NORTHWEST TRIAL LAWYERS JOE GRUBE AND KAREN OREHOSKI WIN FEDERAL JURY TRIAL AGAINST PORTLAND POLICE IN TASING CASE
A federal jury in Portland today (3/13/12) ruled unanimously that a Portland police officer used excessive force when he fired a Taser five times into the back of our client, Daniel Halsted, who the police officer said he suspected of spray-painting graffiti on a commercial building. Northwest Trial lawyers Joe Grube and Karen Orehoski successfully tried the case before an 8-person jury. The jury deliberated about three hours and ruled that Portland Police Officer Benjamin J. Davidson violated Daniel Halsted’s constitutional rights, and awarded him $125,000 in punitive damages, $75,000 in non-economic damages and $6,372.70 for medical costs. In addition, Mr. Halsted will be entitled to recover his attorneys’ fees and costs.
Our client, Mr. Halsted, a 36-year-old Portland resident with no criminal record, testified that the June 17, 2008 tasing at Northeast Wasco Street and 26th Avenue was “the most traumatic experience” in his life.
Northwest Trial attorney Joseph Grube demonstrated that police officer Davidson failed to identify himself as an officer on a dark street at 1 a.m., wrongly assumed our client was involved in the vandalism and used force disproportional to the alleged crime of “petty vandalism.”
Once Tased, Mr. Halsted testified that he fell to the ground, and that the police then pushed his face into the ground, which resulted in his suffering facial fractures and abrasions to his head and hands. The police repeatedly Tased him 5 times. Police cited him for resisting arrest and criminal mischief, but prosecutors didn’t file charges.
“It’s the most traumatic experience I’ve had,” Mr. Halsted testified. “It’s changed my view of the police. It’s extremely non-sensical. I can’t believe it happened. It’s disgusting.” Mr. Halsted, then technical director at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre, is now the theatre’s head film programmer.
“It’s scary because it wasn’t just the incident but their report of what happened, which didn’t align with the facts,” Mr. Halsted said after the verdict today. “I was just a guy walking home. It could’ve been anybody.”
The case is reported at: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/03/federal_jury_rules_against_por.html