In mid-August, the former owner of a Portland strip club filed a $22 million federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, Mayor Charlie Hales, the captain of the Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) Drugs and Vice Division, and a host of other state and city officials. Donna Thames, an African American woman, alleges in the suit that her club, Exotica, was subject to “draconian” regulations white-owned clubs didn’t face.
Ten days later, the PPB seized Thames’ Range Rover after a crash and charged her with “failure to perform duties of driver” and reckless driving. Prosecutors declined to prosecute her the next morning, but Thames says she was again treated unfairly: The cops didn’t give her car back until her lawyer got involved more than a week later, accusing the bureau of an unconstitutional warrantless search and seizure.
“It is hard to imagine why the officer believed the car should be towed,” Thames’ lawyer wrote. The car was returned promptly after the filing. DB
HEY, CRIMINALS: Maybe wear a heavy sweater at the Portland train station.
Portland cops busted a man in May for smuggling more than $88,000 of suspected drug money in nine Progresso soup cans in his backpack. The accused, 28-year-old North Dakota resident Jeremy Olson, was taking the Amtrak from Fargo to Redding, California. When he made a stop in Portland, he was approached by vice cops who wanted to search his bag.
In an affidavit filed last week to seize the money, Drugs and Vice Division Officer Chris Devlin wrote that he noticed Olson’s “chest and stomach begin pounding through his shirt” as Devlin searched the bag. Devlin confirmed to the Mercury that he believes he saw Olson’s heart beating visibly through his shirt as evidence of wrongdoing, as well as heavy breathing.
Olson was initially charged with two counts of laundering a monetary instrument, and later pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge. He was sentenced to a year of probation. DB