The Deschutes County District Attorney has filed criminal charges against a Bend Police officer for allegedly assaulting a drunk man during an arrest in June.
Additionally, DA John Hummel said three Summit High School students will face charges for assaulting the same man prior to his encounter with police.
Officer Kevin Uballez has been charged with fourth-degree assault and harassment, Hummel announced Friday during a mid-day news conference.
The charges stem from an incident on June 6th when Uballez responded around 1 a.m. to a call of a possibly drunk pedestrian running in the middle of NW Skyliners Road near NW Lemhi Pass Drive in Bend’s Northwest Crossing neighborhood.
Hummel said the pedestrian, 42-year-old Caleb Hamlin of Colville, Wash., was drunk at the time and in Bend working on a construction remodel project at a house in the area.
When Uballez arrived, Hamlin was trying to get up from the ground in the middle of the road, Hummel said.
Uballez said Hamlin did not initially comply with his commands, so he got his K-9 out of the car.
With the dog out of the car, he told Hamlin to step back and drop to his knees, which Hamlin did, Hummel said.
Once Hamlin was on his knees, Uballez put his dog back into his patrol car and two other officers – Peter Enna and Martin Tobaco – arrived at the scene.
The three officers walked toward Hamlin, who was on his knees and fully compliant, Hummel said.
Uballez reached him first and grabbed him from the back and slammed his upper body forward, causing Hamlin’s face to violently strike the street, Hummel said.
The force of the blow significantly damaged Hamlin’s nose.
“There was no legal justification for slamming Hamlin’s face into the pavement; therefore, it constituted the crimes of Assault in the Fourth Degree and Harassment,” Hummel said
There’s no bodycam footage of the incident because, at the time, all Bend Police officers were not yet outfitted with them.
Officer David Peterson Peterson, who was wearing a body camera, arrived at the scene just after the alleged assault and the DA provided that 13-minute video to the media Friday.
You can see blood on the street near Hamlin when Peterson arrives and officers can be heard calling for a paramedic.
A corporal with the department arrived to interview Hamlin, who officers had moved to a curb. Hamlin refused to identify himself or answer any questions; he repeatedly said officers punched him in the face.
After police questioned Hamlin for about 10 minutes, paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.
He was ultimately arrested for disorderly conduct and menacing, according to police.
The district attorney applauded the two other officers at the scene for reporting the incident to their superiors because it would have never become public.
“Also, if Officers Enna and Tabaco did not report this matter, we would never have known of another crime that occurred moments before the crimes committed by Officer Uballez,” he said.
During an Oregon State Police investigation into the allegations against Uballez, Hummel said detectives discovered three Summit High School students had encountered Hamlin before he was assaulted by Uballez.
“Hamlin was in the street, drunk, and disoriented. Rather than calling for help for Hamlin, these students assaulted him and left him in the street,” Hummel said. “Hamlin then stumbled around alone, in the dark, and in pain, until he was encountered by Uballez.”
In the bodycam video, Peterson can be heard asking Hamlin what happened before officers initially arrived because it looked like he had been in a fight.
Hamlin again said that it was the officers who punched him.
The DA said two of the students were under 18 and he has filed a petition in juvenile court charging them for their assaults.
He said a third person was 18 at the time and will be offered the opportunity to have his case handled via the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Emerging Adult Program.
“Officers Enna and Tabaco are the embodiment of what it means to be a law enforcement officer. They understand their job is to enforce the law and keep us safe,” Hummel said. “I appreciate how difficult it must be to report a colleague for their misdeeds. These officers put service to our community ahead of protection of a colleague; I’m proud of them.”
In a statement, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said Uballez was placed on leave while the incident was under investigation.
“Police officers must make decisions in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances,” Krantz said. “A police officer’s decision to use force in that split second may have a long-lasting impact on the person force was used on, the officer, the agency, the community, and others. Because of this impact, force responses by police officers deserve scrutiny. When a police officer decides to use force, we must call on ourselves to be accountable for those actions and accountable to our community by ensuring a complete and thorough investigation.”
He said The Bend Police Department’s “Policy 300 – Force Response” Bend Police Department Policies | City of Bend (bendoregon.gov) sets expectations for police conduct.
Officers are frequently involved in interactions that may warrant using objectively reasonable force in carrying out their duties, Krantz said.
“As guardians of our community, our police officers will hold each other accountable to the highest standards possible. In this instance, two Bend police officers met my expectations when they displayed a high degree of accountability in reporting actions that they believed fell outside the reasonable force standards. No matter the outcome of the investigation after reviewing all available evidence, the display of integrity by these officers should be recognized and respected,” he said. “Our Bend police officers pride themselves on providing excellent service to our community, and this alleged misconduct by one employee does not reflect our department’s ethos.”
Bend City Councilor Anthony Broadman issued a statement on Twitter.
“I’m grateful for a police department where our officers hold each other accountable – to the same high standard we expect of them,” he said. “Thank you to the women and men of Bend PD and for DA Hummel’s support of our officers.”
Uballez is due in court on Nov. 9th.