Judge Upholds $755K Award Against UO Police Chief

Jason Kafoury, James Cleavenger, and Mark McDougal
Jason Kafoury, James Cleavenger, and Mark McDougal

University of Oregon Police Chief Carolyn McDermed and two other managers intentionally and maliciously harmed a young officer’s career after he spoke out about department policies allowing officers to carry Tasers and the department’s violations of laws, a federal judge found.

Jason Kafoury and Mark McDougal secured the $755,000 jury verdict in September for James Cleavenger, who claimed McDermed, Lt. Brandon Lebrecht and Sgt. Scott Cameron dashed his childhood dream of becoming a police chief by placing him on a list of officers considered too untrustworthy to testify in court in retaliation for Cleavenger’s exposure of the department’s juvenile and unprofessional practices.

Lawyers for UO police appealed, but U.S. District Judge David O. Carter agreed Monday with Kafoury and McDougal’s arguments on every point, finding that McDermed, Lebrecht and Cameron showed severe retaliatory intent and dishonesty and caused deep economic harm to Cleavenger.

McDermed announced her resignation on Friday. She will be temporarily replaced by former UO Police Capt. Pete Deshpande, even though Deshpande participated in putting Clevenger on the Brady list that destroyed his law enforcement career, evidence at trial showed. Deshpande also had never met Cleavenger but approved his termination by then Chief McDermed back in the fall of 2012.


The Oregonian — Betsy Hammond (03/01/2016)
UO Matters — (02/29/2016)
Daily Emerald — Jennifer Fleck (02/29/2016)
Register Guard — Diane Dietz (03/01/2016)
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