A federal lawsuit filed by a victim of excessive force ended in a record settlement this week. According to OregonLive.com, the lawsuit filed by William Kyle Monroe, who is still recovering from his injuries nearly two years later, still needs to be approved by the City Council but will end up being $2.3 million—the largest in Portland’s history.
Monroe has is bipolar and on the day of his shooting, he had become lost and disoriented. The police were called when he was acting erratically where a group of children were playing. When the Portland police arrived, Officer Dane Reister told Monroe to put his hands on his head and to kneel down. Monroe put up his hands but asked why he should have to get down. He told the officer that he hadn’t done anything wrong, and began to back away. As other officers arrived, Monroe ran off and Reister fired lethal rounds from a beanbag shotgun.
Reister fired four shots in rapid succession. The fifth jammed. The shots punctured Monroe’s colon, abdomen, and bladder. It fractured his pelvis and severed his sciatic nerve, leaving a “softball-size hole in his left leg.”
Beanbag rounds are designed to be less than lethal, when used appropriately in the right shotgun. Officer Reister, however, had checked out a more fatal weapon that day.
The lawsuit alleged the encounter was preventable had the city prohibited officers from mixing lethal and non-lethal weaponry. It also accused the city and Reister of violating Monroe’s civil rights.
Apparently the city recognized their fault early on and the majority of mediation was spent deciding on a dollar amount.
While the lawsuit didn’t ask for Reister to lose his job, the city is apparently still considering it—almost 2 years after the incident. Reister is still employed (and being paid) by the department though he has pleaded not guilty to charges of third- and fourth-degree assault and negligent wounding.
And this isn’t the first pool of hot water for Reister. Five years earlier he “mistakenly fired a loaded riot-suppression launcher during training, injuring an officer posing as a protester with a smoke round.”
If you are targeted by the police for a law violation, whether or not you did it, resisting or trying to run can only make things worse. If you are facing charges for a drug crime, resisting arrest, or a violent offense, call for a legal defense consultation.