City of Gresham settles with woman who had phone taken by police - KPTV - FOX 12

City of Gresham settles with woman who had phone taken by police officer

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Four years after an officer took a woman's phone, the city of Gresham is settling with her and the ACLU at a price of $85,000.

The ACLU and Carrie Medina held a press conference Monday saying their fight was not about the money but about sending a strong message that everyone has the right to film police.

Medina was at 5th Avenue and Broadway in Portland in 2013 when she said she saw what looked like a rough arrest where a man was thrown to the ground, so she pulled out her phone and started recording.

She said shortly after the incident an officer came up to her and demanded to see her phone. Medina claimed he told her that he needed to look at her footage to see if there was any evidence of a crime on it.

That officer was Gresham Police Department Officer Taylor Letis, who was assigned as a transit officer for TriMet.

Medina said she refused to give up her phone without a subpoena or warrant, and that is when she said the officer grabbed her phone from her and also twisted her arm.

With the help of the ACLU, Medina filed a lawsuit against Letis, the city of Gresham, TriMet and the city of Portland, due to its role in overseeing TriMet, which alleged that her constitutional rights were violated.

As part of the settlement, Gresham police and Portland police agreed to implement specific policies and officer training to make sure employees know they can be filmed by the public.

Medina says every dime of the money from the settlement will go to the ACLU, and she feels like her case will make a difference on the streets of Portland and surrounding cities.

"I'm feeling hopeful. This was a lot of work, just for me personally, a lot to go through, to have your name drug through the media,” she said. “But I feel good about it. I feel like I was vindicated and policies did change and people are more aware."

Medina also said that she hopes her case will help people realize that they have the right to record police activity.

The city of Gresham has yet to respond to requests for a comment on the settlement. As part of that settlement, Gresham, Portland and TriMet did not admit any fault or wrongdoing, and a city of Portland spokesman told FOX 12 they have trained officers on the new recording policies.

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