Investigation finds 2019 DCSO use of force incident ‘reasonable for the circumstances’

An investigation into a 2019 arrest that appears to show a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputy with a knee on the neck of a suspect has determined the use of force “was reasonable for the circumstances,” the agency said Thursday.

The incident was captured in a screenshot from a video taken during the arrest of a woman in Deschutes River Woods in June last year.

As soon he was made aware of it in June of this year, Sheriff Shane Nelson announced he would launch an investigation into the incident and the use of force.

“The neck is considered a sensitive area when you’re taking someone into custody or using force,” Nelson said in a statement at the time. “So we’ll review the situation and we will take the action necessary to remedy the situation.”

On Thursday, Sgt. Jayson Janes said in a release that about 268 hours were spent on the investigation, which included statements from those involved in the arrest.

“The screenshot depicts one moment of the incident and is not a representation of the complete incident,” Janes said in the statement. “The outside investigators focused on all force employed by the deputies, including one deputy using his knee to control the female, and determined the deputy’s use of his knee was reasonable because she was physically resisting the arrest.”

In June the Sheriff’s Office released a heavily redacted report about the incident in which one of the arresting deputies wrote:  “I knelt down and placed my right knee on the left side of her face, pinning it to the ground with my body weight.”

According to the DCSO, the cell phone video was captured while deputies were at a home in Deschutes River Woods on June 11, 2019, enforcing an order to recover a child under immediate danger.

“The mother was resisting and blocking deputies and repeatedly called 911 while the deputies were at the residence attempting to locate the child,” Nelson said. “The mother received warnings about the crime of Improper Use of 911, yet after they left the residence, she called 911 again when no emergency existed.  Deputies returned to the residence to arrest her for Improper Use of 911 when this incident of force occurred.”

Said Janes: “Based on the evidence the investigators received and statements made by the involved persons, the investigation has shown that the use of force was reasonable for the circumstances, and the claims of excessive force was unfounded.”

The full report from the incident is below:

2019-000185861 Redacted
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