A federal jury yesterday ruled unanimously that Portland Police Officer Benjamin Davidson used excessive force when he Tasered Dan Halsted after suspecting that he'd tagged a nearby commercial building. The 2008 incident left Halsted—who was innocently walking home from a bar—seriously cut up and traumatized from Davidson's attack. However, Halsted waited until 2010 to file suit against the city and the officers at the scene.
Halsted, the man behind Hollywood Theater's Grindhouse Film Festival, was ultimately awarded a grand total of $206,372.70 for his cumulative damages. But it wasn't easy. The Oregonian reports that the trial sparked heated debate between Halsted's attorney, Joseph Grube, and Deputy City Attorney James Rice, followed by a three-hour-long deliberation by the jury.
The gem of the trial?
"Rice tried to discredit Halsted, asking him about his collection of Kung Fu movies, and suggested during his closing argument that Halsted kept resisting because he was likely intoxicated. Halsted's attorney countered that there was no evidence of Halsted's intoxication, and asked Halsted if he'd ever been trained in martial arts, to which the answer was no."
All in all, the long-winded case left Halsted satisfied (his Facebook status update today? "Dan Halsted:1 Portland Police: 0"), but with lingering (and understandable) police animosity.
"It's scary because it wasn't just the incident but their report of what happened, which didn't align with the facts," Halsted said after the verdict, according to the O. "I was just a guy walking home. It could've been anybody."