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DA: FedEx Driver Had Every Right to Confront Racist

Timothy Warren threw a fatal punch, will face no charges
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2018 4:46 PM CST
No Charges for FedEx Driver Over Fatal Punch
FedEx trucks sit idle during the day at Richmond International Airport in Sandston, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – A FedEx driver in Portland, Oregon, will not face charges after he landed a fatal punch against a man hurling racial slurs at him, reports the Oregonian. The unusual case involves Timothy Warren, a 41-year-old black FedEx driver, and Joseph Magnuson, a 55-year-old white man. Police say Warren was driving through a Portland neighborhood in September when Magnuson began screaming at him to slow down. However, three witnesses told officers that Warren was not speeding. After Warren stopped his vehicle and got out, Magnuson called him the n-word repeatedly, then took a swing at Warren that missed, say police. At that point, Warren landed a punch above Magnuson's eye that knocked him down. Magnuson lost consciousness briefly and died later in the evening, reports the Washington Post.

“Oregon law contains no ‘duty to retreat’ and Mr. Warren was within his right to exit his vehicle and verbally challenge the manner in which Mr. Magnuson was addressing him,” wrote Adam Gibbs, senior deputy district attorney in Multnomah County, explaining the decision not to prosecute. "Mr. Magnuson was the initial verbal aggressor; Mr. Warren responded in kind. Mr. Magnuson then escalated and became the initial physical aggressor; Mr. Warren again responded in kind.” The DA's office acknowledges that Magnuson would likely be alive today had Warren not stopped his vehicle, but it says Warren's decision to answer the "racist vitriol" is "not of legal consequence." Also of note: The medical examiner said Magnuson had been in "extremely poor health." (This woman was arrested after a racist note to her neighbors.)

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