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Legal Observer Files Tort Claim After Police Officer Shoved Him


A legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild filed a tort claim Thursday against the city of Portland, arguing a police officer used “unreasonable and unlawful” force during downtown protests last weekend.

On Sunday, Christopher Kuttruff was working as a volunteer legal observer with the Portland chapter of the National Lawyer Guild, according to his attorney Kenneth Kreuscher.

Kuttruff was filming police officers as they made arrests in downtown Portland. His goal as a legal observer, Kreuscher said, was to document police activity.

“Without any justification that we are aware of, a Portland police officer appears on video — and through Mr. Kuttruff’s descriptions — appears to lunge at him and push at him and assaults and batters him,” Kreuscher said in an interview Thursday.

OPB reporter Ericka Cruz Guevarra captured the conflict on video.

The claim names “PPB Officer Hughes” as the person who pushed Kuttruff, but Kreuscher said he didn’t know the officer’s first name.

After he was pushed, Kuttruff fell to the pavement.

He went to urgent care following the incident, Kreuscher said, and suffered neck and back pain, but no broken bones.

Neither the city attorney’s office, nor Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Office immediately returned requests for comment late Thursday.

Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley said the department doesn’t comment on pending claims or lawsuits.

“The events of Sunday will be reviewed, which is also standard procedure,” Burley wrote in an email.

Kuttruff has not filed a lawsuit, but Kreuscher said he could do so in the future.

Kreucher said his client wants the city to admit wrongdoing by paying out financially.

“It’s money, but money as a proxy for justice,” Kreuscher said. “The way that our court system, our justice system, often times provides justice is by providing money.”

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