Is post-traumatic stress disorder an excuse for attacking people?
A court in Oregon thinks so. Damien Rodriguez will not face any jail time even though he was originally charged with assault and a hate crime, charges that typically put people in jail for at least five or six years. Instead, he got five years of probation and a fine, The Oregonian reported.
Rodriguez was an active-duty Marine when he attacked a waiter at an Iraqi restaurant with a chair in Portland last year, The Associated Press reported.
A friend told police that he suffered a “flashback inside of the restaurant.” Before attacking the waiter he allegedly talked about how people he killed in Iraq before saying even more disparaging remarks about the country, according to The Daily Beast.
There’s no dispute that the attack happened. It was caught on video.
Rodriguez, 41, pleaded guilty to a hate crime and to attempted assault in Multnomah County Circuit Court, a court that went easy on him because of an affliction he reportedly suffered at war. His defense attorney argued that the attack stemmed from his PTSD. Prosecutors tended to agree, stating that employees at the Iraqi restaurant DarSalam supported Rodriguez's light sentence. The employee didn’t suffer serious injuries and Rodriguez has been ordered by the court to give him $11,000 dollars, according to The Daily Beast.
What do you think?
Months after the attack, DarSalam owner Ghaith Sahib told The New York Times “My family, they have fear now in everything—we can’t forget this.”
Ghaith survived a 2005 bomb attack in Baghdad before immigrating to the United States.
[Photo: Multnomah County Jail]