Eugene Civilian Review Board Agrees With Most of EPD’s Adjudication on May Protests

Dec 16, 2020

 

A screenshot from a video of people running in downtown Eugene after police officers fired a weapon in the direction of community members on May 31.
Credit Elizabeth Gabriel / KLCC News

Eugene’s Civilian Review Board (CRB) discussed a community impact case Tuesday involving the investigation into the Police Department’s use of force during protests in May. The board agreed with most of EPD’s adjudication.

This community impact case includes six investigations into allegations of misconduct, six incident reviews—including review of each night of the weekend demonstrations, four inquiries, and one service complaint.

As part of an impact case, the CRB had three options:

1. Concur with the preliminary adjudication;
2. Develop recommendations regarding the complaint, investigation, or relevant policy and procedural issues; and/or
3. Require the City to reopen the investigation. This is only an option if the Civilian Review Board finds that either (1) the investigation was incomplete or inadequate, and the Civilian Review Board believes that additional investigation could change the adjudication, or (2) if the Civilian Review Board finds that the adjudication is not supported by substantial evidence.

The board agreed with the adjudication for five out of six cases of use of force. Within the sustained case, the board did not approve three allegations involving the use of a 40mm impact weapon by a police supervisor.

The adjudication also included a case that was sustained by EPD, involving an incident when an officer used tear gas.

The following is a review of the case summaries, as presented during the CRB meeting:

Case Review #1: Supervisor A was assigned as a SWAT team leader and issued a 40mm “less-lethal” launcher. Supervisor A fired five 40mm rounds at four different individuals on the night of May 31.

Allegations:

  •   #1: That Supervisor A used excessive force when deploying a 40mm round at two unidentified women.
  • #2: That Supervisor A used excessive force when deploying a 40 mm round at one woman who was later arrested.
  • #3: That Supervisor A used excessive force when deploying two 40mm rounds at an unidentified male.
  •   #4: That Supervisor A used excessive force when deploying a 40mm round at an unidentified male.

Preliminary Adjudication for Case #1:

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Within Policy on all
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Sustain #1, #3, #4. Within policy on #2, with policy recommendations.
  • CRB Vote: Sustain #1, #3, #4. Within policy on #2, with policy recommendations.

Case Review #2: On May 29, a group of demonstrators walked up the westbound lanes of I-105. Two employees drove ahead of the group to attempt to stop them from moving further up the freeway. The employees were overtaken by the crowd. One employee was trapped in his vehicle, and demonstrators broke the windows of his vehicle.Supervisor A, while attempting to reach the employees, encountered the same crowd, who hindered their progress. Supervisor A’s video captured them saying, “I’m going that way, [expletive].” Allegations:

  •   #1: That Supervisor A used profanity while interacting with the public in violation of policy.

Preliminary Adjudication for Case #2: 

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Within Policy
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Within Policy
  • CRB Vote: Within Policy

Case Review #3: On the night of Friday, May 29, Officer A was part of a “field force” line working to disperse the crowd downtown. As the line moved through downtown, they encountered a group of three individuals who did not leave in response to orders from EPD. When the officers on the line got close to the individuals, Officer A pushed one of them forward with a PR-24 baton, and the woman fell. This was one of a few incidents where a person could be seen to be knocked to the ground with a baton. A reporting party called to complain that such an incident happened to her daughter.Allegations :

  •  #1: That Officer A used excessive force during an encounter with the reporting party’s daughter.

Preliminary Adjudication for Case #3: 

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Within Policy
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Within Policy
  • CRB Vote: Within Policy

Case Review #4: On the night of Sunday, May 31, Officer A was assigned to an armored vehicle. The vehicle followed a crowd of demonstrators, giving admonishments related to the curfew. The group moved toward the University of Oregon campus, and the command decision was made to use CS gas to prevent them from entering the campus area. Officer A deployed two CS gas canisters from the top of the vehicle, and the second canister struck a person in their midsection.Allegations:

  •  #1: That Officer A used excessive force when they struck a person with a tear gas canister.

Preliminary Adjudication for Case #4:

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Sustained
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Sustained
  • CRB Vote: Sustained

Case Review #5: On May 29, Officer A and Officer B were issued PepperBall launchers and assigned to assist with crowd dispersal and crowd control. They fired hundreds of PepperBall rounds between the two of them over the course of the night.On May 31, Officer A and Officer F (both with PepperBall launchers) responded when a supervisor called for assistance. Officer A fired numerous PepperBalls at a person approaching the supervisor.Allegations:

  • #1: That Officer A used excessive force when firing hundreds of PepperBalls.
  • #2: That Officer A used PepperBalls under conditions where they could affect innocent bystanders.
  • #3: That Officer A used excessive force when firing PepperBall rounds in a specific incident on May 31.
  • #4: That Officer B used excessive force when firing hundreds of PepperBalls.
  • #5: That Officer B used PepperBalls under conditions where they could affect innocent bystanders.

Preliminary Adjudication for Case #5: 

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Within Policy on all
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Within Policy on all
  • CRB Vote: Within Policy on all

Case Review #6: On May 29, Supervisor A was assigned to direct officers into a field force team to disperse what had turned into a riot. Supervisor A’s instructions to the team were captured on body-worn and were determined to warrant a deeper look.Allegations:

  • #1: That Supervisor A’s directions to his team illustrated poor judgment in violation of policy.

Preliminary Adjudication forCase #6: 

  • EPD Chain of Command and EPD Chief: Within Policy on all
  • Preliminary Adjudication for Police Auditor: Within Policy on all
  • CRB Vote: Within Policy on all 

According to Police Auditor Mark Gissiner, the case will be returned to EPD Chief Chris Skinner for his final decision on the adjudication, after receiving the viewpoints and recommendations of the CRB.

During the meeting, CRB member Carolyn Williams encouraged both police officers and community members to advocate to state representatives for videos in the impact case--as well as all body camera footage--to be made public, as it is currently against public records law for the public to see body worn camera footage.

The review board will talk more generally about the impact case during their Jan. 12 meeting, in which community members can provide public comments about the case.