$545,000 lawsuit alleges Portland police injured DUII suspect - KPTV - FOX 12

$545,000 lawsuit alleges Portland police injured DUII suspect

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A DUII suspect stopped by Portland police claims officers beat him to the point he suffered "fear of death" and now he's suing for more than a half-million dollars.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Jason Cox, 39, claims he required shoulder surgery, while suffering "vulnerability and humiliation," from the incident on June 18, 2011.

His lawyer, Jason Kafoury, released surveillance video of the arrest from an adjoining business, as well as an image of Cox's bruised and swollen face following the arrest.

On Tuesday, Portland police released a longer version of the surveillance video from June 18, 2011, which includes Cox's truck driving into the parking lot and medical personnel at the scene after the altercation.

That night, officers reported seeing a truck pulling out of a bar's parking lot in southeast Portland fish-tailing with its tires squealing. Officers followed the truck to Pallas Club, a strip club near Southeast 136th and Powell Boulevard.

According to police reports, Cox denied his truck was involved. Officers said his speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet and he smelled of alcohol.

Police said he agreed to a field sobriety test, but then failed to follow commands. Officers said he told them he had been a military police officer.

"His overall demeanor, alcohol, the fact he hadn't been searched and comments about being in the military caused me great concern for my safety, as well as the safety of my cover officers," the police report states.

Cox was taken to the ground as he resisted, according to the police report. The report describes a struggle between the suspect and officers, as well as vulgar insults from the suspect toward the officers.

A Taser was used, but deemed ineffective, according to police reports, and "controlled blows" were delivered to Cox's head. His lawyer said he was punched seven times and hit with the Taser four times.

Cox was eventually taken into custody and charged with DUII, reckless driving and resisting arrest. Officers said he refused a breath test examination.

A blood test showed his blood alcohol level was .07 percent, below the legal limit of .08, but he later pleaded guilty to DUII, according to his attorney. He said Cox pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal that saw all the other charges dropped.

On Tuesday, Portland police released a letter sent to Cox from the bureau's internal affairs unit, dated Oct. 28, 2011.

It said investigators reviewed the reports, the surveillance video and interviewed three independent witnesses. All three witnesses stated Cox was uncooperative with the officers from the beginning of the incident and he escalated the situation with physical resistance.

The letter concludes by stating the officers did not violate bureau policy and no further investigation into the matter would be ordered.

Cox's lawsuit alleges the city of Portland knew the involved officers "were likely to react in situations involving a degree of confrontation with unreasonable force or threats of forces." It also claims the city was negligent in failing to discipline or adequately train, transfer or fire officers who used unlawful force.

The lawsuit is seeing $545,000 in damages.

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