Portland to pay $ 5,000 to settle trial of Montana man sued by police while holding “Liability” sign after protest



The city of Portland is set to pay $ 5,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a 22-year-old Montana man who alleged that officers violated his free speech and falsely arrested him last summer after chasing him from the sidewalk in front of his hotel where there was a sign that read “Responsibility” and “Transparency”.

The city made the offer before Cale Josephs’ lawyer dismissed the officers involved.

Josephs and her boyfriend had participated in a protest earlier that night outside the Justice Center in downtown Portland in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

After police ordered the crowds to disperse, Josephs and his friend returned to their hotel, the Mark Spencer in the 400 block of Southwest 11th Avenue, and were standing on the sidewalk opposite when three police officers pulled up. suddenly rushed towards them in their cars, according to his lawyer.

Three officers came out and chased Josephs into the hotel lobby. He was taken into custody at around 12:30 a.m. on June 8, 2020, and accused of interfering with the police, but prosecutors never filed a complaint.

Josephs was unaware that prosecutors had closed the case until he returned to Portland about a month later from his home state for the arraignment date stated on his summons, his attorney Neal said. Weingart.

Weingart called the settlement a “just resolution”.

“I think they put Cale in a tough spot,” he said. “I hope the Portland Police Department notices when their officers act like this.”

Surveillance video, which does not include audio, showed Josephs pointing twice at the officers and apparently yelling something animatedly as the police pulled up to him and his friend. The officers suddenly rushed towards Josephs, prompting him to run. Police caught up with him and arrested him in the lobby, but not his boyfriend, the lawsuit says.

Josephs, according to the prosecution, held a sign reading “Accountability” and “Transparency” and officers told the couple they were violating the curfew, even though there was no curfew that night. , according to the lawsuit.

Josephs said he and his boyfriend got caught in tear gas fired at the protest crowd but dispersed, walked back to their hotel and were “just standing outside trying to catch our breath and in moments , the police just invaded us “.

He said he questioned the police as they stopped and ran towards him: “I am not allowed to be here to demand an end to their qualified immunity? “

His lawyer says the police sued Josephs for “responding to them.”

Josephs was questioned by two detectives before being released after three to four hours, Weingart said.

Police said Josephs was holding up a sign and refusing to leave the area after a police truck issued scatter orders. Police admitted arresting Josephs, taking him for questioning at police headquarters and citing him for allegedly interfere with an officer.

“The defendants had valid, legitimate, objectively reasonable, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons for all actions taken by them in relation to the plaintiff or the activities described in the plaintiff’s complaint, and these actions were not based on any improper grounds. or taken for an improper purpose, “wrote Deputy City Attorney Caroline Turco in a response to the lawsuit earlier this year.

Josephs and her boyfriend had left the protest area and, as two visitors from out of town, were unaware that the Mark Spencer Hotel was right within the confines of the dispersal area, Weingart said .

The city offered to pay Josephs $ 5,000 to settle the lawsuit. His lawyer accepted the settlement, which was filed in court on Tuesday.

The payment “should not be construed as an admission that the defendant is responsible in this action, or that the plaintiff has suffered damages,” the offer to settle says.

Josephs and her boyfriend had arrived in Portland after a road trip to the Pacific Northwest last summer, first stopping in Seattle to visit her boyfriend’s sister and driving towards the south along the coast before staying in Portland.

He transferred earlier this year from Montana State University to Georgetown University and lives in Washington, DC, now a junior student seeking a bachelor’s degree in international relations.

Josephs said he was happy an agreement was reached. Still, he added, “One of the downsides is that the police don’t admit their faults, which is disappointing and disheartening.”

–Maxine Bernstein

Email to [email protected]; 503-221-8212

Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian


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