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Friday, August 6, 2010

BREAKING: Pioneer Square Guard who Punched Skateboarder was Working Illegally

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Yesterday we reported that police responding to a November 2009 fight between private security guards and skateboarders agreed with the security firm not to write up police reports at the time of the incident.

One officer, Nicholas D. Jones, appears to be the primary agressor among the guards. He allegedly told police officer Israel Holsti that he "swung and punched the kid on the side of the head... [and] said that is when the fight started." Officer David Abrahamson's report, written a month later, says that he told a supervisor with Pacific Patrol Services that "if the skateboarder had not engaged into mutual combat, I would have most likely arrested her security officer [Jones] for assault."

According to the state of Oregon's Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), Jones was not certified as a security guard at the time of the incident. According to Todd Mitchell, a private security specialist with the department, Jones was certified as an "unarmed security professional" for the first time on January 29, 2010. This was the first time he had applied for certification.

Working as a private security officer without certification is illegal, and can result in fines for the company after a DPSST inquiry. Chris Brodniak, a DPSST investigator, writes in an email that the "potential sanction could be anywhere from a warning to $1500 in civil penalties (per offense). Sanctions can be imposed on the individual officer and/or the company as well."

We have submitted a public records request to DPSST for employment and certification histories of all the involved guards. We have a call out for comment to Alan Pendergrass, the owner of Pacific Patrol Services, who is the only person with the company who will talk to the press. He's out of the office until Monday. The Portland police bureau also has yet to provide comment on these issues.

Update 1:01 pm: Police bureau spokesperson Kelli Sheffer says that the police can't comment on the guard's status. "They, like us, are accountable to the DPSST," she says.

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