According to the parents of a man beaten at the Multnomah County Detention Center last September, the FBI is investigating whether his civil rights were violated. The man's parents also claim the district attorney's office may have tried to cover up the beating by beefing up the charges against him.
Michael Evans, 40, was allegedly beaten by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Hathaway in the booking area of the jail on SW 3rd. Evans complained in a letter to the FBI two weeks ago about his beating and subsequent trial for assaulting a peace officer, according to his father, Roger Evans, who resides in Nevada. (The Mercury obtained a video of the apparently unprovoked beating two weeks ago ["Summary Injustice," News, July 19].)
Michael Evans alleges his initial arrest for assaulting his girlfriend, Kelley Gallaway, with a riding crop, was for misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree, but that following his beating, police went back to Gallaway and asked her to supply more evidence to try to get that charge upgraded to assault in the second degree, a felony. Evans was subsequently found guilty on that charge. The Mercury has been unable to locate Gallaway for comment.
However, Evans reportedly claims that being charged with assault on a peace officer—a charge that was eventually dismissed by the district attorney after Deputy Hathaway did not show up for trial—along with the assault charge on Gallaway, may have unfairly prejudiced the jury against him.
"I called the FBI and they told me they had received Michael's letter, that it was at the civil rights task force, and an agent had been assigned," Roger Evans says.
The FBI refused to confirm or deny whether the agency is investigating.
"It is typical for the FBI to conduct an investigation of an allegation concerning a civil rights violation that falls within the federal jurisdiction," says FBI spokesperson Jane Brillhart. "However at this time we are not prepared to comment on the specific allegations regarding Michael Evans."
The Oregon State Bar Association is also currently investigating a separate complaint by Evans, alleging that prosecuting District Attorney Traci Anderson "engaged in collusion with the deputies" that beat him by "perpetuating the lie that I had assaulted Officer Hathaway," to justify his beating. Hathaway wrote in his report that Evans had "punched him in the nose" before his alleged assault, although this is not visible in the video.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Internal Affairs Office is also investigating Hathaway's failure to appear for Evans' trial, despite being served a subpoena to do so, according to a letter sent by Captain Carol Hasler of the sheriff's office to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Shrunk on July 3.
Schrunk did not return a call for comment, while the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Evans' attorney Benjamin Haile declined comment.