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Monday, November 26, 2018

No Charges for Black FedEx Driver Who Fatally Punched Man Calling Him Racial Slurs

Portland, OR — Timothy Warren, an African-American FedEx driver from Oregon who punched Joseph Magnuson, a man who later died, has been freed of any charges because his actions were legally justified, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. It was determined that he acted in self-defense and that Magnuson was the first one to be aggressive as he kept yelling racial slurs at Warren.

There were no evidence found indicating that Warren contemplated killing Magnuson when he hit him in the left eye. Thus, Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs declined to prosecute Warren. After a while, a county medical examiner also determined that Magnuson died due to his “extremely poor health” beforehand that was only worsened by his fall to the ground.

Witness accounts attest that Magnuson was the one who started the conflict who yelled the n-word and “other aggressive and abusive behavior” at Warren while he was driving the FedEx truck slowly through the area last September 26. Magnuson allegedly continued yelling the n-word and shouting at Warren to slow down until Warren stopped the car and tried talking to Magnuson.

At some point, both of them were yelling at each other. Witnesses saw Magnuson threw a drink and a bag of food at Warren, which he knocked out of Magnuson’s hand. Magnuson then tried to hit Warren, but he missed. Warren threw one punch at Magnuson, then Magnuson fell to the ground and went unconscious, as stated on District Attorney Gibb’s memo.

After the incident, Magnuson stayed at the scene until the police arrived and cooperated with the investigation. He was tested for toxicology but the results weren’t available as of Monday. Gibbs said the findings “are not of significance to the legal analysis.”

Moreover, Gibbs wrote that while Magnuson could not have been killed if Warren did not stop driving and went down the truck, “the decision by Mr. Warren, who is black, to not let the racist vitriol to which he was being subjected go unanswered is not of legal significance.”

“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,” Gibbs added in the written memo. “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.”

Meanwhile, Magnuson was publicly declared dead last week on Monday and it was under review by the district attorney’s office. This case is considered the fourth homicide in Portland this year that has been legally determined to be due to self-defense, and the third to happen while the person defending themselves was working.