Oregon man arrested after trashing store, spewing Islamophobic slurs in viral video

David K. Li and Mohammed Syed and Ali Gostanian
·2 min read

An Oregon man spewing anti-Islamic slurs trashed a convenience store and threatened to gun down its clerk in an ugly confrontation captured on viral video, authorities said Monday.

Brian Christopher Miller, 43, was originally arrested on suspicion of first-degree criminal mischief and third-degree robbery, both felonies, according to Multnomah County Sheriff's Office jail records.

Miller, of Portland, was booked into jail on Friday night before being released on his own recognizance on Saturday, jail records showed.

But by the end of Monday, prosecutors had revised the charges against Miller.

He now faces three counts of a bias crime in the first degree, three counts of a bias crime in the second degree, in addition to burglary, criminal mischief, trespassing, menacing and robbery charges, Mutnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced.

Brian Miller berates the owner of a gas station in Portland, Ore., in video recorded by the owner. (via YouTube)
Brian Miller berates the owner of a gas station in Portland, Ore., in video recorded by the owner. (via YouTube)

The clerk, a senior citizen and immigrant from Afghanistan, shot video of the incident before his son published it on YouTube, according to Seemab Hussaini, vice chairman of the Oregon chapter of the Council on American–Islamic Relations.

Footage showed a mask-less man bearing a bearing a strong resemblance to Miller toppling displays, damaging the cash register, ripping down Covid-19-protection barriers, throwing food at the clerk and yelling: "I'll f---ing shoot you in the back."

"Is that how we do things in America, Afghan? Al Qaeda? Osama?" the menacing man said. "I don't want your f---ing cigarettes now, dude. But here let's call the the barter system. Five f---ing dollars? You can owe me, you can owe me. You call the f---ing cops. I'm an easy man to find."

And he was, as police arrested Miller just outside the Chevron convenience store, officials said.

By the time he was processed into custody, Miller had lost his shirt and was bare-chested as a jail photographer snapped the booking photograph.

"Mr. Miller arrived (to jail) without a shirt on," Multnomah County Sheriff's Communications Director Chris Liedle said. "During the booking process, he was uncooperative, intoxicated and making threatening, self-harm statements. After completing the booking process, he was provided a protective smock and placed in a cell under watch."

Miller did not return several voice mails and text messages seeking comment on Monday.

The clerk's family is grateful that a female customer outside the store called 911 and a dispatcher worked quickly to get police to the scene, Hussaini said. The attack came two days before the anniversary of the victim's 42-year-old daughter dying suddenly of sepsis, according to Hussaini.

"It's been a very stressful time for him," Hussaini said.