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Draper man gets 9 months in jail over hate crime

Salt Lake County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — A Draper man was sentenced to nine months behind bars Thursday after being found guilty of attacking his African-American neighbor in 2016 because of the man’s race.

In the three-day trial leading up to the Mark Porter’s conviction, prosecutors told the jury the 59-year-old shouted the N-word at the victim’s 7-year-old son as the boy rode his scooter in the Adagio Apartments’ common area at 13343 S. Minuteman Drive, Draper.

The prosecution team said the boy told his father, Mike Waldvogel, who then confronted Porter. In return, Porter reached over his porch railing and hit Waldvogel with an electrified stun-cane, knocking him to the ground.

Porter was found guilty on March 22 of a racially motivated assault with a dangerous weapon.

On Thursday, Porter stood before Judge Dee Benson and said he didn’t attack Waldvogel and only acted in self-defense.

“I held the cane out and never swung it at all,” Porter said. “I’m not a violent person.”

His comments continued for several minutes, calling the victim of a previous assault a liar, telling the court Waldvogel was framing him, and explaining he felt most African-Americans are “pimps” and “drug dealers.”

“I don’t want to be around them. They ruin so many people’s lives,” Porter told the judge, “I know them as being violent, very violent.”

In response, Judge Benson told the court he clearly sees that Porter is a racist but his views are not illegal. Benson sentenced the man to nine months behind bars, the amount requested by Porter’s defense team, instead of the 37-46 months requested by prosecutors.

Benson said he wasn’t being lenient with Porter but felt the man deserved a shorter sentence because he didn’t seek out Waldvogel to hurt him and just reacted badly to a confrontation.

Porter has already served eight months in jail, starting his sentence on Nov. 15, 2017. Porter could be released as early as next month and will then serve one year on probation.

Outside the courthouse, Salt Lake NAACP President Jeanetta Williams said she was disappointed with the ruling.

“I was hoping, as well as all the other folks that worked so hard on this, that he would get the maximum on that. And the maximum was not close to what he should have received in my opinion,” Williams said. “We look at it saying that it was not just that one person that was the victim. It victimizes the entire community.”