Lawsuit expected against Portland police officer accused of assault

(courtesy Ericka Cruz Guevarra/Oregon Public Broadcasting)

A Portland police officer is accused of pushing a legal observer to the ground at last Sunday’s protest, and now a tort claim notice has been filed against him.

Attorney Kenneth Kreuscher told FOX 12 that his client, Christopher Kuttruff, was acting as a volunteer legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild Sunday. He was videotaping interactions between Portland Police Bureau officers and protesters to “protect human and constitutional rights for assembly.”

Videos gathered in such situations are often used in discussion with city leaders to address policy changes that should be enacted moving forward, Kreuscher said.

According to Kreuscher, Kuttruff was not interfering with police in any way while videotaping the arrests of two counter-protesters when he was “assaulted and battered” by the officer “without warning.” The encounter was captured on video by an OPB reporter.

People yelling at police right now for their treatment of protestors. Something went off. People running away from state troopers now @OPB— Ericka Cruz Guevarra (@erkagvra) September 10, 2017

Kuttruff had some minor physical injuries to his neck and back and sought treatment at an urgent care center, Kreuscher said.

Now, a tort claim notice has been filed with Mayor Ted Wheeler and the city attorney’s office. Monetary damages are being sought, but an exact amount has yet to be decided.

“This case isn’t really about money, it’s more about justice,” Kreuscher told FOX 12. “What we want to do is incentivize the Portland police, the City of Portland and individual officers to not use force unreasonably and unlawfully against non-violent demonstrators, observers.”

FOX 12 reached out to the Portland Police Bureau, but a spokesperson said the bureau does not comment on pending litigation.

While Mayor Ted Wheeler hasn’t specifically commented on this incident, he did say in a statement that in general, he supported how officers handled Sunday’s protests.“We were clear about our expectations prior to Sunday and followed through on them. Our goal was to protect everyone’s right to assemble while also protecting everyone’s lives.”Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.



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