PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man is suing the city of Portland for more than $500,000 asserting he was beaten during a 2011 arrest that was caught on surveillance video and only now released.
The complaint, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Monday by attorney Jason Kafoury on behalf of Jason Cox, seeks damages of $545,000 alleging assault, battery and negligence.
It came a day before a hearing on Oregon Senate bill 747, that if passed, would prevent Portland police officers who are fired for excessive force from getting their jobs back through arbitration. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Chip Shields (D- Portland), was proposed by Kafoury.
On the evening of June 18, 2011, three officers confronted Cox in the parking lot of the Pallas Club Strip Club, located on Southeast Powell Boulevard, on suspicion of reckless driving, the Portland police report said.
The report states Cox was argumentative when officers attempted a field sobriety test, and after refusing to take the test several times they decided to take him into custody. Cox allegedly resisted, the report stated, and officers were forced to “take him to the ground.”
During the struggle, one officer became afraid Cox may be reaching for a weapon, and “placed a knee on his back” and “pushed his head to the ground.”
Another described Cox’s demeanor as seeking to “escalate the fight.” He wrote that he decided “delivering controlled blows… was the best option considering the entire situation.”
Meanwhile, a third officer used a Taser on Cox four times during the struggle, the report said.
He was eventually handcuffed, arrested, and transported to the Multnomah County Detention Center.
However, surveillance video released by Cox’s attorney seems to show a different story.
The video, which has no sound, shows Cox being thrown to the ground, punched and stunned by the Taser, although he does not appear to be resisting, fighting back or reaching for a possible weapon.
According to Willamette Week, Cox eventually pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants. Charges of reckless driving, resisting arrest, interfering with police, and disorderly conduct were later dropped. He also received a DUII out of Clark County in 2008, Willamette Week found.
The complaint states Cox sustained a tear in his left shoulder as a result of the alleged assault and incurred medical expenses of $25,000.
The suit alleges the city was “negligent in its failures to discipline, adequately train, transfer, and/or terminate these officers and others who used unlawful force.”
Portland police spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson disagrees.
“Based on that investigation, we found that the officers followed proper procedures, and we closed that internal affairs inquiry,” he said.
– Faris Tanyos and Ken Boddie contributed to this report.