Adam Allen made the mistake of walking past a Portland protest on his way home from a bar. For that offense, he says, a Portland police officer knocked him unconscious.
This afternoon, Allen filed notice of his intent to sue the city.
"I remember being in pain and everything going dark," Allen tells WW. "It was very much like I was in a war zone."
When Allen left North Portland bar the Kenton Club after having a drink with an old friend on the evening of Aug. 9, he wasn't dressed like a protester. "I wasn't geared up," he recalls. "I didn't have a shield. I didn't have a helmet on. I had a sleeveless shirt on and a mask."
But that didn't stop a Portland police officer from shoving him to the pavement and knocking him out during his short walk home, according to a tort claim notice Allen's attorney, Lake Perriguey, filed Aug. 19 with the city of Portland.
Allen has warned the city of his intent to sue for $75,000 "resulting from Portland police negligence, assault, battery, and for the excessive use of force under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Allen, who lives less than a half-mile from the Kenton Club, approached the intersection of North Denver Avenue and Lombard Street at about 10 pm on Aug. 9. Once at the intersection, he says, he encountered a group of Portland police officers who were dispersing a crowd of protesters after declaring a riot near Portland Police Association headquarters.
"Mr. Allen raised his hands," the tort claim says. "He attempted to explain to them that he lived just across the street and that he was returning home. While his hands were still above his head, at least one Portland police officer shoved Mr. Allen so forcefully that his feet left the ground, he landed on his upper back, shoulders and head, and proceeded to roll backwards."
Allen lost consciousness.
He woke up in the parking lot of a nearby 7-Eleven, he says, where he was being treated by medics. Shortly thereafter, he provided an interview to a videographer nearby, though he doesn't remember doing the interview because of his head injuries.
Allen says he was transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital for an evaluation. He was later released but had sustained injuries to the back of his head, knees, elbows and chin. That same night, the Portland Police Bureau arrested 16 protesters in the Kenton neighborhood where Allen was walking.
During a recent interview with KGW, Sgt. Brent Maxey, an 18-year veteran of PPB, acknowledged that sometimes bystanders get caught in the crossfire.
"I will concede that sometimes people get caught in the middle. The people that choose to stay are complicit," Maxey said.
Allen seems to be a clear example of that.
"If I was at the protest, I would have no problem saying I was at the protest. But that's not the case that night," Allen says. "How do I know that was declared a riot zone when I'm sitting six blocks away having a drink with a friend?"
The Portland Police Bureau did not respond immediately to WW's request for comment.