According to the City of Portland’s Risk Management Division and the reporting of the Oregonian’s Aimee Green, Kafoury & McDougal have won the two highest jury verdicts against the Portland Police ever awarded in the history of the City of Portland for Portland Police matters. K&M has also reached the largest settlement ever against the city. Below are articles,videos and a brief description of each case:
Aimee Green’s article in the Oregonian on this issue can be viewed here
Cayla Wilson – Settled case against the City of Portland and Clackamas County for $9.3 million.
Description: After a multi-week trial, attorneys for the City of Portland and Clackamas County reached a settlement agreement with Kafoury & McDougal, just moments after jurors entered the jury room to deliberate. The $9.3 million settlement is the largest settlement ever reached by the City for Portland Police matters.
Cayla Wilson and her unborn child were severely disabled after a driver, who was high on methamphetamine, crashed into Ms. Wilson head on. The diver, Jack Dean Whitaker, was on probation in Clackamas County but had been practically ignored by his probation officer for over 9 months, allowing him to continue getting high and walking the streets.
On the day of the crash, Portland Police officer Devonna Dick encountered Mr. Whitaker on two separate occasions, hours apart, yet let him go both times despite knowing he had a truck at his disposal, that he had committed crimes on both occasions, and that he was on probation. Both encounters involved concerned citizens calling the police to report Mr. Whitaker’s strange and criminal behavior, yet officer Dick decided against taking action, leaving Mr. Whitaker who was high on Meth, with his truck, twice. Read more here
Jason Cox – A Multnomah County Jury awarded $562,000 against the City of Portland for the police beating of Mr. Cox, caught on video.
Description: Jason Cox was beaten by the Portland Police, who were unknowingly being recorded by a surveillance camera outside a local establishment. Mr. Cox was being arrested for a DUII, when he was suddenly pushed face-first to the ground, punched in the face 6-8 times, and tasered 4 times over a span of 30 seconds. The surveillance video shows Cox put his hands behind his back, when the Police, without any provocation, took Cox down and began beating him. Cox sued the City of Portland for the actions of officers Jeffrey Elias, Robert Bruders and Sarah Kerwin and a Multnomah County jury came back with the largest civil jury verdict ever awarded against the City for excessive force, thanks in large part to the surveillance video.
Read more on this verdict here
Gallagher Smith – Jury awards Gallagher Smith $306,000 for false arrest and excessive force claim against the Portland Police.
Gallagher Smith was punched, tasered and pepper-sprayed by the Portland Police after he got in an argument with a doorman at a local nightclub. Smith had left the club and was walking away when police told him he had to vacate the sidewalk. Smith inquired as to why he had to leave a public sidewalk, when officers began arresting him. A struggle ensued and officer Patrick Johnson fired his taser at Mr, Smith. The taser probes did not stick so officer Sean McFarland shot Smith with his taser. Both took Mr. Smith to the ground and committed what a jury found to be assault and battery. A Multnomah County Jury found that Mr. Smith was falsely arrested, and that the police used excessive force to subdue him, awarding the second highest amount ever awarded against the City for police miscondict, $306,000.
Read more on the verdict here
NOTE: A recent article on Bloomberg.com reports that the city of New York paid over $735 million in settlements or awards from lawsuits over police misconduct, this year alone. Read more here.
Also, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired a funny parody on the lack of a national database for tracking police shootings. See the clip from Comedy Central’s website here.