A Case of Mistaken Tasing

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 this article.