Portland Police have identified Tony Sprague as the man who reportedly harassed a woman and damaged her vehicle around 2 p.m on March 16. The victim, who is Asian, said she was sitting in her car with her children when Sprague approached her car, made eye contact with her, and started yelling at her to “go back to where she came from.” She said that as she attempted to move her vehicle to create distance between herself and the suspect, he kicked her driver side mirror, snapping it from its bracket, and piercing a large hole in the frame.
Sources close to Asian communities in Maine report that community members have become increasingly fearful in recent weeks about the potential for discrimination and hate crimes. As they have been following stories from other parts of America about growing aggression toward Asians, particularly the elderly, some older Asians in Maine are reporting hesitancy around getting vaccinated, saying they are fearful to leave their homes.
“To be the target of such a racist and hate-induced crime cuts directly against everything we stand for in the city of Portland,” said Chief Frank Clark. The department is in communication with the Maine Attorney General’s Office to determine if hate crime or other charges are appropriate. The alleged perpetrator is a white male, and is homeless.