The beating of Tessa Lovelace by Marion County deputies

Eds. Note – this post will be expanded as the story continues. June 7 – name of the person assaulted is changed in news stories from Kevin Straw to Tessa Lovelace.

June 13, 2018 – Charges against Tessa Lovelace for resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer are either dropped or were never filed. Lovelace is recuperating at home with supportive family.

Marion County deputy who punched homeless person during arrest won’t face criminal charges
Oregonian, June 28, 2018

A Marion County deputy caught on video repeatedly punching a homeless person in the head during an arrest earlier this month in the Salem area won’t face any criminal charges because the deputy reasonably believed the blows were necessary to make the arrest, according to the county district attorney’s office.

Patrol deputy Jacob Thompson didn’t violate any laws regarding use of force based on the evidence gathered in the case, the district attorney’s office announced Friday. The case review included interviews with 18 witnesses and the reports from all five deputies involved in the arrest, but it’s unclear if Tessa Lovelace, the person hit and arrested, was among those spoken to by authorities.

A district attorney’s office spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office took Thompson off patrol duty after the arrest and said Friday that he will continue to be on a non-patrol assignment as the agency now conducts an internal professional standards investigation.

Homeless person punched by deputy says ‘the whole thing shouldn’t have happened’
Oregonian – June 7, 2018

Tessa Lovelace said the encounter with deputies in Detroit resulted in a concussion, bloody nose, bruising, cuts and some hearing loss. Lovelace insisted Lovelace’s only goal was to warn of wild animals.

“I’m not a deranged individual,” Lovelace told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Wednesday. “And at no point was I resisting. I chose to relax and let the deputies do what they wanted. And they did.”

Lovelace identifies as non-binary, prefers the pronouns they/them, and has been referred to by police under the legal name Kevin Straw.

Video of the arrest taken by KGW shows Lovelace, 28, being taken to the ground by four county deputies and punched in the head at least 14 times by one of them. A fifth deputy joins the fray after the takedown of Lovelace, who is heard yelling for help.

“I came to warn you about the cougar,” Lovelace yells at one point in the video. “There’s a cougar. It’s hurting people.” Lovelace hasn’t seen the video footage.

Video of Oregon deputy repeatedly punching homeless man under review
A Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy can be seen repeatedly punching a local transient during an arrest Monday in Detroit, Oregon.

A sheriff’s deputy can be seen repeatedly punching a local transient during an arrest Monday morning outside of a Marion County search-and-rescue command center for a missing father and son.

The arrest was caught on video by KGW.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office addressed the incident in a written statement Monday afternoon, saying they “are reviewing that video along with all other documentation and reports related to the incident.”

Video of Marion County deputy punching homeless man during arrest under review, police say
From the Oregonian – June 5, 2018

A Marion County Sheriff’s deputy was caught on video repeatedly punching a man who kept yelling and wouldn’t stay away while emergency responders were coordinating a search for missing people on Monday. The county sheriff’s office says deputies “were left with no choice but to” but to arrest him.

The video, taken by KGW, shows four county deputies grab hold of Kevin Straw, 28, near the post office in Detroit, about 50 miles east of Salem. At least one deputy tells Straw he’s under arrest and they take him to the ground as he yells “no.” Within seconds, one of the deputies punches Straw in the head at least two dozen times as he screams for help, for the hits to stop and that he isn’t resisting.

“I came to warn you about the cougar,” Straw yells at one point. “There’s a cougar. It’s hurting people.”

Missing fishermen found near Detroit
Salem Statesman Journal – June 4, 2018

Related to the case, Marion County deputies arrested a transient living in the Detroit area for allegedly interfering with the search efforts.

Witnesses reported seeing Kevin Straw, 28, on Saturday yell at passersby about cougars and military special forces. A mental health Mobile Crisis Response Team responded, but Straw refused their help.

On Monday, Straw began to shout into the command center and radio operations center while deputies were conducting the search and rescue operations. After he became so disruptive staff was unable to hear search personnel, deputies asked him to leave. Straw returned to the command post twice, and deputies attempted to take him into custody.

According to the sheriff’s office, Straw “physical resisted and force was used to take him into custody.” Deputies found a large fixed blade knife in his possession.

He was evaluated by paramedics and met with the Mobile Crisis Response Team. Sheriff officials said they plan to cite Straw for resisting arrest and interfering with police before transporting him to the Salem Psychiatric Crisis Center.

Video footage capturing Straw’s arrest shows several deputies retaining him and appearing to hit him multiple times.