Oregon Man, Claims Torture By Police, Sues For $5 Million


An Oregon man who claims he was tortured by police is suing two counties, the city of Prineville, Ore., and 15 individuals for more than $5 million in federal court.

Curtis Hooper, who has a "long and colorful history of minor criminal infractions," according to court documents, filed a suit Oct. 24 in which he claims his civil rights were violated through "abuse, assault and tortuous treatment" by authorities who failed "to understand, treat or properly accommodate [his] significant mental illness."

The lawsuit claims Hooper takes medication for anxiety and depression, and suffers from "cognitive disorders and neurological dysfunctions" stemming from abuse and serious head injuries.

A May 8, 2011 incident caught on tape shows a Prineville police officer bending back Hooper's fingers as Hooper remains restrained on a gurney. Although it's not clear from the video why Hooper's fingers were being bent, the officers in the footage appear to be aware their actions are being recorded.

"That's a sign to me that they've done this before and they feel comfortable doing it," Hooper's attorney, Andrew Mathers, told KTVZ. "I believe they [every officer in the room] are all complicit."
The Huffington Post reached out to the Prineville Police Department for comment, but multiple requests were not returned as of press time.

Earlier that evening, the suit alleges, police arrested Hooper at a friend's house without probable cause, pepper sprayed him and tasered him before putting him in five-point restraints at a hospital and torturing him.

The lawsuit also alleges that police assaulted Hooper several times while he was serving a 90-day sentence in early 2011. It also claims police filed misleading reports to cover up their actions, claiming Hooper had self-inflicted injuries sustained in those assaults.

Following the incident at the hospital, Hooper was incarcerated at Jefferson County Jail. There, deputy Rob Robbins slammed a metal door on Hooper's left hand and refused to open it, according to court documents.

Robbins was fired for the incidentand charged with assault, but later agreed to a plea deal, KTVZ reports.

Hooper was not immediately taken to a hospital, but X-rays taken three weeks after the assault revealed that bones in two of his fingers had been shattered. Hooper, an auto mechanic, says he can't work because his fingers still need surgery.

This is not the first incident of alleged police brutality to make news in Oregon this year.

In May, protestors claimed they were beaten and brutalized by police during an unpermitted march in downtown Portland. Video taken at the rally appears to show police punching, kicking and pulling the hair of protestors.