Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works


Site Navigation

About us
People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Cool links
Other Information
Contact info


Quick Flashes PPR #50 May 2010

Two Portland Cops in Road Rage Incidents

Within days, news came out about "road rage" incidents involving two high-profile Portland Police Sergeants. One was Kyle Nice, who was involved in the death of James Chasse Jr. in 2006 (see shootings article in this issue). Nice pulled his gun on a man he says cut in front of his pickup truck while Nice was driving his 6-week-old child around. The other, Scott Westerman, head of the Portland Police Association (PPA), unbelievably had two incidents with the same driver two days apart.

Neil Ruffin, the man who says Sgt. Nice pointed a gun at him, filed a lawsuit seeking $145,000, blaming the City for not properly disciplining Nice. Officer Thomas Brennan, whose rants against civilians have peppered the PPA newsletter (PPR #45-46), previously filed a complaint against Nice for flying off the handle at a homeless man. Instead of Nice being disciplined, Brennan was shuffled off to the evidence division (Oregonian, April 9).

Virginia Thompson was stopped by Sgt. Westerman: (1) near I-205 on Portland's east side on January 28, where he screamed at her to dim her lights, and (2) on the southwest Beaverton- Hillsdale Highway January 30 after Westerman allegedly slammed on the brakes in front of the car. Westerman swears it was a coincidence that he approached the same car twice, explaining that he was dealing with "personal circumstances" the first day and was trying to get to his son's soccer game on the second (Oregonian, April 10).

The Bureau's manual of policies and procedures states in directive 311.30, Off Duty Responsibility of Officers: "Members shall not make arrests, issue citations, or use their official position to gain an advantage in a personal conflict."

Interesting notes:

--The day between Westerman's two incidents was the day Aaron Campbell was shot.

--Westerman has shot and killed two people in psychiatric crisis, Patricia Sweaney in 1996 (PPR #14) and George Waldum in 2000 (PPR #22).

--Westerman did not remember saying he was an officer, yet Thompson was able to file a complaint.

--After the first incident, police had trouble identifying Westerman via his license plate.

--On April 19, Westerman announced he would step down as PPA President effective June 19.

Back to top

Two Portlanders Roughed Up, Speak Out

PCC student and athlete Delease Carter and 32-year-old Shei'meka Newmann each brought forward complaints of unnecessary force by Portland Police. Carter says Officer Scott Broughton (#40218) and four others threw her to the ground , put a knee on her head, cuffed and frisked her when she and her friends were walking in the middle of the street on January 28. Carter was smoking a cigar and the officers sprung to action when she moved her hand to take the cigar out of her mouth (Oregonian, February 5). Newmann says she was roughed up by Officer Aaron Dauchy (#30873, the other officer in the "beanbag" incident with Officer Chris Humprheys-- PPR #49) and James Sandvik (#36242) on a MAX platform in February 2009. Her crime? Asking why they had pulled a man off the train. Newmann filed a lawsuit for $152,000 on November 19 (Willamette Week, November 25). Both Carter and Newmann are African American.

Back to top

Cop Accidentally Douses Man Who Set Himself on Fire with Pepper Spray

Two days before Aaron Campbell was shot, reportedly suicidal 26-year-old Daniel Shaull set himself on fire in downtown Portland. A responding police officer accidentally grabbed a giant can of pepper spray instead of a fire extingusher to try putting out the blaze. Because both canisters are red, the unnamed officer says she made a mistake and feels "heartsick" (Oregonian, January 29). Whether or not the aerosolized hot pepper being sprayed on Shaull's burning skin caused excruciating pain and accelerated his death are unknown, though Chief Sizer claimed "In fact, it didn't contribute to his death" (KPTV, January 28).

Back to top

Cops to Help City Crack Down on Alcohol Sales Downtown--But Not for Highbrows

While champagne corks may be popping and diners selecting an expensive wine at the downtown Arlington Club, homeless people in the same area are being restricted from their choices of alcohol by the Portland Core Alcohol Impact Zone Agreement (PCAIZA). This is just another example of how rules differ between the haves and the have nots, the rich and the poor, the housed and the homeless.

Holders of Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) off premise sales licenses are agreeing to "voluntarily" participate in the PCAIZA. The agreement is supposedly addressing "the chronic problem of public intoxication downtown."

The recitals of the Agreement state that the Impact Zone is home to over 53% of citywide reported drinking in public and 25% of detox incidents according to Police Bureau reports, and that 69 stores in the area sell alcohol. The Agreement focuses on high alcohol content beverages in large containers, saying they are "known to be favored by those who drink in public illegally." The licensees agree to not sell single containers of malt liquor and other specific products. The few exceptions include beverages brewed in the state of Oregon and gift shops in hotel lobbies. At the March meeting of the Sidewalk Advisory Committee (see above), Officer Mark Friedman stated there are many people drinking in public, including "kids coming down," and that there is "no one typical person." A Committee member pointed out people's right to drink and that the homeless people have no other place where they can drink. In Oregon, it is not a crime to be intoxicated in public, but if the intoxicated person cannot care for him/herself and becomes a problem for others, that person will be taken to Detox.

ONI staff mentioned that they are working with PSU to do a study regarding the effectiveness of this project.

Back to top

  People's Police Report

May, 2010
Also in PPR #50

"We Shot Another Unarmed Black Guy in the Back"
Shooting Leaves Homeless Man Dead
Review Board May Get Teeth-9 Years Later
Review Committee Finds Excessive Force by Frashour
Taser Ruling Should Raise Bar for Portland Cops
  Man with Disabilities Tasered by Transit Cops
Rights Commisison: Immigration Yes, Oversight No
Sheriff's Candidates Relate Positions
Legal Briefs: Self-Defense OK in Resist Arrest Cases
  Cops Weigh in on Legal Briefs
Updates PPR #50
  • Thinly Veiled New Sit/Lie Law
  • Convoluted Anti-Camping Rules

Quick Flashes #50
  • Two Portland Cops in Road Rage Incidents
  • Two Portlanders Roughed Up, Speak Out
  • Officer Uses Pepper Spray on Man Set Ablaze
  • Cops Crack Down on (Some) Alcohol Sales
Rapping Back #50

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #50 Table of Contents
Back to Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Back to top