Metro Weekly

Oregon man threatens to stone Black city official for being a ‘gay sinner’

Eric Osterberg said the man accused him of "spreading AIDS" and he needed "to be stoned"

Eric Osterberg, gay, oregon
Eric Osterberg — Photo: City of Klamath Falls

An incensed homophobe in Oregon threatened to stone a Black gay city official after accusing him of “blasphemy” and “spreading AIDS.”

Eric Osterberg, the assistant city manager of Klamath Falls, Ore., was accosted on Aug. 2 while preparing to give a presentation about racism and equity in the city.

Osterberg told attendees that, prior to the meeting, a man had sat next to him holding a rock in his hand. The man “proceeded to call me a sinner for being gay,” he said.

The man allegedly then accused Osterberg of “spreading AIDS here in the community,” as well as accusing him of blasphemy.

“I just want to start the meeting off kind of pointing to you that just having a conversation — a simple conversation about racism in our community — is gaining that level of violence, that threat of violence,” Osterberg told attendees of the meeting.

Speaking to the Herald and News after the incident, Osterberg said the rock was the size of the man’s hand and something was clearly “bugging him” when he sat next to Osterberg.

He allegedly told Osterberg, “Oh, so you think we are all racist? You think you are the second coming of Christ?”

Osterberg said the man planned to “stone” him — a method of capital punishment involving blunt force trauma with stones and rocks.

“You are a sinner and you need to be stoned. That is why I brought this stone,” the man allegedly told Osterberg.

The man was escorted out of the meeting by police, but was allowed to leave as there “was not enough information to arrest him,” Klamath Falls Police Chief Robert Dentinger told the Herald and News.

However, police are aware of the man’s identity and said they planned to talk to him further about the incident.

Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall told the Herald and News that the incident “shows us what is out there, and our work towards equity and doing away with this kind of conflict is what we are working towards.”

While stoning is referenced in the Bible as a form of punishment, modern examples are typically limited to areas controlled by Islamic extremists or nations that implement Sharia law.

A resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan recently said it planned to either stone gay people to death, or crush them to death by toppling walls onto them.

Stoning was a frequent occurrence in areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by terrorist group ISIS, with those accused of homosexuality frequently stoned to death, as well as thrown from buildings and shot in the head.

In 2019, Brunei announced plans to introduce a new penal code that would mandate death by stoning for gay people. However, international condemnation and boycotts forced the country to backtrack, saying there would be a “de facto moratorium” on stoning.

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