A federal jury in Portland, Or., awarded more than $200,000 to a man who was struck by a Taser five times by a police officer who suspected him of spray-painting graffiti on a commercial building. Daniel Halsted, 36, who has no criminal record, called the 2008 encounter with officer
Benjamin Davidson “the most traumatic experience” in his life.
Attorney Joseph Grube argued that Davidson failed to identify himself as an officer on a dark street at 1 a.m., wrongly assumed his client was involved in the vandalism and used force disproportional to the alleged crime of “petty vandalism.” Once Tased, Halsted said he fell, had his face pushed into the ground and suffered facial fractures and abrasions to his head and hands. Police cited him for resisting arrest and criminal mischief, but prosecutors didn’t file charges. “He’s not allowed to needlessly attack someone without probable cause,” Grube said. “A police officer should not assume someone is guilty before they use force.”