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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alleged Brutality Victim Sues Portland, Police

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

An alleged case of police brutality, reported by the Mercury last year, has reached litigation.

Last we heard from Dan Halsted, he had been tasered, handcuffed and arrested on NE Broadway last June in June 2008 by three officers: Ben Davidson, Joshua Faris and Trina Adams.

Officer Davidson wrote in his police report that he was responding to a radio call about a suspected tagger running north on NE 25th Avenue. The district attorney's office later declined to prosecute Halsted, citing a lack of evidence and Halsted's intoxication, which may have made made him oblivious to the fact that he was being arrested.

Soon after the event, Halsted—who curates the Grindhouse Film Festival—hired attorney Dan Engler. Last week, almost a year two years after the alleged brutality, Halsted filed suit in federal court against the City of Portland and the officers.

Here's part of the description of events from the court filing:

Defendant Davidson fired his Taser into Mr. Halsted's back. Mr. Halsted fell to the pavement. Defendant-officers immediately seized upon Mr. Halsted, placing pressure on his back, pressing his face into the pavement, cuffing him, and pulling down his pants.
The individual defendant-officers were not adequately trained in the constitutional limitations on the use of force. Alternatively, [they] acted intentionally, maliciously, and recklessly in violation of Mrs. Halsted's well-established constitutional rights....

The suit claims excessive force, assault/battery, negligence, and failure to train and supervise against the city. It also claims excessive force against the individual cops, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Officer Davidson wrote in his police report that Halsted was part of a group of people who ran toward him, and that he yelled "Police! Stop!" before firing his Taser. Halsted says this is a lie. Yesterday he posted this link to his Facebook page:


The case will go before U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta. Read our original story for more. We'll get a call out to Halsted's lawyer for further comment.

Update 6/10 1:00 pm: The lawyer, Dan Engler, is on vacation until Monday. Also, a few people have asked us to clarify that Halsted provided a receipt from his pocket showing that he was in a bar with his friends—not committing any crime—just minutes before the arrest.

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