Eugene, OR — Last week, a Eugene man was awarded $180,000 by a jury after being run over and attacked by an Oregon State Police officer.
The dashcam video from the attack was also released along with the ruling. In the video, Capt. Rob Edwards, with the OSP, is seen chasing down Justin Wilkens, running his bike over, and then kicking the man so hard that he broke his collarbone.
As the dashcam video begins, Edwards, who is driving an unmarked Chevrolet Camaro, is passed by Wilkens. Wilkens was seen passing cars in a no-passing zone, which was a poor decision. However, an even poorer decision was for Edwards to do the same thing in his vehicle that is several times wider than a motorcycle.
Luckily, Edwards didn’t plow his police vehicle head-on into a minivan full of children while engaging in such a dangerous pursuit.
Once Wilkens realized he was being followed, he pulled off, at which point Edwards rammed his vehicle into the motorcyclist. Edwards then exits the vehicle with his gun drawn and front kicks the entirely peaceful and compliant Wilkens in the chest so hard that it broke his clavicle and fractured his ribs.
During the civil trial, Edwards made the assertion that his force was entirely justified against Wilkens.
“Based on the aggressive driving and speeds, I believe he was attempting to elude me,” Edwards said. Running over a compliant driver, according to Edwards, is fine and dandy, as long as you believe they were trying to elude you.
According to the Register-Guard, Wilkens, 41, denies trying to escape from the veteran state trooper. He claims he didn’t recognize Edwards’ unmarked Chevrolet Camaro as a police vehicle and did not realize he was being followed until moments before he pulled the motorcycle to the side of the road and stopped.
Before being run down by the crazed cop, Wilkens testified that he thought he was about to get a well-deserved speeding ticket. Instead, he got a hospital visit, a damaged motorcycle, towing fees, and medical bills.
In a laughable testimony, Edwards admitted that Wilkens was complying with his commands prior to unleashing the kick, but that he couldn’t stop his kick as he “already had the muscles fired” in his right leg.
As if claiming his leg has a mind of his own wasn’t bad enough, Edwards then attempted to tell the jury that the same thing happened to his brakes, which is why he ran over Wilkens. In spite of the video clearly showing no attempt to brake prior to his car ramming Wilkens, Edwards claimed that he “accidentally bumped” the motorcycle as a result of “brake fade” — a term to describe overheated brakes on older model vehicles.
Had Edwards actually experienced “brake fade,” Wilkens could be dead.
Luckily the jury was not swayed by Edwards’ ridiculous testimony, and they listened to Wilkens’ lawyer, Lauren Regan when she reminded jurors that brake fade is exceedingly rare in modern brake systems.
After the verdict last week, State Police released a statement that said the agency “is disappointed with the (trial) outcome and feels the actions of our troopers clearly did not violate established procedures or tactics. In situations like these, officers have milliseconds to make what may be life-or-death decisions and those officers should be shielded from the liability of civil damages.”
Edwards was never suspended for this incident, and only received a written reprimand for failing to report his use of force. In true blue privilege fashion, Edwards, who was a lieutenant at the time of this stop, has since been promoted to Captain and now he sits at the head of the entire OSP at their headquarters in Bend.
Watch the video below: