PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) – Portland City Council has agreed to pay out another settlement to a Portlander who was injured during the 2020 racial justice protests.
Jorge Bello was participating in a protest on Lombard Street in North Portland on the night of Aug. 24, 2020, when he said he was assaulted by Portland Police officers, including members of the PPB Rapid Response Team. Bello was forced to the ground and lost consciousness as multiple police officers held him down and attempted to interrogate him, the lawsuit stated.
Bello was thrown head-first into a police van, hitting a fire extinguisher, before paramedics arrived and took Bello in an ambulance, he alleged.
Bello “suffered a concussion and contusions to his head/neck/shoulders that resulted from the unreasonable excessive force he was subjected to by the Portland police officers,” including Sergeant John Oliphant, the lawsuit claimed.
Portland City Council approved a $60,000 settlement with Bello on Wednesday, March 15.
In his lawsuit, which was originally filed in state court but later moved to federal court, Bello’s attorneys sought $5,000 in economic damages and $250,000 in non-economic damages. Bello had roughly $10,000 in medical expenses.
Police kept Bello’s phone for more than a month, according to the lawsuit.
Bello asserted that the assault started after he questioned police about why they were arresting protesters. Police did not give Bello any warning or command before using force, Bello alleged.
City attorneys said police had declared an unlawful assembly and riot and made multiple announcements “ordering the crowd to disperse and get out of the streets as well as warnings that people who remained would be subject to potential uses of force.” Oliphant saw Bello “hiding in a group of people wearing markings identifying themselves as press” and moved toward him “to arrest him for the crimes of Disorderly Conduct II and Interfering with a Police Officer and attempted to demask him,” the city attorney wrote. Bello did not face any criminal charges in the incident, court records show.
The city attorneys denied that police used excessive force.
Bello’s attorney, Daniel Le Roux, did not respond to a request for comment.
This was the second 2020 protest lawsuit to come to city council this month. On March 8, city council approved a $55,000 settlement with another protester.
City council has now approved at least 13 settlements stemming from the 2020 protests against police brutality and racism.
The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 media partner.