Multnomah County (OR) District Attorney Mike Schmidt has declined charges in 12 use of force investigations against Portland Police Bureau officers responding to protests.
The most high-profile case — captured on video and extensively reported on by Oregon Public Broadcasting — shows Officer Thomas Clark charging into an unruly crowd before tackling nurse Tyler Cox and punching him in the head three or four times, KOIN reports.
In a July 9 memo to the D.A., prosecutor Nicole Hermann found that Clark was initially pursuing a man holding a skateboard when he noticed Cox, clad all in black, “running alongside… in a parallel motion that caught Officer Clark’s attention.”
Per the memo, Clark then prepared to arrest Cox for interfering, but Cox failed to comply and instead began to run away.
“The video shows Mr. Cox struggle with Officer Clark, kneeing him, and putting his hands up into Officer Clark’s face knocking Officer Clark’s helmet off of his head,” the memo says. “Officer Clark was vulnerable without head protection and needed to get Mr. Cox under control as quickly as possible.”
The arrest occurred during a riot on Aug. 31, 2020, where the rioters set fire to a dental office and burglarized the business.
Of the other 11 dropped cases, eight were closed after the person alleging the use of force or their attorney told investigators they no longer wished to participate in the case, or because investigators simply received no response at all.
The other three dropped cases were referred to the D.A. by Portland Police Bureau’s Detective Division for criminal investigation.