Ethnic intimidation conviction upheld

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a woman charged with ethnic intimidation and aggravated menacing following an incident in the parking lot of the Meijer store in Oregon.
Angela Baker appealed the decision of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court, contending the trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds of selective prosecution and the court failed to provide a self defense instruction to the jury.
The altercation occurred July 7, 2020 and Baker was living out of her car at the time, according to court records. She was parked in an empty section near a light post when two teens, 15 and 17, who are brothers, walked by her car on their way to the store.
Baker admitted to police she “flipped off” the two, who are African-American, with her middle finger and said she was tired of being harassed “everywhere I...go.”
An eyewitness told police the two were “teasing” Baker when she “gunned” her car at them, “trying to hit them for sure.”
Footage from one of the teen’s cell phones picks up racial slurs being yelled between Baker and the teens.
In August 2020, she was indicted on two counts of ethnic intimidation, a felony of the fifth degree, and two counts of aggravated menacing, a first degree misdemeanor.
In September 2021, she filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the prosecution engaged in selective prosecution on the basis of race when it charged her with “using racial slurs” and “threatening the alleged victims” but failed to charge the victims, who had engaged in the same conduct. The trial court denied the motion and also denied her request for a self-defense jury instruction.
The appeals court rejected both of her arguments.
“Despite her claim, Baker has failed to produce any evidence that the state’s prosecution of her was ‘because she is Caucasian.’ Moreover, it bears repeating that, initially, the charges against Baker were limited to two counts of aggravated menacing. It was not until she admitted to police that she drove at the victims as a way to ‘fight back,’ – not at the victims, in particular, because she did not ‘even know’ them – but against all black people, that the state, with good reason, added the ethnic intimidation charges,” the appeals court wrote.
The appeals court also ruled she didn’t produce any evidence she was in imminent danger of death or bodily harm and her only means of escape from danger was in the use of such force.
“Therefore, the trial court did not err in refusing her request to instruct the jury on the issue of self-defense,” the appeals court ruled.
Baker was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of community control. She is also required to submit to mental health treatment.


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