PORTLAND, Ore. – Reacting to criticism of police brutality, the Portland Police Bureau on Monday evening released video from several angles of a man being dragged away from the Occupy Portland protest on Sunday.
On Tuesday, police released an extended video of the incident.
The bureau has faced criticism, much of it on Twitter, when protester Justin Bridges ended up in the hospital after being briefly taken into custody in Chapman Square. Saying they want to address “community concerns about the treatment of Justin Bridges,” the bureau released video from two of their cameras at the protest, as well as one angle that was published on YouTube.
“The Police Bureau has released police video of Mr. Bridges being dragged to safety after he apparently fell down in between police, protesters, a trash can, and newspaper boxes,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a news release. “Officers dragged Mr. Bridges away from a very volatile situation as they are trained to do when anyone goes to the ground at the front lines of a protest.”
The video shows that after being dragged towards the rear of the police line, two officers stood over Bridges and talked with him.
The audio on the recording is poor, but at one point Bridges clearly yells “I can’t feel my legs, I have a broken back.”
With Bridges still in flex-cuffs, the two officers conferred with each other before pulling Bridges halfway up by his arms.
After about 20 seconds, the officers counted to three then attempted to pull Bridges to his feet. His legs appeared to crumple a few times as officers walked him away.
Simpson said Bridges was taken to a nearby bench until medics arrived.
“Once an ambulance arrived, Mr. Bridges was placed on a stretcher and transported to the hospital. He was not arrested or cited,” Simpson said.
Bridges told KATU in a brief phone interview that he was set to be discharged from the hospital on Monday evening.
"I don't have full movement in my right arm or my right leg," he said. "I'm going to have to leave here in a wheelchair." Shortly after saying that he hung up the phone.
Bridges also spoke to someone who recorded their conversation and posted it on YouTube. In the video, Bridges claims he is the victim of police brutality.
Bridges claimed he fell by the trash can as a result of police officers pushing the crowd and destroying tables of food.
He said he had a broken back prior to the protest.
“I asked ‘why am I being arrested, why am I being treated like this, why am I being brutalized?’ The cop laughed and said ‘you’re just being arrested, you weren’t brutalized,’” Bridges said.
Bridges said his doctors informed him he had no new injuries, just the ones he had before the protest.
Simpson said the police bureau released the video “as part of its continuing effort to be transparent.”