Twenty-five years ago a gang of racist skinheads killed an Ethiopian student named Mulugeta Seraw on the streets of Portland.  The crime drew national attention. 

Elden Rosenthal

Elden Rosenthal

Southern Poverty Law Center

Three men pleaded guilty to the fatal attack.  But two years after Seraw’s death, the Southern Poverty Law Center and its leader Morris Dees won a civil suit, holding the leader of a white supremacist group liable for the murder.

In closing arguments in Portland, Dees told the jury that Tom Metzger was running a racist group as a profitable business.

The jury was convinced that Metzger had incited the violence against Seraw, and levied a $12.5 million verdict against him. 

One of the lawyers who worked on the case was Elden Rosenthal of Portland. He told OPB’s Beth Hyams that the events hit the city hard.

Click the audio file above to hear their conversation.