A Portland man who was shot by Oregon police after he exited his home has filed a lawsuit against the police department. The lawsuit seeks undisclosed economic and non-economic damages, accusing the officer who shot the plaintiff of exercising excessive force and failing to warn him before firing. The claim also asserts that the authorities never identified themselves and were negligent in choosing to open fire. The victim may have decided on civil litigation after the officers were cleared of criminal charges.
The lawsuit claims that the incident occurred shortly before 10 p.m. after the plaintiff’s wife heard someone climb over the family’s fence and into the back yard. After reentering the house, the woman reportedly saw a figure dressed in dark clothing. She alerted her husband, who then confronted the trespasser, who then told the man to go back inside without identifying himself. In response, the plaintiff retrieved an unloaded firearm from his house, hoping to use the weapon so scare away the trespasser. He stepped out into the open with the gun, officers immediately began shooting at him. He sustained at least gunshot wounds on his arms and stomach.
The man’s wife and children contacted emergency response personnel immediately after the attack. A 911 dispatcher told the victim’s 17-year-old stepson to care for his wounds, but police officers would not allow the boy to go to his stepfather. Police then instructed the family to leave their home and would not allow them to help their father, who was bleeding profusely on the porch.
In total, three officers fired at the victim after interpreting his actions as a threat. They had reportedly been preparing to execute a search warrant on a nearby property. While a representative for the Portland Police Bureau explained that authorities are still deciding whether or not to press criminal charges against the victim. A grand jury already ruled in favor of the officers, possibly prompting the victim to pursue a civil case.
Source: Oregon Live, “Portland man sot by Washington County officers in March when he thought an intruder was on his property sues the officers who wounded him,” Maxine Bernstein, Sep. 10, 2012