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What To Do If You’re Seeing a Case of Police Brutality

We support the efforts of law enforcement in making our neighborhoods safer, but we cannot ignore the increase in cases of police brutality taking place in Portland and throughout the country. As experienced civil litigation and trial attorneys, we can help individuals and families affected by these incidents get the compensation they deserve, but it is up to private citizens to take action at the moment police brutality occurs. Here is what you need to know about the issue as it affects our area, and what you can do when you see it happen.  

Police Brutality In Portland

In February of 2017, 17-year-old Quance Hayes became the latest in a series of victims in cases involving police brutality that have occurred in Portland over the last several years. According to an Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) report, Hayes was killed in Northeast Portland by Officer Andrew Hearst, who was one of three officers involved in the 2013 shooting death of 50-year-old Merle Hatch, another case in which the actions of officers were called into question.

According to Portland CopWatch, a project of Peace and Justice Works, there have been over 15 officer-related shooting deaths of citizens in our area since 2010, and double that amount of officer shootings resulting in injuries. These are just the reported cases and do not include episodes where people have fallen victim to aggressive police actions, such as being wrongfully stopped and pushed, punched, or slammed against vehicles.

Actions To Take When Police Brutality Occurs

The Oregon Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states that while protecting the public safety is a vital and difficult job, it should not require law enforcement officials to sacrifice civil rights and liberties to do so. Police officers need to be held accountable for their actions, but it often requires regular citizens to take action when police brutality does occur.

Through the ACLU’s Oregon Mobile Justice App you can stand up for your rights while taking specific action to deter police brutality, whether it involves you or others:

  • Record: Record police incidents and interactions with your cellphone camera, which are automatically emailed to the Oregon ACLU office;
  • Witness: Alert other Mobile Justice App users of an issue and your location so they can appear on the scene to act as witnesses;
  • Report: Get information, such as the officer’s name and badge number, for detailed reports on the incident;
  • Know Your Rights: Through this easily accessible overview of citizen rights in police encounters, be informed on what is or is not allowed during police stops.

Our Portland Personal Injury and Civil Litigation Attorney Is Here To Help

If you, a friend, or a family member has been the victim of police brutality, contact the Johnston Law Firm immediately. We can act as a strong legal advocate on your behalf, advising you on how to hold state and local officials accountable for the actions of their officers so you can get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have suffered. Call or contact our office online today to request a free consultation.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.