A FedEx driver who fatally punched a man who called him racial slurs and attempted to hit him first was found justified in his actions and will not face any charges, announced the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office on Monday.
The FedEx employee, Timothy Warren, was involved in the fatal altercation on September 26 in Portland, Oregon. After Joseph Magnuson repeatedly called him the N-word and other racial slurs, he allegedly threw a punch at Warren, but missed. In response, Warren struck Magnuson above his left eye, which knocked him unconscious. Magnuson later died of his injuries from the blow.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs said there was no evidence of “intent to kill” from Warren, reported The Oregonian. It was determined by a medical examiner that Magnuson was in “extremely poor health” before the incident and the punch “aggravated pre-existing medical conditions and led to his death.”
The Blaze reports on the encounter:
Witnesses allege that Magnuson instigated the incident and aggressively shouted at Warren, the driver, and demanded he slow down. Warren reportedly stopped the vehicle to speak with Magnuson, according to a report in The Oregonian. When he did, Magnuson reportedly began calling Warren racial slurs, and threw a drink at him.
Other witnesses reported that they’d seen Magnuson throw a bag of food at Warren during the altercation, and then threw a punch at the driver, but missed.
Warren struck Magnuson in the head — above his left eye — and knocked him to the ground, unconscious. He later died as a result of the punch.
Gibbs, the district attorney, wrote in a memo that the incident might not have resulted in Magnuson’s death if Warren had ignored the racial slurs and kept on driving, but noted, “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 continued. “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.”
According to The Oregonian, this is Portland’s fourth homicide this year that has been deemed to have occurred in self-defense.