities & property management don’t care until someone is hurt. We have given notice because our health and safety is a concern,” Ms Smith added. The page has raised over $10,000 since launching a week ago.