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Federal lawsuit threatens to terminate Portland police officer

Oregon employs the use of beanbag ammunition. These non-lethal bullets are issued to police officers on duty for the apprehension of suspects without causing severe or fatal injuries. The bullets are designed for a person deemed to be a danger themselves or society but who is not a serious enough threat to use deadly force.

Unfortunately, a recent federal weapons offense is shedding light on the use of these bullets and putting the career of a Portland cop in jeopardy after he allegedly opened fire on a young man who was causing a ruckus and supposedly endangering children in a park.

A federal crime lawsuit filed recently is threatening to terminate a local area police officer over a 2011 shooting. The lawsuit alleges that a young man is a victim of police violence and is suing the state for $11 million in damages. The federal charges are citing the officer for firing dangerous rounds of beanbag ammunition from his shotgun at the man, who is mentally ill.

According to sources, claims of civil rights violations, use of excessive force, false arrest, assault and negligence are being used as grounds for the multiple lawsuits filed against the officer.

The claims are the result of a mistake made in 2011. The victim allegedly caused trouble at a local park and the staff called the police for help. When the police officer arrived, he subdued the 20-year-old man who appeared to be suffering from paranoia.

After other officers arrived, the young man ran away, yelling for help. The officer allegedly fired quick successive rounds of beanbag ammunition at the man. The ammunition is being blamed for the young man's injuries.

With the growing cases of suicide by cops, beanbag rounds were developed as a useful substitute for self-defense and public apprehensions. The ammunition has gained popularity and is favored by the state for use in non-deadly situations.

According to protocol, police officers have the decision-making power to use beanbag rounds if they deem it necessary to protect a person from themselves or to protect others. If a person is in a situation like this, it is advisable to contact a knowledgeable legal professional for sound advice and guidance.

Source: OregonLive.com, "Federal lawsuit demands Portland Officer Dane Reister be terminated for a 2011 shooting," Maxine Bernstein, April 11, 2013

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