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DCSO investigating 2019 use of force; posted photo appears to show deputy’s knee on neck

(Update: More details from redacted report on what allegedly occurred)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said Monday his office has launched an investigation of a photo shared on Facebook that appears to show a sheriff’s deputy putting a knee on a woman’s neck during an arrest.

A viewer posted the cellphone image to NewsChannel 21’s Facebook page on Saturday, titled as being from Deschutes River Woods on June 11 of last year. A sergeant apparently is in the foreground of the photo.

Nelson said he was made aware of the photo early Monday afternoon. The sheriff’s office said it appeared to be a screen shot of cellphone video taken on that day.

Nelson said they need to wait for a full investigation and review of the video to determine what tactics and force were used.

"We want to look into that incident, because the neck is a sensitive area,” Nelson told NewsChannel 21. “So the way our office operates is, you do not use any type of force around the neck, unless it's deadly use of force. So once we've reviewed that incident and we know what took place, then if we need to take action, we'll take the appropriate action."

The sheriff’s office also released a redacted report of the June 11, 2019 incident, with names and other protected information blacked out, because the criminal case has not been concluded.

Nelson said deputies were on hand at a home in DRW to enforce a signed court order of assistance to “recover a child under immediate danger” and pick up the child

The child’s mother was uncooperative, Nelson said, and made several calls to 911 while deputies were there, trying to find the child. After deputies left, the woman called 911 again after she had been warned about improper use of 911 when no emergency existed, which was the reason for her arrest, Nelson said.

In the case report, a deputy said the woman "continuously attempted to use herself as a barricade to prohibit me" from enforcing the court order to remove the child and "attempted several times to lock gates and close doors."

The woman allegedly "made several threats that she would 'do something' to me if I didn't leave" and "resisted my arrest by pulling her arms away from me, kicking her legs and twisting her body away from me."

As the deputy was leaving, he wrote that he saw the woman's daughter riding her bike on a road and that after several minutes, she got into another deputy's patrol car and was taken to her father's house in Bend.

Another deputy's narrative offered more details, saying he saw the fellow deputy "kneeling on top" of the woman, "who was laying on her back on the ground next to a wooden fence. She was struggling and refusing to turn over on her stomach and place her hands behind her back."

Another person there was using his phone to record video, "leaning over to get his phone closer to the action."

"I saw (her) leg(s) were kicking and flailing about," he wrote, and when she refused to turn over and put her hands behind her back, "I then grabbed both her ankles and crossed her legs over to make her hips rotate, thus placing her face down on the ground."

The other deputy "was then able to place (her) in handcuffs, despite her continued struggles against him as I held her legs down by placing my knees on the back of her legs." The deputy also said the woman refused to let go of a butane lighter that he pried from her grasp.

In a supplemental detailed report, a deputy said he opened a fence gate and told her she was under arrest, then took her left arm but she broke free as she spun to her right. He then gained control of her right arm behind her back, but she "dropped to the ground on her knees and attempted to roll over to her left in an attempt to prevent me from handcuffing her."

"She placed her left arm underneath her body and attempted to kick herself away from me by thrusting her legs outward towards me," the deputy wrote. "In order to gain control of (her), I knelt down and placed my right knee on the left side of her face, pinning it to the ground with my body weight."

He said he soon took control of her legs and was able to pull her left arm out from beneath her stomach and handcuff it behind her back, then helped her to her feet and walked her back to his patrol car for the trip to jail.

Once at the jail, he said, the woman appeared slumped over and unconscious in the patrol car, but once carried inside and a capsule of smelling salts was activated under her nose, she "immediately came to (and) continued her tirade and rants that was on her property illegally, that I didn't have a search warrant and that I had punched her."

“Sheriff Nelson has ordered a complete review of this image and the force depicted in it,” according to a news release from sheriff’s Sgt. William Bailey, public information officer. “The sheriff’s office takes these matters very seriously, and he promises a complete review of the force utilized by the two deputies.  We are working to obtain a copy of the video from the subject that posted the image to social media.”

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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