Tort claim against Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office lays out alleg - KPTV - FOX 12

Tort claim against Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office lays out allegation of police brutality

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Clackamas County Courthouse (KPTV file image) Clackamas County Courthouse (KPTV file image)

A recently filed tort claim against the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office by a retired deputy puts forward some scathing accusations, including a suspected case of police brutality. 

Retired Deputy Joel Manley says he intends to sue the sheriff’s office over harassment and retaliation. 

Manley told FOX 12 the harassment and retaliation began after he refused to participate in a nude or semi-nude calendar shoot inside the Clackamas County Courthouse. 

“I was approached several times and I was pressured into doing it several times. I told several deputies including supervisors that it was a bad idea and we should not be doing it,” Manley said.

In his tort claim, he also accuses another deputy of requesting to be assigned to a certain courtroom so he could have a chance to “beat the **** out of him,” referring to a suspect. The hearing on the docket was with Ronald Strasser. 

Strasser has a known criminal history. He has several convictions on his record including DUII, criminal trespass, resisting arrest and assaulting a public safety officer, among others. 

Manley says Strasser is known to deputies. 

On July 6, 2017 Strasser was to be in court for a hearing regarding a criminal trespass charge.

“You could tell it was already going to be confrontational,” said Julian Tavera, a friend of Strasser who was in court that day.

According to an incident report obtained by FOX 12, Deputy Daniel O’Keeffe outlines what happened. 

He writes that when he entered the courtroom he recognized the suspect, Strasser, from multiple other contacts at the Clackamas County Courthouse. He writes, “I have personally responded at least three times in either the courthouse or the Holman Building in response to courthouse employees requesting law enforcement assistance because of Strasser’s aggressive and intimidating behavior.”

The incident report continues that when Judge Jeffrey Jones asked Strasser if his name was Ronald Strasser, he replied that he was not Strasser, but was in in court for the “Strasser matter.”

“Ronald goes, ‘my name is not mister,’ but he says ‘I am here on that matter.’ And he says, ‘I am here,’” Tavera said.

According to the report, the judge then ordered Strasser in contempt of court. 

“The judge says, ‘Well I guess he is not here and we are going to issue a warrant, a $25,000 for failure to appear,’ and he is saying, ‘I am here, I am here,’” Tavera said.

Moments later a scuffle broke out between O’Keeffe and Strasser.

“I then walked over to Strasser, who was no standing up and turned towards me, and reached for his left arm while telling him to put his hands behind his back.” the report reads. “Strasser said ‘excuse me?’” before pulling his arm away from my grasp. I then grabbed Strasser by the hair and drove him down to the ground to gain better control.”

O’Keeffe writes that during the struggle he “repeatedly and frequently ordered Strasser to stop resisting and to put his hands behind his back.” O’Keeffe said Strasser refused.

To get Strasser to comply, O’Keeffe writes that he “delivered a series of approx. 10-12 knee strikes into Strasser’s left side and lower back area.”

“Knees here, knees there, elbows to the back of the neck and then three or four other guys jumped him and they handcuffed him, hog tied him and dragged him out of the court room,” Tavera said.

“Mr. Strasser was held in contempt of court and the stage was set for him to be hurt by this deputy,” Manley said.

Manley added he had heard the idea that something was going to happen and didn’t think much of it until the incident inside the courtroom.

That’s when Manley said he tried to report what he had heard. 

“They didn’t want to hear what I had to say, they didn’t want to hear the problems that I was trying to report, they were trying to silence me from reporting anything by simply canceling the interview,” Manley said.

The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office is looking into the incident. 

“We are currently reviewing this allegation in relation to how we will proceed in State v. Strasser,” Deputy District Attorney Chris Owens said.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office issued a brief statement Thursday evening saying, “The Sheriff's Office can not make any statements regarding ongoing litigations.”

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