Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works


Site Navigation

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


Lawsuit Information in Portland:
Incomplete and Incorrect Data Make Tracking Impossible

In our previous issue, Portland Copwatch (PCW) updated our top 25 settlements list for payments from the City of Portland to people for police misconduct cases, which includes judgments and jury awards dating back to 1991. The Portland Mercury ran a feature story in its October 20 issue validating one of the concerns we have had for years: that it is impossible to accurately track which officers have committed the most violations, how much money Portland has paid out in these cases, and how much additional money has been spent on legal fees.


The Mercury's public records request brought in information from 4674 claims, listing the badge (DPSST) number of every officer involved in the various incidents, regardless of whether they were the involved officer, a witness, or someone who showed up to the scene (as so many do after shootings). The Mercury reports a total of over $10 million paid out from 1991 to 2011 to 1000 people (while PCW has tracked $9.5 million paid to just over 225 people), and legal fees of nearly another $10 million.

Unfortunately, a data expert at UCLA declined to analyze the information after Deputy City Attorney David Woboril told her it was "quite inaccurate, particularly regarding the allegations in the cases, but also regarding the payout amounts." Why take his word for it? Why not analyze the only official data we have to work from? Apparently, the Risk Management folks who enter the information into the City's computers don't have guidelines for classifying cases, as, say, use of force or wrongful arrest, so the information varies depending on who typed it in. Using the new data, PCW hopes to update its database and top 25 list, which needs to include at least the huge First Amendment case of preacher Edward Gathright, who was wrongfully excluded from Pioneer Courthouse Square, costing the City $211,006.58 in 2008. Check our website for updates.

Man Sues Over Arrest for Refusing Consent to Search

Portland Copwatch has done many "Your Rights and the Police" trainings over the years. One of the main issues presented is that when officers ask to search you, say loudly and clearly, "I do not consent to this search." It appears this phrase means nothing to certain police officers, and for some civilians, asserting this right means a quick trip to jail. In November 2009, Jose Gasque, an engineer from Vancouver, WA was sitting on a curb in Old Town, visiting with a friend. They were approached by Officer Tequila Thurman (#48256), who ran checks on the men showing no criminal history. After patting them down for weapons, she was going to go through their pockets. Gasque took out his ACLU "Know Your Rights" guide and refused to be searched. Officer Thurman responsed that he either had to consent to the search or "it was jail time until Monday" (Oregonian, November 8).

He was arrested for criminal trespass, cuffed and taken to jail, while the friend who consented to the search was let go. Gasque was in jail for about 3-1/2 hours early on a Sunday morning. Four months later, a prosecutor had the case dismissed, as Gasque was not trespassing and was sitting in an area open to the public.


Through the ACLU of Oregon, Gasque is suing the city of Portland for $180,000, alleging false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and other violations of his rights.

PCW has cautioned the Police Bureau to train officers not to punish those who clearly assert their rights. Obviously, they have not conducted such training successfully.


January, 2012
Also in PPR #55

Cop Indicted, Others May Go Free
  • Other shootings in Oregon
Brutality, Eviction for Occupy;
  Right 2 Dream Camp Continues

Council Makes Minor Changes To
  Review Board

Review Board Considers Future,
  Prepares Appeal

Sit Lie Targets Homeless and
  African Americans

OR Courts Protect Recording of

Incomplete Lawsuit Data; Man
  Arrested for Not Giving Consent

Human Rights Commission, CPRC
  Merged and Absorbed

Reese Not Mayoral Candidate;
  Copwatch Meets With Chief

  • Road Rage Cops
  • DUII Charges for Cop

Quick Flashes
  • Cop Arrested For Barging In Ex's House
  • Graffiti Cops Raid Art Show
  • City Hires "Park Rangers"

Rapping Back #55

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 #55 Table of Contents
Back to Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Back to top