Police Taser Video Refutes Police Charge of Resisting Arrest

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(Police taser gun video from KVAL)

A police taser gun video shows that a Eugene officer shocked a protester with 50,000 volts once for five seconds and then shocked him again 11 seconds later for another five seconds while the protester lay largely immobile, face down with his thin arms twisted behind his back or pinned under his side.

The police video was shown in stop motion at the trial of Ian Van Ornum today. Police allege Van Ornum slowed traffic at a pesticide rally last May and resisted arrest. Numerous witnesses alleged police brutality at the Broadway and Willamette event.

Eugene Police Officer Judson Warden testified for the prosecution that pesticide protester Van Ornum was “struggling” with officers and “swung his arms” with a handcuff on one wrist that the officer feared could be “used as weapon.”

But defense attorney Laura Fine confronted Warden with video from the officer’s own stun gun. After watching the video, Warden admitted that after the first tasing and a second before the officer tased him again, “it looks like both hands are behind his back.”

The tasings appeared to cause involuntary muscle spasms during their five second durations. “It appears that he’s in pain,” Warden said of his gun video.

Asked about the discrepancy between his earlier sworn testimony and the video from his own gun, Warden said he was “stressed” with menacing protestors during the arrest, “there’s so much going on.” Warden said he was “very scared.”

The three burly police officers at the scene did not draw their automatic handguns. The police guns are capable of emptying a large magazine in seconds. The protesters were unarmed. Testimony at the trial indicated there were as few as a dozen pesticide protesters at the noon rally which officers described as “peaceful” until the taser arrest.

Two other protesters plead guilty to attempted assault of the police while Van Ornum was being tasered on the ground. Van Ornum was not charged with trying to attack police and no police were injured.

Protester Anthony Farley, a former Eagle Scout now studying at the UO, admitted at the trial that he wrongly “pushed” Officer Warden at the rally after observing what he alleged was unjustified police brutality against his friend Van Ornum. “I was overwhelmed with emotion.”

Police admitted twisting Van Ornum’s arms, pulling his hair and shoving him against a wall and to the ground before tasering him in the process of arresting him for the misdemeanor charge of impeding traffic. Van Ornum’s attorney said he suffered a concussion.

Register Guard website has posted the Tasercam video

The video from the Taser device is now posted at the Register Guard website. Be warned-it is unsettling to watch, ESPECIALLY because both times they hit him with the Taser he is already being held down and is completely defenseless. It is positively disgusting. It is too bad you have not posted that video here at the EW blog. It should be seen so that Taser misuse (and the misuse of other less-lethal weapons) can be better understood. It is obvious to me after watching the video Van Ornum could have died in this senseless incident.

Submitted by Zachary Vishanoff (not verified) on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 20:47.
Officer Solesbee committed perjury (and assault)

Officer Solesbee denied having smashed Van Ornum's head into the pavement. I was an eyewitness and would bet my life I saw Solesbee deliberately smash Van Ornum's skull into the sidewalk, causing his concussion.

Justice will not be served until Solesbee is charged with both assault and perjury and removed from the streets.

Submitted by May 30 eyewitness (not verified) on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 20:49.
Good work Eugene Weekly !

Glad you posted that. All less lethal weapons need adequate scrutiny so they are never misused. Misuse of them is a danger to both citizens and police. Nice job Weekly staff. When the video of me being shot for no reason becomes available I hope you will be consistent and post that too.

Submitted by Zachary Vishanoff (not verified) on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 21:52.

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