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Prisoner Education Guide

Hearing Impaired Man Beaten by Oregon Police While in Custody Awarded $500

by Christopher Zoukis

Michael Evans, a hearing impaired man who was kicked and punched by several officers at the Multnomah County Detention Center in Oregon, was awarded a meager $500 by a federal jury.

     On September 11, 2006, Evans was booked into the detention center. As a result of a partial hearing impairment, he could not hear commands made by officers there. After failing to respond to commands, Deputy Richard Hathaway and Deputy Robert Griffith allegedly kicked, punched and placed Evans in control holds. Officer Ryan Albertson allegedly joined in the attack and Sergeant Cathleen Gorton allegedly threatened to shoot Evans in the face with a Taser.

     Evans claimed that he suffered a broken nose and continues to have problems with his peripheral vision because of the beating. Evans said he did not receive any medical attention until about 18 hours after the attack. He was placed in disciplinary solitary confinement, where he was isolated in a small cell for 23 hours and 45 minutes of every day for 60 days. Evans also was charged with assaulting a public safety officer.

     Evans filed a complaint against the four officers, along with Sheriff Bernie Guisto and Multnomah County in Multnomah County Circuit Court. On October 12, 2007, the case was removed to the U.S. District Court. Evans alleged violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, assault, battery, malicious prosecution, failure to train and failure to adequately supervise.

     A jury trial began on December 8, 2009 and the jury returned a mixed verdict seven days later. Hathaway was found liable for excessive force, and Hathaway and Griffith were found liable for battery. The jury awarded Evans $250 for each claim, for a grand total of $500, with interest.

See: Evans v. Multnomah County, et al., United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Case No. 07-cv-1532-BR (Dec. 15, 2009)

 


 

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