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Report: Deputies violated use-of-force policies in arrest

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon sheriff has apologized for an arrest captured on video that ended with one of his deputies punching a homeless person 17 times in the head, and says that its sworn staff violated department use-of-force policy.

Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers refused to say in a statement Friday, the five deputies caught on camera by the KGW-TV violated the policy or that they would be disciplined.

Prosecutors who reviewed the case declined to file charges against Deputy Jacob Thompson, repeatedly punching 28-year-old Kevin Straw — who also goes by the name Tessa Lovelace — during the arrest of 4 June.

The Oregon State Police has also reviewed the arrest and determined Marion County deputies violated his policy.

Deputies need more training on interacting with people with mental illness and de-escalating incidents with people who are in apparent spiritual crisis, ” he said.

“It is the goal of the Sheriff’s Office to meet the public safety, the needs and the expectations of the community that we serve,” Myers said in a statement. “In this case, I believe that we, as an Office, fell short of our community expectations, and I apologize.”

At the time, deputies said Straw had repeatedly called on officials involved in the search for two missing fishermen in Detroit, Oregon. Crisis intervention specialists had contacted Straw after earlier reports that he was shouting at passers-by in the area.

In the video, an officer forces Straw right arm behind his back, and the other grabs his left arm. But if the officers together lower the man to the ground, face-down, Straw extends his left arm for itself. If Straw is struck, an officer can be heard saying: “your hand behind your back.”

After the punches are delivered, a fifth officer jogging on the scene and places his knee on the Straw head.

In addition to the extending of his arm, Straw does not appear in the battle in the video, and is ultimately fascinated by it.

Officers of justice who reviewed the video concluded, is not to see the Straw repeatedly tried to with his right hand to his waistband during the arrest. Deputies later found a knife in his waistband.

Myers said, however, that a department review has determined that there should be better communication between the representatives for the arrest, better decision making, more verbal de-escalation techniques and considerations of an alternative to the taking of Straw in custody.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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