Video showing use of excessive force by local officers goes public

After settlement talks foundered, details of 2010 case come to light

Courtesy KGW News

Hipolito Aranda, 48, is asking for $1 million in punitive damages from each of seven defendants, plus compensatory damages and legal fees. He alleges his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because he was arrested without probable cause and subjected to excessive force.

A federal district judge dismissed some parts of the complaint with respect to the sheriff’s office, due to the limited nature of its backup role, but retained claims of battery, municipal liability and excessive use of force. Judge Michael Simon also refused a county bid to have a damning internal affairs report thrown out.

The case went to settlement talks in early May, but they foundered. City Attorney Candace Haines said no further talks are scheduled at this point.

A court scheduling conference, to determine a trial date and other timelines, is on the docket for May 24.

In addition to Heidt, the instigator and principal protagonist, the lawsuit names Chief Ron Noble and Sgt. Cully Desmond from the police department and Sheriff Jack Crabtree and deputy Rich Broyles from the sheriff’s office.

Heidt remains on active duty, despite drawing a strongly worded rebuke in the second of two internal affairs investigations conducted three years after the fact in February.

An internal affairs investigation was completed at the time, leading to issuance of a report in May 2010. A second one was completed in February of this year, after an additional portion of the videotape of the incident was belatedly discovered. The resulting report was highly critical of Heidt.

McMinnville Chief Ron Noble declined to indicate whether Heidt had been disciplined, either at the time or later, saying he could not discuss the issue while the case remained under active litigation. But he acknowledged, “What happened on that night is extremely troublesome."

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