A jury took just four hours to return a verdict that clears police of using excessive force against an Occupy Portland protester.
An officer reportedly struck Elizabeth Nichols in the throat with a baton and another officer sprayed her open mouth with pepper spray during the incident in late 2011.
Despite the loss in court, Nichols’ attorneys say they’re happy that the issue has been aired publicly and that attention has been trained on the police reaction to demonstrations.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” said Ben Haile, one of Nichols’ attorneys, according to Statesman Journal. “We think this goes to show that a lot more work needs to be done to make sure people are safe when they come downtown to protest.”
RT.com reports that according to the suit filed by Nichols, Officer Doris Paisley dragged her by her hair and charged her with interfering with police. Nichols was convicted in 2012 and ordered to pay a $130 fine.
Nichols “was so overcome by pain that she flinched and spun away” from Sgt. Jeffrey McDaniel after he sprayed her directly in the mouth with pepper spray, according to the lawsuit.
“She hunched over with her hands on her face. After a moment she felt her legs collapsing and sat down on the sidewalk,” the lawsuit read.
Nichols originally sought $155,000, but later reduced that amount to $30,000.
The officers’ defense team said in closing arguments that the police were doing their job in a difficult situation during the protests.
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