External Investigation to Follow Footage of Oregon PD Repeatedly Punching Homeless Man
A homeless man identified as Kevin Straw was beaten aggressively during an arrest by Oregon law enforcement on Monday, prompting A.C.L.U. Oregon to condemn officer behavior and call for an incident investigation.
Four Marion County Sheriff’s deputies approached Straw to take him into custody after causing disruption to a search and rescue mission in Detroit, Ore. Straw had ignored officers who requested he leave the radio operations and command center, where his shouting was obscuring the information coming in from search personnel.
Disturbing footage of the incident was captured by KGW-TV out of Portland, and shows the deputies removing a large blade from Straw whilst also delivering more than 20 blows to the back of his head.
“I am not resisting,” Straw says in the video. “Please stop.”
The officer delivering these punches, identified by the sheriff’s spokesman as Jake Thompson, has been taken off patrol duties until an investigation of the arrest is completed by outside law enforcement.
“My ultimate goal with the review of this incident is to be thorough and transparent with our findings,” Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers said in a written statement Tuesday.
The Marion County Sheriff’s department also published a copy of their use of force policy on Tuesday, following speculation that surrounded the video of the arrest.
“The primary consideration in every use of force situation will be whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the deputy or other persons,” the policy document reads.
David Rogers, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Oregon, called on the Marion County District Attorney’s office to get involved.
“That video is disturbing,” Rogers said. “Honestly, if that does not represent excessive use of force, I’m not quite sure what does.”
Straw, 28, has a documented history of mental illness and was assessed by the mobile crisis response team on the Saturday preceding his arrest. Straw refused any further medical treatment.
According to police, Straw was examined by paramedics and given a citation following the arrest captured on video. He was then taken in for a mental health evaluation at the Psychiatric Crisis Center in Salem.