A 64-year-old Bellingham man is facing a felony hate crime charge after he allegedly threw a trash bin from a second-story apartment complex at a Hispanic woman while using ethnic slurs.
Robert Charles Poremski III was charged Wednesday, Aug. 30, in Whatcom County Superior Court with one count of a hate crime offense.
The court declined to set bail for Poremski at his first appearance Wednesday and ordered that he be released from jail on his personal recognizance. Jail records show Poremski was released shortly before 8 p.m.
A no-contact order was put in place between Poremski and the victim. Poremski is also not allowed to possess firearms or dangerous weapons as part of his release conditions, according to court records.
His arraignment is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 8.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Aug. 29, Bellingham police were called to the 200 block of East Laurel Street in Bellingham for the report of a neighbor dispute.
A 24-year-old Hispanic woman told police that one of her neighbors, later identified as Poremski, had thrown a garbage bin at her, had told her he would hit her with the bin and called her racial slurs, according to court records.
The woman told police that Poremski, who is white, had used racial slurs against her in the past, and said she feels that Poremski targets her because of her ethnicity.
Poremski told police he got into an argument with the woman because he was upset her dog had got out of her apartment. He said the two got into a verbal argument, that he called the woman a sexist slur, and said “he did not handle the altercation well,” court records state.
Poremski said he was in the apartment complex’s shared courtyard taking out his trash when he and the woman began arguing. He told police the woman followed him up the stairs as he was taking the garbage bin back to his apartment, and said he hit the bin on the railing in order to get the woman to stop following him.
Poremski denied throwing the garbage bin at the woman, court records show.
Another neighbor who witnessed the incident told police they saw Poremski throw the garbage bin at the woman from the second story of the apartment complex and call the woman an ethnic slur for Hispanic and Latino people.
Because Poremski threatened the woman, used slurs based on his perception of the woman’s ethnic identity and took actions that would put a reasonable person to be in fear of harm, Poremski was arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime offense, the court records state.
Poremski was booked into the Whatcom County Jail around 1 p.m. on Aug. 29 and was released shortly before 8 p.m. the following day, jail records show.
He does not have any prior felony history in Whatcom County, according to court records.