Crime, Law & Justice

Crime, Law & Justice

Rachael McDonald

When Eugene's Civic Stadium burned down in late June, it seemed like the whole community felt the blow. It turned out a group of local boys had started the blaze when they were playing with a lighter in the press box at the shuttered wooden ball park. It's uncertain what will happen to these 4 boys, age 10 to 12.

Corinne Boyer

For a number of years, yoga classes have been offered in prisons. The Lincoln County Jail is now offering classes for its short stay inmates. When the jail psychologist was challenged with recent budget cuts, he started the volunteer run program addressing stress, anxiety and trauma. KLCC’s Corinne Boyer has this story from the jail.

Rachael McDonald

The family of a veteran who was shot and killed by Eugene Police during a mental health crisis is proposing legislation to change how law enforcement deals with similar situations.

Brian Babb was killed in March. When police arrived at his house he was on the phone with his therapist. She says she was talking him down from a panic attack.

https://act.everytown.org

Oregon’s new gun background check law took effect yesterday [Sunday]. The legislation requires all gun sales, including private exchanges, to be vetted through a federally licensed dealer.

With the new law, Oregon becomes the 12th state to require universal background checks. Legislators hope criminal and mental health checks for private and online sales will reduce gun violence in the state. Amy Ruiz is with the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund:

Lane County Settles Green Suicide Lawsuit

Aug 6, 2015
kval.com

Lane County reached a four hundred thousand dollar settlement with the family of Kelly Green who died in 2013 after a suicide attempt in the lane county jail.  

That four hundred thousand dollars looks like a deal considering Green’s family filed a 100 million dollar lawsuit.  The settlement also avoids a breach of contract battle with Corizon Health, the contractor which supplied medical services for Lane County Jail at the time of Green’s suicide attempt.  County Commissioner Faye Stewart says it was the potential costs of that suit informing his vote for the deal. 

NAACP

The Executive Director of the NAACP in Lane County says Eugene Police used excessive force on his sister after she tried to stop an officer from deploying a stun gun on her 19-year-old son. EPD is conducting an internal investigation.

 

Ayisha Brown called police early on the morning of July 16th saying her 19-year old son was having a psychotic break.  Police provided audio from a patrol car camera.

UO Settles Civil Lawsuit With Alleged Rape Victim

Aug 4, 2015
Jes Burns

The University of Oregon has settled the civil lawsuit filed by a student who alleges she was raped by three basketball players in March, 2014.

The plaintiff, who is referred to as Jane Doe, will receive $800,000 in compensation, and be provided with four years of housing, tuition and fees.

Over the past two years, the number of households reporting domestic violence has more than doubled in Lane County. That’s according to Womenspace, a crisis center that serves victims of Intimate Partner Abuse. The agency also reports that more than half of those households include children. Advocates say violence has long-lasting, often devastating impact on kids.

Eugene Police responded to three incidents of infants or young children left alone in vehicles Wednesday, when the high in Eugene was 100.

Eugene Police Officer Faces Assault Charge

Jul 29, 2015
Rachael McDonald

A Eugene police officer is facing charges for assaulting an inmate  at the Lane County Jail. 

Rachael McDonald

Benton County leaders are considering asking voters to fund a new jail. They say the existing jail is inadequate for public safety needs.

The Benton County Jail was built in 1976. It has enough room for up to 40 inmates. The county is renting beds at other jails making it possible for the county to hold up to 80 offenders. Sheriff's Captain Diana Rabago says the jail has a virtual revolving door with people getting released early due to overcrowding. She says the jail uses a matrix to determine who is next on the list to be force released.

istock

A number of states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana, but it remains illegal in the eyes – and the laws – of the federal government. Senators from Oregon and Colorado say it's nearly impossible for marijuana businesses to access banks, which follow federal regulations. New legislation aims to ease the banking restrictions.

Lane County

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner announced last week he's resigning from his position. In August, he'll become the Director of the Forensic Services Division of the Oregon State Police. Gardner spoke with KLCC's Rachael McDonald. She asked him why he's making the change.

Greg Gaffney-Bills/EPD

Eugene Police say four young boys will be charged with crimes related to Monday's destructive fire of Civic Stadium.

City of Eugene

Citing severe drought conditions, the Eugene City Council has banned fireworks in the south hills. 

Facing a forecast in the 90’s through the holiday weekend, councilors held an emergency meeting Wednesday.  The result was a unanimous vote to ban all fireworks within City limits south of 18th Avenue and all areas east of Agate Street.

Chris Pryor: “But I don’t want to support anything that doesn’t have teeth behind it.”

Jon Rosman / OPB

Marijuana becomes legal to use in Oregon July 1st. Eugene police say they'll treat the drug much like they do alcohol.

Measure 91 was approved by voters last year. It legalizes recreational marijuana. As of July 1st it will be legal for people over 21 to possess up to one ounce of weed. People can consume it in private but they cannot yet legally buy or sell pot.

Bills: "There is a gap there that we all recognize including the state legislature and OLCC and I know there's been discussions in Salem about how to bridge that gap."

The police chief of Junction City is suing the municipality and the former City Administrator. Junction City Police Chief Mark Chase says his First Amendments rights were violated. In his complaint, he asserts he was denied due process when then-City Administrator, Melissa Bowers, discriminated against him based on his Christian faith.

Portland attorney Sean Riddell represents the Police Chief.

Eugene 4J

South Eugene High School and Roosevelt Middle School were placed on lockdown Wednesday morning for about 45 minutes.

A Eugene Police SWAT team member was dropping his child off at the YMCA Wednesday morning. He was wearing his camouflage uniform. A school district delivery driver contacted police saying that there was an armed man near South Eugene High School. Eugene 4j Spokeswoman Kerry Delf says even though it's stressful for a school to go into lockdown, everyone did what they should.

columbiariverreview.com

President Barack Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act into law, just hours after Congress sent it to his desk. Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden praised passage of the Freedom Act, which changes how the government can conduct surveillance and gather data, which was put in place under the Patriot Act.

On Tuesday, Sen. Wyden said it is not an exaggeration to say passage of the Freedom Act is the most significant victory for Americans' privacy rights in more than a decade. The Democrat said Americans do not need to sacrifice their liberty to have security.

Benton County

Benton County plans to ask voters to pay for a new, larger jail. The funding measure will be on the November ballot.

The current Benton County Jail was built in 1976. It's in downtown Corvallis, adjacent to the historic courthouse. The jail can house up to 40 inmates. Benton County Sheriff Scott Jackson says the county rents up to 40 beds from other jails and has to turn away more than 100 inmates a year. He wants voters to see for themselves that the jail needs replacing. The Sheriff is offering tours every Saturday.

Noah Dewitt's family

A body recovered from Eugene's sewage system has been identified as 24-year-old Noah Dewitt.
Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said Sunday that Dewitt was last seen in mid-February, when he was reported missing by a friend who said he had left a home in distress in the early morning hours.
Dewitt's body was found Thursday in a concrete underground well at a pump station that collects waste from south and west Eugene. Police say a crew found the body while doing twice-a-year maintenance.

Updated May 15th, 2015 6:53 AM

Kaitlyne Wirth is in custody and is no longer sought by law enforcement.
--------------------------------------------
An AMBER Alert was activated in Oregon following a request from the Tillamook City Police Department Thursday evening in an attempt to locate a female child and a female suspect. The vehicle and child were located near Cottage Grove on HWY 99. The AMBER Alert was canceled shortly after.

Lane County Jail

A British man is being held on $1.5-million bail at the Lane County Jail for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl in Eugene after meeting her online.

22-year-old Gareth Hall of Wales was arrested May 2nd at Chicago O'Hare International Airport when he tried to reenter the United States. A warrant had been issued for his arrest after Eugene Police investigated a trip the man made to Eugene in mid-April.

Eugene Police detective Jed McGuire said Hall had been communicating with a 10-year-old girl in Eugene for several months online before travelling to Oregon to meet her.

Senator Floyd Prozanski

The Oregon legislature may extend its statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault to 12 years. That bill is expected to get a public hearing in the next 2 weeks in Salem.

Last month, the state house voted to double the statute of limitations for people to report sexual assault. The bill is now in the Senate Judiciary committee, which is chaired by Democratic Senator Floyd Prozanksi. He says the statute of limitations is currently at 6 years.

Rachael McDonald

As the weather warms up in the Pacific Northwest, more people are riding their bicycles. But in bike-friendly college towns like Eugene and Corvallis, bike theft also increases during the spring and summer.

It's a story many people who commute by bicycle know well. Eugene resident Aaron Brussat had locked his bike outside of Falling Sky Home Fermentation Supply Shop, where he worked.

Unpacking Videos of Police Shootings

May 6, 2015
Rowan Moore Gerety

Over the past year, a string of police killings of unarmed Black men has prompted a national conversation around use of force and racial bias in policing. It’s a conversation often shaped by viral videos documenting those incidents.

Family's GoFundMe site

The Lane County District Attorney announced Monday that no criminal charges will be filed against the driver who struck and killed three children in Springfield in February.

DA Says Eugene Police Officer Justified In Shooting

May 1, 2015
Facebook/BrianBabb

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner announced Friday Eugene Police officer Will Stutesman was justified in firing his weapon at Brian Babb.

On March 30th, the Army Veteran who served in Afghanistan was fatally shot after he pointed a scoped high powered rifle at two EPD officers, who were trying to negotiate with him.

The rifle was not loaded at the time. In the District Attorney's report, it states:

City of Florence

Tom Turner will leave his job as Lane County Sheriff at the end of April. He'll take the job of Florence Police Chief May 1st. KLCC's Rachael McDonald asked him why he made the change.

Rachael McDonald

The Lane County Board of Commissioners today [Wednesday] chose Byron Trapp to be the next Sheriff. The Chief Deputy will replace Tom Turner when he leaves to be Florence Chief of Police at the end of the month.

Pages