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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Report: Chasse Cop "Out of Policy" in Road-Rage Incident

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

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The Portland Copwatch email group got an interesting eyeful last night. Dan Handelman, after speaking with the attorney of a driver who last year found himself in a road-rage spat with off-duty Portland police Sergeant Kyle Nice, shared the lowdown on the police bureau's internal investigation of the incident.

I haven't had a chance yet to call the Portland Police Bureau or Greg Kafoury, the attorney representing Neil Ruffin.

Update: I spoke with Greg Kafoury's son, Jason Kafoury. A copy of the Police Review Board's findings are here. Also, here's Maxine Bernstein's story in the O.

Original post resumes here: But, according to Handelman, Nice apparently was found "out of policy" for the April 2010 incident, in which he pulled his gun out at Ruffin, showed Ruffin his police identification card, and then dared Ruffin to "go ahead and call the police."

The Bureau found:

1—Nice "exhibited inappropriate off-duty behavior" including the use of profanity and gestures, and that he had "other, more appropriate options."

2—Nice inappropriately drew his weapon (but, according to a witness, did not point it at Ruffin), which "exacerbated an already tense situation and did not serve to diffuse the tension."

The Mercury has previously reported on the investigation here and here. And Nice, as you might remember, has had a controversial career with the bureau. He was one of the officers reprimanded for the 2006 beating death of James Chasse Jr. and also was accused of intimidating an activist inside a jail cell in 2007.

According to a Washington County police report filed after the April 3, 2010, road-rage incident, Nice accused Ruffin of nearly crashing into his car outside Chevron gas station. He then said he saw Ruffin following him down a side street, prompting him to stop his car and approach Ruffin's with his gun drawn.

"He said he was a little upset because his six week old child was in the car with two bottles of propane and it could have been a bad crash," the report says.

Ruffin, in the same report, said Nice had honked at him out of nowhere and mouthed profanities at him before driving off. Ruffin says he then followed Nice and was about to get out of his car, except that...


"...before he got out he saw Nice in between the front of his car and the back of Nice's truck with a pistol out. He said Nice had the pistol close to his left side put the barrel was pointing right at him. He said Nice said "You fucken can't drive you fucken ass hole." Ruffin said he had not got out of his vehicle yet and had said "What the hell?" while Nice had the gun in his hand. He said he asked Nice what happened and why did he need to flip him off and call him an asshole. He said he then decided to call the police because he didn't know if Nice was "crazy or what." He said he then told Nice he was calling the police and had looked down to dial the number. He said when he looked back up Nice had his police identification out and had it facing Ruffin. Ruffin told me Nice had said "go ahead and call the police." Ruffin said the identification was not a badge but looked more like an ID card with Police on it."

A few days later, after the case had made its way around the media, Ruffin and Kafoury, filed suit against the city and Nice. Stay tuned for updates today.

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