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Lawsuit Claims Excessive Force By Eugene Police

Rachael McDonald

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday says Eugene police used excessive force and wrongfully arrested an African-American mother and son last summer. The suit was brought by the sister and nephew of the head of the Eugene chapter of the NAACP.

Early on the morning of July 16, Ayisha Brown called the police non-emergency number asking for help with her 19-year-old son who was having a mental health crisis. Police arrived, and over the course of more than an hour, the interaction between police and the family became violent. Officers arrested both Brown and her son. Attorney Brian Michaels says police behaved aggressively and made the situation much worse than necessary. And, he says racism played a role.
Michaels: “Although they weren’t targeted because they were African American, that’s for sure, but the excessive reaction, the excessive violent reaction, would not have occurred if it was a white mother with her white son.”
Michaels says both mother and son were brutalized, Aiysha Brown reports long-term effects from a concussion suffered during the incident. The lawsuit seeks undisclosed punitive damages. It names the City of Eugene and five EPD officers as defendants.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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