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Quick Flashes #36

Young Latina Beaten By Portland Police Wins $140,000 Lawsuit

On August 3, the City Council approved a $140,000 settlement with a teenager who had been detained and beaten by Portland Police while waiting for a bus. According to the August 3 Oregonian, Maria-Janeth Rodriguez-Sanchez, 15, was at a Tri-Met bus stop on April 8, 2003, when Officer Denise Kuemper (#17724) asked her for identification "because she thought the girl was acting suspiciously."

After Rodriguez-Sanchez and her friend handed over their IDs, officers Leo Besner (#27981) and Paul Poitras (from Gresham PD) arrived. Rodriguez-Sanchez apparently reached to get a soda from her friend, and the two male officers "grabbed her arm, shoved her face into a wall, [and] threw her to the pavement." Though she had been doing nothing more than reading a newspaper when Kuemper first arrived, the officers decided to exclude her from Tri-Met for 30 days for "disorderly conduct and interference with police."

[May 18 Willamette Week article]

Protest Lawsuit: City's Final Tab is $845,000

When attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild tallied their expenses for work suing the City over police violence at protests in 2002 and 2003, the tab came to $545,000. The City of Portland agreed to pay those fees along with the $300,000 that went to the plaintiffs (see PPR #34). Money from the settlement will help fund the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center, which will monitor police actions and bring litigation where necessary in the future.

Unfortunately, the City would not agree to the NLG's proposed policy changes on crowd control. However, police have scaled back their tactics dramatically at protests in the last two years.

Reach the NW Constitutional Rights Center at 503-295-6400.


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