April 1st, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Multnomah County, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

County Settles for $27,500 with Woman Allegedly Beaten in Jail


The newly constituted Multnomah County Board of Commissioners this morning unanimously agreed to pay $27,500 to a woman who alleged she was beaten by jail guards.

Tina Phillips was 36 years old and living in Northeast Portland when Portland police pulled her over on Feb. 8, 2008, and cited her for reckless driving and DUII.

According to a federal lawsuit (PDF) filed Jan. 13 this year, Phillips arrived at the Multnomah County Detention Center around 11:10 pm. As Phillips was moving to the booking desk, Multnomah County Sheriff's Sgt. Catherine Gorton "suddenly, and without provocation" grabbed Phillips' jacket, pinned Phillips to the desk and started shouting in her face, the lawsuit says.

While Gorton and two other women corrections officers were searching Phillips, the lawsuit says Gorton slammed Phillips' face twice into a partition. Gorton then threw Phillips to the floor and put an elbow on Phillips' head using all of her weigh, the lawsuit says.

The entire encounter so far was captured on video, according to the lawsuit. But at this point another corrections officer stepped in front of the camera to obstruct the view, the lawsuit says.

Gorton took Phillips handcuffed into a cell, where she swept Phillips' feet out front under her and caused her to hit her head on the floor, the suit says. Gorton then pulled "large portions" of Phillips' hair out of her scalp, leaving her permanently in need of a wig, the suit says.

The suit, filed by Portland lawyer Lynn Walsh, sought unspecified damages for civil-rights abuses and assault.
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