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Thread: Portland ordered to pay $175,000 to three men over false arrest re gun carry

  1. #1
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    Officer Besner is getting expensive. He's cost the city $675,000 so far.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index...o_three_m.html

    Portland ordered to pay $175,000 to three men in false arrest
    By Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian
    September 28, 2009, 8:37PM

    A Multnomah County jury Monday ordered the city of Portland to pay three men a total of $175,000 for a 2007 encounter with police at a downtown parking garage in which the men accused officers of battery, assault and false arrest.

    The jurors found the testimony of two independent witnesses especially compelling. The witnesses, a young college couple, saw the entire episode and corroborated the stories of the three men: Harold Hammick, Ri'Chard Booth and Alex Clay.

    "Justice does work," Clay said after the verdict. "The system does work."

    A city attorney had argued last week during the trial that police were acting within the law when they stopped and detained the three man in the early morning after St. Patrick's Day 2007.

    The confrontation ended successfully, Portland city attorney Bill Manlove said, because there were "no injuries, no gunshots, no deaths, no high-speed chases, no foot pursuit.

    "Everyone went home safe," Manlove said.

    But the three young men claimed they were frightened and confused about why they had been stopped by officers who, they say, never offered an explanation.

    Greg Kafoury, the attorney for the men, said that the city's defense had invoked an ugly stereotype of young black men as belligerent, confrontational and profane.

    All three men have clean records, with no history of violence. Clay is a graduate of Portland State University and works with at-risk youth at Head Start. Booth assembles mattresses, and Hammick is a computer technician.

    Hammick, Booth and Clay had come downtown to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Portland's entertainment district. According to Kafoury, Hammick and Booth had returned to an SUV in the parking garage at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Alder Street when they encountered the police. Clay showed up later after stopping at a pizza parlor.

    The men sued the city for $300,000 for what they described as 40 minutes of terror in which they were held at gunpoint while officers searched their car and checked to see whether the handgun Hammick was carrying was stolen.

    The city tried to portray Hammick as an angry man with a gun who may have been involved in an altercation on the street before the encounter with police.

    Officer Leo Besner testified that there was a big crowd on the street that morning, shouting and getting ready to fight. One group wore white T-shirts, and another group wore black T-shirts.

    Besner said he saw Hammick on the street, running in a white T-shirt when the two groups were shouting at each other. He later came across him in the parking garage in the SUV about 2:45 a.m.

    Early in the encounter, Hammick told Besner he had a gun and handed over his concealed weapon permit, Besner testified.

    After Hammick indicated the gun was in his waistband, Besner drew his weapon and took a half-step back. Two other officers on the scene also pulled their weapons.


    A short time later, Besner said, he cut Hammick's seat belt because he didn't want Hammick to reach near the gun to unbuckle the safety harness. Then, he told Hammick to get out of the car and took the handgun.

    Hammick, Besner testified, was "definitely unhappy ... From the get-go, he was argumentative."

    But Kafoury told a different story. All three men, he said, were wrenched from the SUV and handcuffed.

    Kafoury also said that Besner punched Hammick twice in the groin and questioned his manhood during the confrontation, accusations the officer denied.

    "We know that the plaintiffs were not confrontational," Kafoury told the jury during his closing. "The word they used more often than any other was 'please.'"


    Hammick, he added, had tears streaming down his face.

    The men also said that police told other people in the parking garage to move along, Kafoury said in closing arguments, "because they did not want witnesses."

    The two witnesses who scrunched down in their car seat so they could watch the confrontation said all three men pleaded with passers-by not to leave them alone with police.


    Those witnesses were a key to the jury's verdict, said forewoman Karen Nootenboom. She also said jurors felt as if Hammick, Booth and Clay "were at the wrong place at the wrong time," Nootenboom said, "and seemed to be targeted."

    Race was discussed only briefly during deliberations, she added, as jurors wondered whether white men would have been treated the same.

    Besner has been at the center of controversy before. In 2005, while he was a sniper with the Special Emergency Reaction Team, Besner shot a suicidal man who was holding a weapon in the backyard of a duplex. The man was on the phone with a police negotiator at the time. The city paid the man's family $500,000.

    Detective Mary Wheat, a Police Bureau spokeswoman, said after the verdict that "Officers were concerned about the public's safety and their own safety and making sure nobody got hurt. And no one did."

  2. #2
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    Ofc. Leo Besner has control problems: he gets out of control.

    He should be fired immediately.

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    KBCraig quoted:
    SNIP ...The confrontation ended successfully, Portland city attorney Bill Manlove said, because there were "no injuries, no gunshots, no deaths, no high-speed chases, no foot pursuit...

    "Everyone went home safe," Manlove said...


    ...Detective Mary Wheat, a Police Bureau spokeswoman, said after the verdict that "Officers were concerned about the public's safety and their own safety and making sure nobody got hurt. And no one did."
    But, Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) be damned. Just as long as nobody is shot, bruised or broken, and the police don't have to put themselves out with a high-speed chase or foot pursuit.

    Those comments make me almost as angry as the incident itself.

    For new readers:

    No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. Terry vs Ohio quoting Union Pacific Rail Co vs Botsford, US Supreme Ct.


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Ironbar's Avatar
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    Portland police are the biggest bunch of complete and total a$$holes in law enforcement.

  5. #5
    Regular Member Cremator75's Avatar
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    Ironbar wrote:
    Portland police are the biggest bunch of complete and total a$$holes in law enforcement.
    That is about as dumb as saying all gun owners are crazy right wing extremists. I have a couple friends in the PPD that are great guys. There are bad apples in every bunch.





    Edited for grammar.

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    Ironbar wrote:
    Portland police are the biggest bunch of complete and total a$$holes in law enforcement.
    Ironbar, I appreciate your passion but let me bring a few things to light for you.

    My father retired from the PPB a few years ago so here are some thoughts.

    PPB officers get alot of negative attention from the liberal public and mediathat pervades in here in PDX. They also get it from their city counsel members, mayors, and worse yet, senior leaders within the organization who are selected by these cookpoliticians because they are "Yes" men and women. They do not mind sh_ _ ting on their own people to appease the looney public officials who promote them and invite them to their snooty parties.

    This isNOT true of all the leadership in PPB, just some key figures. However, this problem is indicative of ALL governmental agencies at ALL levels.

    Each agency/company/business has a few loonies in it's ranks.That can never be cured, just dealt with when the loons can no longer contain themselves and screw up (and they always do eventually). Blaming an entire agency based on the actions of a few is simply ignorant (leave that for the liberal media to do).

    In his 25 years of service, I can attest he did far more good than bad as an officer serving his community. His only downfall was how timid he became later in his career to help people. I attribute this to nuisance lawsuits and exceedingly poor police policy guidance from his leadership.

    These brave men and women don't know us, but they put on that uniform and lay their lives on the line for all of us, our families, communities each day. Let's give them the repect and admiration the majority of them deserve.







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    KBCraig wrote:
    "Justice does work," Clay said after the verdict. "The system does work."
    If it worked, the civil verdict would have come while the officer involved was spending some extensivetime in the state pen.



  8. #8
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    KBCraig quoted:
    SNIP ...The confrontation ended successfully, Portland city attorney Bill Manlove said, because there were "no injuries, no gunshots, no deaths, no high-speed chases, no foot pursuit...

    "Everyone went home safe," Manlove said...


    ...Detective Mary Wheat, a Police Bureau spokeswoman, said after the verdict that "Officers were concerned about the public's safety and their own safety and making sure nobody got hurt. And no one did."
    But, Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) be damned. Just as long as nobody is shot, bruised or broken, and the police don't have to put themselves out with a high-speed chase or foot pursuit.

    Those comments make me almost as angry as the incident itself.

    For new readers:

    No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. Terry vs Ohio quoting Union Pacific Rail Co vs Botsford, US Supreme Ct.

    A lot of the inmates of Buchenwald weren't shot, bruised or broken as they entered the gas chambers...no high speed pursuits there. The only question is why isn't that pos Besner in jail for murder? With respect to Sturmbanfuhrer Wheat's statement: I wonder if the taxpayers, out close to a million dollars in the two incidents, think "nobody got hurt"? In this one case, substantial justice was done.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

  9. #9
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    "Not too America over there" alarm is going off yet again!

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    ilbob wrote:
    KBCraig wrote:
    "Justice does work," Clay said after the verdict. "The system does work."
    If it worked, the civil verdict would have come while the officer involved was spending some extensivetime in the state pen.

    Yes those officers should get in some trouble! And no, apparently the system doesn't work. An honest man with a CHL doing no harm has 3 guns pointed at him...

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    All of you folk condemning the entire Portland PB, take a look at Pavegunner's post. I grew up in and around Portland and he's 100% correct.

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    American Rattlesnake wrote:
    All of you folk condemning the entire Portland PB, take a look at Pavegunner's post. I grew up in and around Portland and he's 100% correct.
    I grew up in and around Portland and it is my opinion that he is 100% wrong. The media treats these aggressive adrenaline junkies with kid gloves through and through, and still can't manage to avoid making them look bad. PPD breaks laws, searches illegal, falsely arrests and discriminates as a matter of policy. Woe is you if you ever have the misfortune of coming in contact with the PPD.

    Edit: And yes, there's a couple good officers unfortunate enough to be thrown into the barrel of rot. I knew one who was a pretty good guy, though he was only a reserve and never an actual sworn officer.

    And PPD also isn't the worst in the area. Gresham, Troutdale, Milwaukee and Sandy make PPD look like the shining hallmark of good policing.

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    grishnav wrote:
    SNIP...hallmark of good policing.
    I've been wondering. Can there really be such a thing as good policing?

    http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  14. #14
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    Citizen wrote:
    grishnav wrote:
    SNIP...hallmark of good policing.
    I've been wondering. Can there really be such a thing as good policing?

    http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm
    Yes. A system that as built such that:

    - Funding is voluntary
    - No crime exists without a clear victim. Buying, selling, and using drugs, carrying a handgun while picking up your kid at school, etc., are all defacto-legal, because there is no victim.
    - "Justice" is based on three factors, restitution, rehabilitation, and public safety, rather than punishment factor currently used today. IE., if you break something, you make restitution. If you keep breaking things, you are go to rehabilitation. Jails are a last resort reserved only for those truly dangerous persons that actually pose a continuing danger to public safety and can't or won't be rehabilitated; your serial killers, serial rapists, serial arsonists, and the like.

    If you only applied these three points to our policing system -- hell, if you only applied the last two -- you'd have a system that was a whole hell of a lot more "just." And for the most part, restitution functions as a highly effective rehabilitator, so you don't even really need a rehabilitation system.

    If you look at the system suggested by the doc you linked, it has these three qualities, in varying quantities. Our present system has none of them.

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    grishnav wrote
    ...Buying, selling, and using drugs... are all defacto-legal, because there is no victim.
    Man, you had me until then. There are quite a number of things considered unlawful which indeed are victimless crimes, but drugs definitely aren't one of them.

    Anyone who stops and considers the big picture - how drugs are made, where they come from, and the environment they create would tell you that there are always victims where drugs are involved - including alcohol.

    Honestly, I'm not even going to qualify that statement - there's entirely too much evidence to support it.

    And the position of "it's only like that because it's illegal - if it were legal, things would be be just like alcohol" really doesn't hold water with me. The exploitation that occurs where drugs are made won't ever go away until people stop buying drugs.

    There's nothing you can say to change my opinion about this - so don't expect a dialog. We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, I think, since I doubt I'd be able to convince you to come around to my opinion either.

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    Autonym wrote:
    Anyone who stops and considers the big picture - how drugs are made, where they come from, and the environment they create would tell you that there are always victims where drugs are involved - including alcohol.
    I have a friend who grows his own pot, which he smokes. Should he be in jail? Who is he harming? Please identify a victim, since they are so obvious and there are so many.

    The exploitation that occurs where drugs are made won't ever go away until people stop buying drugs.
    What exploitation occurs with drugs that doesn't occur in any industry, especially illegal ones?

    There's nothing you can say to change my opinion about this - so don't expect a dialog.
    Spoken like Sarah Brady herself.

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    Honestly, Grish, f*ck you man.

    I try to constructively comment on your post, respectively assert that we have differences of opinion, and you compare me to Sarah Brady?

    Please...

    Your worldview doesn't support people who disagree with you? You must live a pretty frustrated life.

    Your "friend" is his own victim. Self-inflicted, sure, but a victim just the same.

    On a semi-related note (just a drug reference, not anything really related to the point we're discussing here), this is a fascinating read (if rather old - 2003), kind of like watching a car accident occur in front of you in slow-motion:

    http://www.westword.com/2003-09-04/n...ty-people/full

    Be the moth, Grish...

    P.S. - Apologies to KB for the threadjack here, but I had to respond to Grish's low blow. I'm done.

  18. #18
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    Autonym wrote:
    Honestly, Grish, f*ck you man.
    I'm flattered, but straight.

    I try to constructively comment on your post, respectively assert that we have differences of opinion
    Jumping in, rejecting a viewpoint outright based on "evidence" of which you are so unquestioning of it's veracity that you don't even bother to state it -- and silmultaniously using it to imply that I'm an idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about, then rejecting any possibility of discourse to build understanding... that is not constructive criticism. That's arrogant, sophomoric spew. Ending with "we'll have to agree to disagree" doesn't change that fact.

    and you compare me to Sarah Brady?
    If it quacks like a duck...

    Your worldview doesn't support people who disagree with you?
    Nope, I don't support people who disagree with me. I do, however, tolerate and consider alternate viewpoints, apparently unlike yourself.

    Your "friend" is his own victim. Self-inflicted, sure, but a victim just the same.
    Now you just sound stupid. Are people who eat bacon victims of bacon? Are people who enjoy butter on their toast victims of cows? Where, exactly, do you draw the line? Would you also prohibit nicotine and alcohol? Are alcoholics "victims of the bottle"?

    Considering that my friend uses the cannabis to treat chronic pain induced by a vehicle accident that nothing else (short of heavy narcotics, life morphine) has relieved, I really doubt he feels like more of a victim of pot than someone with a headache feels like a victim of Advil. Unless I've horribly misunderstood, you'd throw him in a cage for experiencing pain relief, not only taking away his freedom, but causing him to suffer, since he can't access the plant. Is that your position? Is denying pain treatment to suffering people your idea of compassion, Autonym?

    Furthermore, this just reeks of blaming the gun instead of the user, so to speak. Also a very Brady-ish thinking error/tactic.

    And if the plant isn't harming him, and it's consumption is giving him pain relief or even pleasure, how exactly is he a victim of it?

    You completely ignored my question about the supposed exploitation in him growing a cannabis plant for pain relief, so I'll just assume you've conceded that point.

    Ultimately, you're correct that we'll have to agree to disagree. My world view respects life and individual sovereignty, and tolerates and respects other people exercising their beliefs and living by their values, at least to the extent that their beliefs and values don't harm another. Your worldview, well, doesn't. You believe in violence, I believe in peace. You won't convince me that I shouldn't respect other's choices, and I'll not convince you that you should respect other people's choices.

  19. #19
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    lol at the guy with the last name of "Manlove"

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    Autonym wrote:
    Anyone who stops and considers the big picture - how drugs are made, where they come from, and the environment they create would tell you that there are always victims where drugs are involved - including alcohol.
    Well, if you want to go down that path, the same can be said about beef consumption.

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    Bm7b5 wrote:
    Autonym wrote:
    Anyone who stops and considers the big picture - how drugs are made, where they come from, and the environment they create would tell you that there are always victims where drugs are involved - including alcohol.
    Well, if you want to go down that path, the same can be said about beef consumption.
    Take everything in moderation, even moderation.:celebrate

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    Ironbar:

    Would your great-guy cop friends be willing to testify against a Besner if the occasion arose?

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    Pavegunner wrote:
    Each agency/company/business has a few loonies in it's ranks.That can never be cured, just dealt with when the loons can no longer contain themselves and screw up (and they always do eventually). Blaming an entire agency based on the actions of a few is simply ignorant
    In his 25 years of service, I can attest he did far more good than bad as an officer serving his community. His only downfall was how timid he became later in his career to help people. I attribute this to nuisance lawsuits and exceedingly poor police policy guidance from his leadership.
    If any officer allows a fellow officer to break the law, and does not act in a way to stop his illegal behavior, They themselves are no better than the one committing the crimes against the public. So, I do not care of an officer is the most fair and honest person on the force, if they allow someone else in uniform to act poorly, it makes them no better!
    These brave men and women put on that uniform and lay their lives on the line for all of us, our families, communities each day.
    Nobody forced them to take that job!

    Let's give them the repect and admiration the majority of them deserve.
    When they treat someone in a respectable, professional manner, I agree they do deserve some respect.
    But when they are rude, combative, overstepping their authority and balatantly trampling peoples rights and trying to escelatea situation, They do not deserve any respect and therefore I refuse to respect those types.
    Things have a way of taking care of themselves when there is a problem, I have seen it happen many times.

    One of the most memorable was a young officer in Greenfield WI, he was obnoxious, well one day he got obnoxious with the wrong person. And he spent many hours inthe hospitalfor facial reconstruction surgery.



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    Citizen wrote:
    grishnav wrote:
    SNIP...hallmark of good policing.
    I've been wondering. Can there really be such a thing as good policing?

    http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm
    As far as the Constitution goes, it does not prohibit the states or local jurisdictions from having police. However, nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Federal government can have them, thusly they are barred. This would include the BATFE, DEA, FBI, and the Treasury Dept.
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

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    Ironbar wrote:
    Portland police are the biggest bunch of complete and total a$$holes in law enforcement.
    Bah, you only try to make that argument because you don't live in Chicago or NYC ...

    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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