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Saturday, August 2, 2008

[OR] Holding gun to his officer-wife's head & 1 year old didn't cost Officer Lee his job

...He was accused of holding his wife, also a Portland officer, and their child hostage in their house, pointing a gun to his wife's head and their 1-year-old daughter... He ended up being hospitalized for 10 days... Lee was off work collecting disability benefits for at least three years... He returned to duty in 2002 after he was examined and found psychologically fit. Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said Friday that the domestic violence allegations had resulted in an internal inquiry. But Lee, in a court deposition for Staino's trial, said he never was questioned by any internal affairs investigators about the domestic violence complaint...

JURY BACKS OFFICER IN FALSE-ARREST SUIT
Civil rights - A case file reveals the Portland police veteran's troubled history but it is ruled inadmissible at trial
The Oregonian
Maxine Bernstein
August 02, 2008
[Excerpts] A misdialed 9-1-1 call from Carol Staino's Southeast Portland home drew Portland police Officer Jimmy Lee to her home on Oct. 12, 2006. When he met her outside the house and asked her if she had called the emergency line, she said no. Then, the 49-year-old woman joked to the officer, "What are you gonna do, shoot me?" What happened next - and why - became the subject of a four-day trial in U.S. District Court this week closely watched by city risk-management officials. Officer Lee handcuffed Staino and drove her to the Hooper Detoxification Center, where she spent the night. She sued, claiming her civil rights had been violated. A seven-member jury deliberated less than two hours before ruling in the officer's favor Friday in a case that came down to this: Was Staino standing in a public place with an open container of alcohol, providing the officer a legal reason to take her to detox?... [Deputy City Attorney William] Manlove declined to talk about aspects of Lee's history that were in the case file but never presented to the jury... In court, he testified that he was diagnosed in 2000 with post-traumatic stress syndrome, stemming from three officer-involved shootings in 1994 and 1995. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled that Lee's domestic violence case and a restraining order filed against him could not be admitted because it would have been too prejudicial. "The real question is, Why's he still on the force?" Peter B. Tiemann, one of Staino's attorneys, said outside the courtroom.... Staino testified that Lee swung his door open, grabbed her, handcuffed her, put her in his patrol car and drove her to detox without explaining why, while she kept screaming, "What did I do wrong? I'm so sorry. I'm sorry." Staino's attorneys argued that Lee then wrote a false report claiming that when he drove up he saw her dancing in the middle of the street, which no neighbor witnessed, and that she appeared intoxicated... The part of the case file that jurors never heard was Lee's Nov. 7, 1999, domestic violence complaint. He was accused of holding his wife, also a Portland officer, and their child hostage in their house, pointing a gun to his wife's head and their 1-year-old daughter. His wife alerted their employer, the Portland Police Bureau, who informed the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's deputies went to the couple's house, and Lee was taken to a hospital on a mental health hold. He ended up being hospitalized for 10 days. The next day, his wife filed a restraining order against Lee, saying he threatened to kill her and their daughter if they left the house. He pointed the gun at her and the child, and then put the gun in his mouth. She said her husband had been taking prescription sleeping pills, which had caused him to have psychotic episodes. She wrote that he had threatened her in the past, but did not wish to give further detail. The Washington County Sheriff's Office tried to follow up days later, concerned about the "menacing and unlawful use of a weapon" complaint. Lee's wife told the sheriff's deputies she didn't want to pursue criminal charges and felt that as long as the Portland Police Bureau was handling it, her restraining order was in effect and her husband was hospitalized, she wouldn't seek further action. Lee subsequently put in a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder to the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund, and was awarded his stress claim... Lee was off work collecting disability benefits for at least three years. He returned to duty in 2002 after he was examined and found psychologically fit. Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said Friday that the domestic violence allegations had resulted in an internal inquiry. But Lee, in a court deposition for Staino's trial, said he never was questioned by any internal affairs investigators about the domestic violence complaint. Staino's local attorney, Michelle Burrows, asked Lee in the deposition, "Was there an investigation conducted by any law enforcement agency?"... [Full article here]

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