SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) - A man accused of trying to run down an African American teenager in June was sentenced this week.
The Lane County District Attorney's Office told NewsSource 16 that Matthew Booster, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree intimidation after reaching a deal with prosecutors. It is a felony charge.
Police said Booster and three others under the age of 18 singled out a black teenager, 15, on Memorial Day because of the color of his skin. It happened at South A Street and South 5th in downtown Springfield. The group was in a truck, first shouting racial slurs and threatening him. The victim tried to walk away but the group allegedly followed him into a nearby gravel parking lot and then tried to run him over. Police say that's when the victim was chased on foot. The victim's mother eventually picked him up and took him to the police station to report the incident. He was not physically hurt.
Booster will serve three years probation and undergo mental health treatment. He will also take a cultural awareness class and write a letter for the judge either addressing the victim or the community.
According to Patty Perlow from the Lane County District Attorney's Office, if Booster violates his probation - the judge made it very clear - he could serve up to 18 months in prison.
Prosecutors told NewsSource 16 they believe the sentence is justified.
"The goal is to change his attitudes and behaviors," said Perlow. "My impression from the limited knowledge I have of him is he sort of latched on to and was seeking acceptance from them."
Perlow said the victim's mother was in court during the sentencing, however the victim was not. She said he just wanted the ordeal to be over with.
The other suspects in the case, because they are under 18, have been released to their parents. They will be processed in juvenile court.
In addition to his probation, Booster will is required to turn in the confederate flag that was flying in his truck the day of the incident. It will be destroyed. Perlow said the flag is not officially recognized in the US so it is not illegal to destroy it.