Videos shows inmate tortured by police


PRINEVILLE, Ore. – Curtis Hooper of Prineville is suing two counties, the city of Prineville and 15 people in federal court for more than $5 million. Having had frequent run-ins with the law, he says police in Jefferson and Crook county have harassed him for years. But last year, he says, it was taken to a new level.

Hooper is still recovering from what he says a former Jefferson County Jail deputy did to him in May of 2010.

Deputy Rob Robbins kicked a steel door shut on Hooper’s hand. Eight days later, Robbins was fired. Robbins was charged with assault and later agreed to a plea deal in Wasco County as the case was tried before the district attorney in The Dalles.

Mathers says Robbins had been reprimanded several other times for bad behavior. Robbins had been written up for assaulting another inmate, pulling over a woman while in his own car and civilian clothes while off-duty and out of his jurisdiction, assaulting Hooper once before the steel door incident, and having sexual relations with a woman who was a former inmate.

After Hooper’s fingers were slammed in the steel door in Jefferson County, he was not taken to the hospital. Three weeks after the assault. he finally got X-rays, and found out the bones in two of his fingers were shattered. An auto mechanic by trade, Hooper says he can’t work because his fingers still need surgery.

Hooper grew up in foster care and has had his share of run-ins with the law, mostly misdemeanors. His attorney admits that Hooper has a reputation with police for being mouthy and aggressive.

Hooper was serving a 90-day sentence for violating his parole when Robbins attacked him. That assault wasn’t caught on tape, but Hooper says others were.

The night that video was taken, Hooper’s friend called 911 thinking, he’d overdosed on pills. Medics arrived and found him to be fine. But then the police came.

Hooper says he was handcuffed, pepper sprayed in the face and Tased by Prineville police. Later, they took him to a hospital, where he was restrained.

It’s unclear why the officer is touching Hooper in the video in the first place. But it is clear that everyone in the room was made aware the camera was running as one of the people in the room says something to the affect of audio and video are being recorded.

Mathers says what you see in the video of Hooper with Prineville police officers is blatant torture. He added that he was surprised the tape of what happened hadn’t been destroyed.

“That’s a sign to me that they’ve done this before and they feel comfortable doing it,” said Mathers.

Mathers wants not just the officer bending Hooper’s fingers held accountable, but anyone else who was in the room.

“Any officer that was there that witnessed this and did nothing is complicit in the assault and complicit in the torture,” said Mathers. “Any officer that wrote a false police report is guilty of covering up.”

Mathers said he plans to make everyone listed as a defendant on the complaint filed in federal court last week pay for what Hooper says they did.

“I want them to know you can’t do this, you cant assault a defendant,” said Mathers.

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