A disabled Oregon photographer is suing a Portland police officer and the Portland Police Bureau after a 2018 incident in which he alleges the officer knocked him unconscious while he was photographing a protest, causing a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
Leo Hall is a 60-year-old photographer from Lane County, Oregon. Hall's lawsuit alleges that on August 4, 2018, he and his wife drove to Portland to visit their relatives. Hall uses a cane for mobility assistance. Upon entering Portland, the couple encountered a clash between Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group, and a collection of antifascist counter-protestors.
At that point, Hall decided to photograph the clash. During that time, Portland Police were ordered to clear the demonstration and began firing flashbang and tear gas grenades into the crowd while ordering the protestors to disperse. Hall's lawsuit alleges that he could not move as quickly as other people due to his disability, at which point he was confronted by officer Spenser Perry. Hall then asked Perry for his name and badge number, at which point Perry instead responded by "turning his metal baton sideways in both hands, and bashing it into Mr. Hall's chest and arms." Hall then fell to the ground and was knocked unconscious, at which point Perry stepped over him without checking on his condition.
Hall's lawsuit claims he suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, and PTSD from the incident. The lawsuit also says Hall's general demeanor has been permanently affected and has caused difficulties with his marriage. As such he is suing officer Perry for assault, battery, and excessive force, as well as the Portland Police Bureau for failure to properly train Perry. Hall is asking for $250,000 in damages.
The incident is not the only one associated with the day's events; another protestor was hospitalized after being struck in the head by one of the flash grenades fired by the police. Police eventually discontinued the use of flashbang grenades after an investigation.
The police have declined to comment on the case.
Lead image by Flickr user Old White Truck, modified to blur word on protestor's sign and used under Creative Commons.