Almost eight months to the day after the death of George Floyd, and in an apparent Christmas win for the city of Portland, the city has finalized the first settlement of an individual allegedly injured by the police as a result of Black Lives Matter protests.
The protests brought out people from all stripes of Portland’s citizens, from protesters to medics to reporters, new and experienced, as well as right and left leaning.
A look at Mr. Farley’s latest archive of his Twitter (the account has since been suspended) shows photoshopped images uploaded by him of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty with her hair replaced by a variety of snakes, as well retweets from conservative journalist Black Rebel and self-proclaimed Proud Boy Alan Swinney. Combined with his pinned tweet demanding then newly arriving Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt and retweets of people accusing DA Schmidt of taking bribes in exchange for his policy of declining prosecution of non-violent protest arrests, it seems likely he was of the conservative variety of journalist.
It seems to be something of an irony then that, according to court records, on June 4th, Portland police officers opened fire on a crowd of protesters using crowd control munitions, in the process “[shooting] him in the knee with a rubber bullet, sending him to the hospital and causing him pain, discomfort and distress”
At the time of the complaint, he was represented by Michael Fuller of Underdog Lawyer, a specialist in class action and civil rights cases. In late August, his lawyer was advised by an ethics counsel that withdrawal from the case was required. Any further explanation of why is protected court information, but in an email Mr. Farley forwarded to me in early October he stated Mr. Fuller “left me high and dry […] due to my “disparaging statements””. At the time he was attempting to find new representation, but no court records were filed showing anything until a settlement conference in early December.
Settlement conferences are closed to the public, and are essentially informal arbitration meetings with a judge sitting in. I actually learned this the hard way, as I tried to sit in on the court and Judge Bushong himself came out to explain the situation to me (seems like a good guy. I’ve watched some of his other hearings and he seems pretty fair and level headed).
A week later a notice of a proposed settlement was filed, and by Christmas Eve the case was settled and dismissed. The terms of the settlement awarded Mr. Farley $5,000, almost half a percent of the maximum amount originally sought, and an agreement that the city would not accept liability for any actions that may have happened June 4th towards Mr. Farley.
And thus ends the first of a litany of lawsuits against the city for their refusal or inability to hold police officers accountable for their actions.