Maine AG will file civil rights complaint in Portland anti-Asian attack

Rachel Ohm, Portland Press Herald, Maine
·2 min read

Mar. 22—The Office of the Maine Attorney General is filing a civil rights complaint against a Portland man accused of attacking an Asian-American woman and her daughter last week and telling the woman to "go back to your country."

Troy Sprague, 47, was arrested Saturday on charges of criminal mischief and interfering with constitutional and civil rights and has been released on bail.

The attorney general's complaint seeks an order protecting the woman and her family by prohibiting Sprague from having any contact with them and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.

"We are bearing witness to an unconscionable increase in hate crimes being perpetrated against individuals of Asian descent in our nation," Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a news release. "We will not tolerate such attacks in Maine and we will act swiftly to address allegations like those received last week in Portland.

"We encourage any member of Maine's Asian-American community to contact their local law enforcement agency if they encounter threats or acts of violence or property damage based on bias against their race, ancestry or national origin. We will review all such cases to determine whether they meet the criteria for enforcement under our Civil Rights Act."

According to the complaint, the woman and her daughter were in their car waiting for an oil service at Prompto 10 Minute Oil Change on Forest Avenue last week. Sprague was walking along the road when he turned and started swearing at the woman, telling her to "go back to your country" and "you Chinese go back to your country."

Sprague then jumped over the guard rail separating the sidewalk from the service station and began kicking the woman's partially opened window. His kicking damaged her rearview mirror, causing debris to fly into her car and hit her daughter.

The Maine Civil Rights Act prohibits the use of violence, the threat of violence or property damage against any person motivated by that person's race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. Any violation of an injunctive order under the act is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

This story will be updated.