Now that she's seen the video, Patty Torres is even more upset. "It was horrible, horrible. My son was literally attacked by this man."
Her son is a 16-year-old Oregon high school student named Jacob, and "this man" is Gary Gorman, the Oregon-based property magnate. As Isthmus reported in an online article last month, the two clashed at a basketball game on Dec. 17 over Jacob's failure to stand for the National Anthem. Their accounts differ dramatically.
Gorman, 54, the president of Gorman and Co., says he followed Jacob into a hallway during intermission and politely apprised him, "It's disrespectful not to stand during the National Anthem." Whereupon the boy immediately "just went off on me," hurling epithets like "Fuck you, old man."
Jacob, who has a diagnosed psychological disability, admits saying this toward the end of the confrontation, but portrays Gorman as the aggressor, telling Jacob he wanted to "rip off your smart-ass lips" and "put your head through that window." Jacob also says Gorman "kept telling me to hit him," so he could hit the boy back. Gorman denies saying these things.
Police were called, and spoke to both parties. No citations were issued - because, says one officer in his report, "both individuals stated they were the victim."
Oregon school officials let Torres watch a Isthmus filed an open records request.
The video has no audio, and only part of the 90-second confrontation occurs onscreen. But what it does show - a visibly angry Gorman repeatedly stepping toward the youth, who at one point holds out his hand defensively - is clearly more supportive of Jacob's version of events.
Oregon police, on viewing the video, decided against taking enforcement action. "There's no question that perhaps Mr. Gorman could have used better judgment in confronting [the boy]," says Lt. Craig Sherman. "But it appears that both parties had a significant part in escalating."
Torres says she called Gorman to express her concerns and to gain closure. "He said what he did was inappropriate," she recalls. "He said he was way out of line and learned a lesson." She thinks that's true for her son as well: "I think both parties learned a lesson."
Gorman was set to return from a vacation on Wednesday. As of the paper's afternoon press time, he had not returned our phone message.