People's Police Report Updates January 2006 (Issue #37)

Bedtime for Bernie: Sheriff Under Scrutiny

[Giusto in 9/13/05 Tribune] Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto has been raked over the coals during the past few months. His efforts to drum up support for opening more jail beds hit a significant snag on Nov. 23 when former Sheriff Dan Noelle blasted his plan for opening 114 spaces, previously mothballed in 2004. While there seems to be no concern about how Giusto will use $1.3 million from the City of Portland to pay for 57 other beds (as part of a broader plan that also, thankfully, includes rehabilitation), Giusto couldn't seem to make the numbers work within the County's $2 million budget. Noelle said the plan lacked adequate provisions for overtime costs, and criticized Giusto for hiring more deputies before money for the jail beds was approved (Portland Tribune, November 29). After publicly sparring with Giusto, the County Commissioners approved a compromise budget on December 7.

Meanwhile, citizen crimefighter Jim Jeddeloh, who was "assisted" by having two deputies ship him off to rehab thanks to Giusto (a "friend" of Jeddeloh's wife--see PPR #36), is facing charges for violating his restraining order. After being accused of violence against her, Jeddeloh came too close to his wife--they still attend the same athletic club. The Willamette Week notes that "despite revelations of a drunk-driving conviction, charges of domestic violence and his latest arrest, [Jeddeloh] still heads the Citizens Crime Commission" (November 16).

[Kruger in Sheriff Giusto took another hit when the Attorney General's office announced they were investigating him for possible misconduct in assigning the deputies to follow Jeddeloh, a domestic violence suspect, and get him to the treatment center. DA Mike Schrunk deferred on heading up the investigation because of his "working relationships" with Giusto and Jeddeloh (Oregonian, November 10).

Neo Nazi Cop Proudly Displays "The Claw"; Faces More Charges; Admits Targeting Activists

Lieutenant Mark Kruger, who was known to dress up as a Nazi (see PPRs #31-33), apparently kept a photo above his desk of himself dragging a protestor into a police van by the face--a move dubbed "the claw" (Willamette Week, August 31).

Kruger, promoted to Sergeant and then Lieutenant despite his background, is also the subject of a new lawsuit. Amber Hicks says he dragged her 15 feet by the hair at an anti-Bush rally near the University of Portland in 2003. A video shows her "strolling the middle of [a] park, nowhere near the street" where Kruger contends she was when he grabbed her. In his deposition for the case, Kruger admitted the officers were "provided with photographs of activists they should keep an eye on" (Portland Mercury, September 15).

More Buzz on Tasers

[Berkeley CW Taser article] On Halloween evening, a man crossing a downtown street was stopped by police and tasered multiple times. Perhaps most disturbing is the revelation that three officers used Tasers on him at once. While we raised numerous concerns when Portland issued the electroshock devices to all officers in June, we did not envision this kind of abuse. What is the cumulative impact of three Tasers sending 50,000 volts surging through the human body at the same time?

On the bright side, if it can be called that, Chief Foxworth issued a bulletin in October limiting Taser use following the release of a report by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Officers are now supposed to document the reason for each trigger pull (which cycles the gun for five seconds) and avoid repeated shocks if the probes hit the suspect across the chest as it "may impede breathing and respiration." The memo requires immediate medical attention for people exhibiting signs of difficulty breathing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation into Taser, Inc. in January, 2005 to determine whether safety claims were misrepresented (see PPR #35). That inquiry turned into a formal, grand-jury-like probe in September. By then, the company's stock had "fallen nearly 80 percent, erasing more than $1 billion from the company's market value" (New York Times, September 28). A former federal prosecutor stated that with this new level of scrutiny, the Justice Department may also begin probing Taser.

Police officers in Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Missouri have filed lawsuits saying they were seriously injured while training with Tasers. Chief Pete Herring of Hallsville, MO claims "'painful, permanent and progressive' hearing and vision loss and neurological damage, strokes and cardiac damage." Belle Glade, FL Officer John Gerdon says he had spinal fractures and burns. Taser CEO Rick Smith likened the injuries to those experienced by athletes. In response, Phoenix Lawyer John Dillingham said "This is not the same as wearing a tennis shoe and spraining an ankle. It's more like breaking an ankle every time you tie the laces on a shoe" (Arizona Republic, August 20).

Just east of Portland, 64-year-old Lee Games sued Gresham police and Taser for $75,000 after officer Jonathan Hardy used a stun gun on him in August, 2003. Because Games suffers from hypertension and diabetes, he says Hardy would not have tased him had he been properly trained (Oregonian, September 12).

Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government released a report on October 24 which examines "less-lethal" weapons. The study reports that over 150 people have died shortly after being "tased." It also critiques other weapons like pepperballs which have caused death and serious injury. Their conclusion is that officers are likely using these weapons more often than they would be using lethal weapons in similar circumstances rather than as alternatives to deadly force. In their words, "the spread of these weapons may lead to more use of force overall, not less."

Read the report at


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