PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two women are planning to sue the City of Portland, saying they’re traumatized over a police stop gone wrong.
The two women describe a terrifying ordeal at the hands of those sworn to protect them, claiming that they were never ordered to pull over when police allegedly slammed into their car and pointed guns in their faces. The women said they were illegally held with no evidence of a crime even after police learned they had the wrong car.
“There were 5 to 10 cops running at us with guns just screaming like, ‘get your hands up,’ you know, and we had no idea what was going on,” said Hilary Rossio, who was the passenger in the vehicle.
“For the people who are supposed to serve and protect me, I don’t feel protected at all,” added the car’s driver Colleen McDonald.
Rossio and McDonals told KOIN 6 that their scenic trip to the Columbia River Gorge ended in chaos, pain and car damage. The women say as they were heading home on Aug. 29, they were passed by a vehicle driving recklessly on I-84. They thought nothing of it until later when the pair were t-boned by police as they traveled towards Beaverton-Hillsdale highway.
“I saw the police officer coming from my left side, and that’s when I turned on my blinkers and tried to pull over in this spot, and then as soon as that happened we just turned 90 degrees immediately,” McDonald said.
According to a tort claim filed on behalf of the women on Monday, “a Portland police SUV, without lights and without warning, violently struck Colleen’s car into a hard spin, wrenching both of their bodies. A second Portland police vehicle came head-on … At no point was Coleen ever ordered to pull over or given a chance to comply with an order to do so.”
“They kept screaming, ‘keep your hands up,’ and we’re like, ‘okay, okay.’ and then she was yelling, ‘you got the wrong person. We saw that guy drive past us all the way at 102nd and now we’re at Terwilliger,'” McDonald said.
The women say officers caused nearly $5,000 worth of damage to McDonald’s car and then proceeded to hold them illegally even after allegedly admitting they had the wrong car.
Despite a verbal apology, the two women are citing negligence, assault and civil rights violations in the claim.
“Right before removing Hilary and Colleen from the car, the police realized they had the wrong people. Only then did the officers calm down… When asked if the car they were after was similar to Colleen’s car, the officer said they weren’t sure,” the claim says.
“The guy jumped out of the car was provoking the police and was able to get back in his car safely and leave, but they somehow got us mixed up in the situation,” Rossio said.
Months later, the two women say they are still dealing with the lasting physical and mental impacts of that night, telling KOIN 6 they hope to gain some accountability and ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else – as they believe it could have been prevented.
“He could have pulled us over and seen that we weren’t the right people, but they apparently, purposely brought us to a remote area over here to do the pit maneuver,” McDonald said.
“It’s really traumatizing. I mean, just when you’re driving at night and you see any cop cars or extra bright lights, I just pull over,” Rossio added.
KOIN 6 reached out to Portland police and the city for a response to the claim, which was redirected to the city attorney’s office, which declined to comment.