When Public Safety Turns into Personal Injury
Earlier in September, the civil rights division of the US Justice Department’s released the findings of an investigation into the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau. Their results stated that the PPB [Portland Police Bureau] too often uses “unnecessary or unreasonable force” on people with mental illness. The investigators also wrote, “We also found that PPB employs practices that escalate the use of force where there were clear earlier junctures when the force could have been avoided or minimized.” They specifically cited a 2010 instance where officers repeated punched and used tasers on an individual with mental health issues – causing severe personal injuries.
The findings of the investigation hardly came as a surprise to many Oregonians, who frequently hear of the Portland Police Bureau’s rather physical and violent way of dealing with purported offenders of all types, whether they are mentally ill or not. In 2008, a woman beaten during a traffic stop sued the PPB. In 2009, three men who were beaten and tased during a fight were awarded $175,000 by a Portland, Oregon jury, who agreed that the Portland police had used excessive brutality in restraining the men. In 2010, the family of college student Daniel Collins, who was beaten and tased during a fight he wasn’t a part of at a Portland nightclub, sued the police in a case that is still ongoing. In all of these cases – and several others like them – officers of the public safety caused great personal injury to individuals.
Even worse, the police often use their guns in dealing with people. In these cases, the personal injuries can be even more serious and are accompanied by emotional trauma for the victims and their families. Also earlier in September, a Portland man shot in the stomach during a police operation in north Portland filed a lawsuit against the officers who shot him. At the time, he was standing in the front doorway of his house, with his wife and children in the house behind him. He spent weeks in intensive care recovering from the gun-inflicted personal injury.
Most of us assume that the police exist to protect us and to keep our roads safe. Unfortunately, given the example of the Portland Police Bureau, that’s not always the case. If you’ve sustained personal injuries in an encounter with the police, whether a physical beating or a gun injury, you can get help recovering your expenses for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering with the help of an attorney who specializes in those types of cases. Call us, and we will refer you to an attorney who can help: 541-617-0555