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Police tasing of teen sparks controversy

A video posted to Facebook shows the arrest and Tasing of a 16-year-old Roosevelt High School student in North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood early Sunday morning.

The video, which shows three officers, two male and one female, struggling to arrest the teen while onlookers yell protests and insults at the officers, sparked a slew of outraged comments on the social media site.

It was shared on Facebook by a user named “Austin Getter Done Steez” and has over 200 shares.

But, Monday, the Portland Police Bureau released the 911 calls that led to the arrest, as well as their records of the events leading up to the teen being Tased, along with a 41-page police report.

Several 911 calls regarding a disturbance, property damage and threats of gunfire involving nine African American males and females in downtown St. Johns were fielded early Sunday morning, PPB said.

When officers arrived at the area of N. Philadelphia Ave and N. Ivanhoe St., they attempted to put the 16-year-old in handcuffs, but became involved in a struggle, which led to the teen being Tased, PPB said.

Police said a sergeant used a Taser to subdue the teen, who police said became aggressive and choked the female officer involved in the struggle. The video depicts three officers initially restraining the teen.

The teen’s brother, 20-year-old Giovanni Dmitri Gurule, was arrested on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.

“That’s my little brother, he plays football at Roosevelt,” Gurule can be heard saying early in the video. Later, one male and one female officer attempt to restrain the teen on the ground.

“Why is she punching him?” someone yells.

During the struggle, someone can be heard yelling several questions repeatedly, including “What is he being charged with? What is he being charged with?” and “What’s the cause for that? What’s the cause for that?”

“Quit standing in front of my camera,” one person says to another PPB officer on the scene. After the struggle, the teen can be seen lying on the ground, as onlookers yell questions at the officers.

“Why the f*** y’all Tasing him like that,” someone demands repeatedly.

“Anybody that doesn’t want to go to jail, get out of the street,” a PPB officer can be heard saying.

Teen charged, review pending

“One cycle of the taser was effective and officers were able to place the subject into handcuffs,” PPB said in a statement. Two officers and a sergeant received minor injuries during the struggle, PPB said.

The teen, who is not being named because he is a minor, was treated on scene by Portland Fire & Rescue, then taken to a Portland hospital for an examination, before being transported to a juvenile detention home.

He is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer, resisting arrest, assaulting a public safety officer, two counts of attempted assault on a public safety officer, three counts of harassment, fourth-degree assault, and attempted strangulation.

The PPB’s professional standards division has been asked to review the incident, Police Chief Mike Reese said. PPB are also asking the public for any additional information regarding the incident, including videos.

The PPB requires all use of physical force to be documented and reviewed by a supervisor at the time of occurrence.

The Police Report

In a 41-page police report released by the PPB Monday, reasons for the officers use of force are listed as “assaulted officer,” “failure to comply,” “defend another” and “prevent escape.”

Sergeant Jason Lile, who deployed the Taser, gave an account.

He said he saw two police identified as Officer Jimenez and Officer Sutton detaining a a subject at N. Philadelphia Ave. and N. Ivanhoe St.

He said on first arrival, he saw a large crowd of 20 to 30 people in the area. Lile said the subject had his hands clasped tightly in front of his stomach, preventing the use of handcuffs.

Lile said he saw the subject forcefully pull his arms away and actively resist arrest. He also said he saw two people approach two officers, Officer Hornstein and Officer Hughes, while being “verbally hostile” and questioning the arrest, coming at one point within eight feet of the officers.

While officers Hornstein and Hughes took the teen down to the ground, Lile said he moved in to help. He took hold of the teen’s hair, he said.

Lile said the teen violently resisted police efforts, and attempted to swing his right fist toward his face. He then said he saw the teen place Officer Hornstein in a headlock.

Lile said after accessing his Taser, he warned the teen he would use it, and when the teen did not comply, Lile deployed the Taser in the middle of his back.

PPB Public Information Officer Pete Simpson said the bureau is standing behind the officers involved. “At this point, there’s no reason not to,” he said.

The 911 calls

Portland police released audio from several 911 calls leading up to the arrests.

One female caller reports damage to a vehicle, and says she hears a group of roughly 10 teens causing “a whole bunch of ruckus,” and then hears the group vandalizing her brother’s car.

Another caller reported fighting under the St. Johns Bridge, on N. Philadelphia Ave. and Willamette Blvd. She confirmed eight or more people arguing, but no weapons.

“He just said oh god I’m about ready to kill this n****,” she said.

Another woman said “a bunch of guys” on her street tore off some of her fencing. She said one person threatened her to go back inside when she came out of her house. She said the group was comprised of roughly five people, who she described as being white.

Another caller reported an argument between more than eight males in Cathedral Park. He said a lot of yelling, and heard somebody say the word “shot.”

Giovanni Gurule appears in court

Giovanni Gurule was arraigned in a Multnomah County court room Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During his appearance, Gurule corrected an attorney’s pronunciation of his name. After his arraignment, Gurule told reporters his younger brother returned to school Monday, and described his condition as “O.K.”

When asked whether the use of the Taser was warranted by what police said was the teen’s move to choke an officer, Gurule laughed and shook his head.

“Look at the video, my little brother has no way to choke anybody,” he said. Gurule denied his or his 16-year-old brother’s involvement in any of the crimes to police in the 911 calls prior, and said they were on their way to the skate park from the St. Johns Safeway.A spokesperson for Portland Public Schools did not comment on whether the teen would be disciplined.

Police use of force

In a report released by PPB of police incidents in which force was used between April and June 2014, there were 187 force incidents in 100,618 calls for service.

Of those, Tasers were used 23 times.

To see the videos, hear the 911 calls and read the reports, go to koin.com/2014/09/15/video-shows-arrest-and-tasing-of-teen-in-st-johns/

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