A state trooper is suing the city of Eugene and the police officer who ejected him from a college football game at Autzen Stadium, claiming that he was roughed up and wrongfully detained after a fight in the stands that didn’t involve him.
Marc Boyd’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, seeks damages totaling $400,000 or an amount to be determined at trial. Named as defendants are the city and Eugene police officer Jed McGuire. Police department spokesman John Hankemeier said Monday that he could not comment on the pending litigation.
Boyd’s attorney, Sean Riddell of Portland, said Monday that “a case of mistaken identity” apparently led police to eject the off-duty trooper from the stadium on Oct. 19 during a game between the University of Oregon and Washington State University.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims that Boyd was seated in an area of the stadium where two other men had been fighting, and that he had calmly questioned another unruly spectator — a man who was wearing a hat adorned with plastic marijuana leaves — about whether he had tickets to sit in the section.
McGuire, “for some unknown reason,” approached Boyd after becoming aware of the disturbance in the stands, then jabbed the trooper in the torso with a flashlight and cursed at him while ordering him out of the section, the lawsuit states.
Boyd claims in the suit that McGuire asked him for identification, then refused to identify himself or tell Boyd why he had been pulled from his seat. McGuire and Boyd exchanged more words before McGuire and other officers took him into custody, according to the lawsuit.
Boyd denies resisting officers’ efforts to handcuff him, and says in the suit that he suffered “embarrassment and public ridicule” when police escorted him from the area.
After taking Boyd into custody, Eugene officers notified the department’s on-scene commander, Capt. Scott Fellman, who walked Boyd out of the stadium.
Boyd’s handcuffs were removed before his exit, and he was not issued a citation or booked into jail. Lane County prosecutors later reviewed the case and decided against filing criminal charges.
Police typically oust dozens of rowdy spectators from the stadium during football games, and the majority of those ejections involve intoxicated people.
In Boyd’s case, McGuire wrote in a report documenting the incident that the off-duty trooper smelled of alcohol and admitted to having consumed “a few” beers before being handcuffed by McGuire and two other officers.
One of those officers, Matthew Grose, wrote in a separate report that Boyd wore a T-shirt at the time that read “Beer is the answer. Now what was the question?”
McGuire’s report states that three other spectators said Boyd had provoked an altercation in the stands. Police said Boyd refused to produce proof of identification when asked by McGuire, and struggled with officers before being handcuffed.
Boyd, 49, was banned from all UO property for 18 months after being ejected from the stadium.
He also was placed on paid administrative leave after the off-duty incident. Boyd returned to active duty earlier this year after state police conducted an administrative investigation. He is currently on unspecified “approved leave,” state police Lt. Gregg Hastings said Monday.
Boyd became a state trooper in 2004, and in 2008 was named the agency’s fish and wildlife division officer of the year.
He is now assigned to the state police patrol division, Hastings said.
Boyd filed a misconduct complaint against McGuire after the Autzen Stadium incident. Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns ruled earlier this year that McGuire violated the police department’s courtesy policy when he swore at Boyd, but determined that the officer did not use excessive force or break policy by refusing to identify himself to Boyd, as the trooper had alleged.
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