Portland has always been a pretty safe city. When I was younger I felt
perfectly safe being out and about late at night pretty much anywhere
in town. Now, though, I am much more cautious and do not feel so comfortable
being out by myself at night. That may also be the case for Daniel Halsted.
He is a Portland resident who was Tased repeatedly by a Portland police
officer as he walked home late one night in 2008. It was, Halsted claims,
a case of mistaken identity. A jury agreed that police officer Benjamin
Davidson used excessive force.
The police and Halsted offered two very different accounts of the incident.
Halsted said he had been out with friends and was walking home when someone
flashed a light at him. He heard someone yell to “get him,”
so Halsted ran. He then heard someone yell to Tase him, and after that
he felt pain. Halsted said he yelled for help as the officers Tased him
several more times then pushed him into the ground. He had to be taken
to a hospital.
The police officers were in pursuit of some graffiti vandals. Davidson
said he was notified that a suspect was on Wasco Street, so he went to
the location, where he saw several men running. He claims he identified
himself as police and yelled at Halsted to stop, but Halsted would not
stop, so he Tased him. Davidson claims he used appropriate force.
Whatever the case, the jury believed Halsted. For more on this story, see