On November 21, 2016, Kat Stevens and her partner attended a youth-led protest in response to the election of Donald Trump. Downtown, she was handcuffed and brutalized by Portland police officers. 

Kat is suing the city for up to $10,000 and costs. 

Kat's statement

My name is Kat Stevens. I am a co-founder of Portland's Resistance, an expectant mother, and a lifelong Oregonian. 
 
On November 21, 2016 my partner Gregory McKelvey and I supported a student led and organized protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump. We suggested chants, gave the student leaders advice, and participated in the march from Holladay Park across the Steel Bridge to downtown Portland. While we were accused of leading the march, we were merely there to support.
 
Once we reached downtown Portland, and after numerous instances of intimidation, Police pointed out and approached my partner. Worried he was hurt or unsafe, I approached and embraced him. Police ascended on us, aggressively ripping us apart. Police then grabbed me by the back of my jacket, violently choking me and dragging me to the ground.
 
I was handcuffed and held down by officers, completely immobile while another officer twisted my head and repeatedly struck the side of my face and neck, intentionally inflicting pain while I was held down on the ground. This continued after an officer dragged me to an alcove, twisting my body and causing internal bruising and spraining my elbow. As an officer kneeled on my back, the other office continued to press his fingers deep into my face and neck. My neck was twisted by police in unnatural ways for absolutely no reason. He was yelling at me, even though I was completed restrained, unable to move and not resisting. In my view, there was no need for this violence unless they were trying to teach me a lesson about using my first amendment rights and use me as an example to children as they watched in order to warn them of the physical pain they could expect if they continue to speak up. I was arrested and placed in a holding cell where I experienced pain in my arm, abdomen and neck. I was held for hours as I winced in pain. I could not walk and fell to the ground from my injuries as I exited the jail.
 
With the help of the ACLU of Oregon I am filing a lawsuit against the police for their incredibly violent and in my view retaliatory conduct. It was inspiring to see students organize and march together against the federal regime in Washington DC. It is unfortunate that the students instead learned that state sponsored violence and suppression of speech is much closer to home, and police saw it as an opportunity to harm activists in front of these youth, to scare them away from expressing their first amendment rights. I filed this lawsuit to fight police brutality against protesters, to put the city on notice that this will not be tolerated and to give a voice to the numerous people who I have seen withstand similar violence at the hands of the Portland police department. Resistance starts at home and we will never be able to combat the federal administration’s policies when our own officials allow for the violent suppression of free speech in our own community. I hope that as a result of this suit, someone, someday will be able to fight for what they believe in rather than experience violence. I hope that in response to this suit, our elected officials will be put on notice that it is their responsibility to reign in our rogue police department and discontinue business as usual. I hope that the police admit their wrongdoing and promise to never hurt innocent people for expressing their first amendment rights again.
 

 

Attorney(s)

Steven Wilker, Haley Morrison, Stephanie Grant

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Tonkon Torp

Court

Multnomah County Circuit Court

Status

Active

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