Salem police responded to an incident near Southeast 14th and Mill streets Monday (August 15) around 10 a.m. The 911 caller told dispatchers a man was hitting his truck with a bat and threatening him. When a police officer arrived, they reportedly found a man outside a Honda parked near the caller's work truck.
The caller, who's Black, was looking for an address when he spotted the Honda driving "extremely close" behind him, according to an affidavit. The driver, later identified as 20-year-old William A. Main II, then sped past the worker, screaming at him to move. They later encountered each other again, and Main yells at the victim to pull over and called him a racial slur, police say.
Main got out of his vehicle and stuck his head through the truck's window, calling the Black man the slur again and saying, "I will kick your ass," according to the report. That's when the suspect allegedly reached into his Honda and pulled out a wooden baseball bat.
Fearing that Main was going to hit him, the victim pulls his truck forward to drive off. Main was forced to yank his head out to avoid getting hurt, and he starts swinging the bat at the truck twice, authorities say. This prompted the victim to get out of the truck and call 911.
Main admitted he confronted the Black man with a baseball bat, but denied intentionally swinging it. He also claims the caller was driving “so slow it was unsafe," police wrote in the report.
Police say a couple of witnesses corroborated the victim's account, including a nearby resident who heard Main allegedly call the Black man a slur. The victim “was never the aggressor and tried to calm the situation down, never threatening any violence,” a witness says, per the report.
Main was booked into the Marion County Jail for unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, menacing, and second-degree bias crime, according to online jail records.