Elizabeth Evon Nichols, an Occupy Portland protester who was pepper sprayed by a Portland police officer in fall 2011, sued the city for excessive force and lost. Now she must pay the city $7,116 in court costs.
Nichols, 23, had sought $30,000, noting the excruciating pain of pepper spray in her eyes and throat -- and the ensuing nightmares, depression, and worsening eczema.
But the jury sided with Portland, and so the city was entitled to recover its costs of defending itself. Deputy city attorney David Landrum said he offered to drop the city's pursuit of costs if Nichols agreed to waive an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He called one of Nichols' attorneys with the offer, the Oregonian reports.
"I said 'I don't need to drag this money out of her,'" Landrum said, noting that he knows Nichols is a college student at Portland State University. At the time of her federal trial, she also was working as a janitor.
Landrum said he didn't hear anything for weeks, so he called back and got his answer: Nichols decided to appeal. So the city sought its payback.