02-19-2017  6:14 pm      •     

City officials are taking a hard look at policies on how Tasers are used, and community members are being encouraged to seek out their neighborhood Special Safety Public Action Committee meetings to share concerns about the weapons.

Police departments around the country have been prompted to revisit their Taser policies after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late last year that a plaintiff in Coronado, Ca., has the right to sue an officer for using excessive force in Tasering a him after he was stopped for not wearing his seat belt in 2005.

In Portland, the public is invited to attend the regularly-scheduled neighborhood safety committee gatherings – which are held all over the city -- as well as the Citizens Review Committee Taser/Less Lethal Force Workgroup, held monthly at City Hall. The next one is Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. in the Auditor's Conference Room on the first floor.

A handful of local cases recently in the news point out the potential for a new spate of lawsuits touched off by law enforcement's overly-permissive Taser policy, which does not require that the subject be actively resisting arrest or posing a threat to the officer, the public or the subject himself.

In December, 21-year-old Daniel Collins -- visiting his family in Portland while on winter break from his college studies in Arizona – was Tasered into unconsciousness by Portland Police while trying to exit a downtown nightclub where a fight had broken out in the bar.

Collins was revived by paramedics who delivered him to the Oregon Health and Sciences University emergency room. Charges against him were dropped; he's now being represented by attorney Emily Simon.

Last week Vancouver resident Jason Elgin won a $30,000 judgment claiming battery against Portland Police Officer Kevin Tully after being Tasered while sleeping at a table in a Denny's restaurant in 2009. An array of misdemeanor charges against him, including resisting arrest and trespassing, were all eventually dropped.

Tully's attorneys Greg and Jason Kafoury have been retained by the family of Kyeron Fair, a 17-year-old high school student taken into Multnomah County Sheriffs custody on alleged gang-related charges last September.

A few days after his arrest, Fair was sent to the OHSU Cardiac Intensive Care Unit without explanation to his family; he suffered a massive psychological breakdown after being revived, and still cannot remember how he ended up in the hospital.

Fair's parents have been left to speculate how their healthy teenager, a football player, ended up comatose in a cardiac unit – however the issue of Taser-related heart attacks has been debated since 2008. No one from the county will comment on the case.

No information has yet been released about who injured Fair and how the teenaged athlete ended up in that ward in a coma, but State Rep. Lew Frederick confirmed last week that two separate investigations have been opened on the case, one by the Oregon State Police and one by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office.

This week an expected bail hearing for Fair was cancelled; his trial on Measure 11 robbery charges is set to start March 1.

Independent Police Review Assistant Director Constantin Severe said the citizen panel has since last year been inviting experts to answer their questions on Taser and less-lethal force from as many jurisdictions as they can find.

That has so far included the City Auditor staff, which prepared a 2010 report concluding Tasers are currently used if a suspect simply shows the intent to resist arrest or police directives – but that a better policy would be to use them against people who are actually resisting commands, showing aggression or who are in danger of harming themselves or others.

In California, Carl Bryan, 21, had reportedly been locked out of his house in his boxer shorts, had through unlucky circumstances been forced to take two inconvenient car trips and had already been cited for speeding that morning by the Highway Patrol before being pulled over a second time for not wearing his seatbelt.

Unarmed, Bryan stood by the side of the road wearing only his boxer shorts and shoes, "yelling gibberish and hitting his thighs" 25 feet away from Coronado Police Officer Brian McPherson, who shot him with an x26 Taser from that distance.

The youth fell face-first on the ground, breaking four teeth, and was arrested in the hospital on charges of resisting arrest and "opposing an officer in the performance of his duties." Judge Kim Wardlaw ruled the officer cannot Taser someone not posing a legitimate threat of harm, finding that Bryan never even spoke to the officer before being Tasered.

Find out when and where your neighborhood Special Safety Public Action Committee meets online at http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/, or call 503-823-4519.

Read the Portland Auditors Report, "Police Taser Use: Incidents generally resolved, but some practices and policies could be improved"


Pastor Overstreet-Smith: Second Grandchild Hospitalized by Portland Police Tasers

Portland Police Officers Who Hospitalized College Student Have Controversial History

Teen Hospitalized While in Custody May Win Bail

Portland Teen Hospitalized While in Custody is Taken from Psych Facility, Booked Into Adult Jail

Portland Teen Hospitalized with Severe Internal Injuries While In Custody

VIDEO: Inside Multnomah County's Teen Jail

How One Oregon Girl Became a Measure 11 Felon

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals


Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow