The city of Portland has agreed to pay $1,000 to a woman whose apartment police inadvertently tear gassed on May 31.
Monique Jefferson was the first Portlander to file a legal claim against the city for health and property damages sustained from police tear gas. When police used the chemical to disperse people protesting racism on May 31, gas leaked into her apartment across from the Portland Art Museum.
She filed her claim June 24, seeking $10,000. Her attorney, Michael Fuller, gave the city 30 days to settle before filing suit. A day before the deadline, the city replied and offered her $1,000.
She accepted the deal, "in light of the fact that the Portland police have now stopped using chemical weapons on peaceful protesters," Fuller wrote in an email on her behalf.
Jefferson was surprised the city made the deadline. She plans to reinvest most of the settlement money into an organization called Guidance 2 Greatness, a nonprofit that provides reentry training and support to recently incarcerated people.
"I'm glad I received some form of justice, which is mainly holding law enforcement accountable for their actions," Jefferson said, "and for being in solidarity with my allies and not being silent or complacent."
In June, the Oregon Legislature restricted the Portland Police Bureau from using tear gas unless they declared a riot. That law does not apply to federal agents, who have deployed copious quantities of gas since arriving in Portland on July 2.
As for Jefferson? She pays close attention to when her patio door is open and closes her apartment windows when she feels something might happen.