LANE CO., Ore. (KOIN) — A Eugene motorcyclist who suffered numerous injuries in an incident involving an Oregon State Police trooper sued the police department, and on Thursday a jury ruled in his favor.
On August 3, 2012, Justin M. Wilkens was riding his 2006 Aprilia motorcycle northbound on Crow Road in Lane County, court documents show.
He drove on the curvy road for 3.5 miles and stopped at a red light. That’s when he reportedly noticed small, flashing lights and a siren coming from an unmarked dark grey Chevrolet Camaro behind him, according to court documents.
Oregon State Trooper Robert Edwards was driving the unmarked patrol car.
Before stopping at the traffic signal, court documents show Wilkens hadn’t seen the flashing lights in his motorcycle’s side mirrors. Because of heavy winds, and due to the fact that he was wearing a full-face helmet, he reportedly didn’t hear the sirens.
Police video captured Wilkens being struck by the Camaro as he began pulling over to the right of the road.
Wilkens and his motorcycle were knocked to the ground and pushed several feet, according to court documents. He reportedly stayed on the ground for 5 seconds, in shock from the impact.
Edwards then exited the Camaro and drew his firearm, pointing it at Wilkens’ head.
“What’s going on?” Wilkens asked the trooper, court documents show.
He was ordered to get on the ground and immediately complied. As he began to lower himself, Edwards reportedly used his right leg to execute a powerful, full body-weight push-kick to Wilkens’ chest.
Edwards reportedly continued to point his gun towards Wilkens.
Once Wilkens was on his hands and knees, Edwards, “violently lowered his left knee into [his] back repeatedly,” according to court documents.
Wilkens, who suffered numerous injuries as a result of the crash, laid compliant on the ground. The trooper reportedly continued to exacerbate his pain and injuries as he handcuffed him.
After Lane County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, Wilkens was issued citations and sent to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment.
According to medical records, Wilkens had a displaced mid-shaft clavicle fracture and broken left ribs when he got to the hospital. He also had symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.
He underwent surgery on his left shoulder and a metal plate and screws were inserted to repair his clavicle fracture. He reportedly has ongoing pain and difficulty raising his arm due to the injury.
Court documents show he also suffered emotional distress, mental and psychological pain and suffering due to the incident involving the OSP trooper.
The case was taken to federal court and on Thursday a jury ruled in favor of Wilkens. The verdict maintains that the State of Oregon is liable for Edwards’ “violations of the Oregon Constitution, negligence, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
In response to the verdict, OSP said it was “disappointed with the outcome and feels the actions of our Troopers clearly did not violate established procedures or tactics.”
OSP is reportedly reviewing the verdict with the Oregon Department of Justice.