The Portland Police Bureau's error in supplying the Citizen Review Committee with the wrong set of protocols may have influenced its decision to exonerate one of the bureau’s officers.
The officer was accused of using excessive force in 2014 when he used a Taser multiple times on Matthew Klug, a Portland man with epilepsy, a traumatic brain injury and diagnosed mental illness. Read more about Klug’s complaint and watch a video of the incident here.
The version of the rules the bureau gave to the committee to use in its decision making process was in effect from 2009 through 2013. A different version was in effect for the duration of 2014.
A list of all the dates these rules governing stun gun use have changed are easily accessible on the bureau’s website.
Had the bureau given the volunteer oversight board the correct version, it may have affected the committee’s decision to exonerate.
The most relevant difference between the two different versions of the directive was a change to an item listed below "Prohibited Use of the Taser."
Language that protects suspects in Klug's position – on the ground under multiple officers – from Taser usage was not in the outdated version that police gave the committee, but it was in effect at the time Klug was Tased.
Language was also changed to indicate that a struggling suspect was not reason enough to deploy a Taser. New language indicated the suspect had to pose “substantial risk of injury.”
It will be up to the Citizen Review Committee to decide if these differences in policy will affect its previous decision to exonerate.
There will be a recruitment information session for citizens interested in joining the oversight committee, which currently has one vacancy, at 5:30 p.m. on May 25 in the Rose Room at Portland City Hall.