DA: Officer justified hitting suspect in head with metal baton

DA: Officer justified hitting suspect in head with metal baton
Police responded June 27, 2013, after an officer and a suspect got in a physical altercation during an arrest.

EUGENE, Ore. - A Eugene Police officer who hit a disorderly man in the head with a metal baton during a fight was legally justified in using potentially deadly force, the Lane County District Attorney said.

The case went under review after initial reports that the man may have lost consciousness after being hit in the head with the baton. The strike left a small laceration.

The DA said it now appears the suspect never lost consciousness.

The June 27, 2013, incident went under investigation by the interagency Lane County IDFIT unit. Oregon requires investigations whenever law enforcement officers use potentially deadly force.

That day, Officer Randy Ellis responded to investigate a criminal trespass case involving a disorderly subject

who was refusing to leave private property at 9th and Patterson in Eugene

Officer Ellis asked the man to leave the property, and the man initially complied, the DA said. When the man returned moments later, Ellis told him he was under arrest. The subject resisted arrest and subsequently attacked Officer Ellis, the DA said.

During the ensuing fight, Ellis struck the man in the head with a metal baton.

The fight continued to the ground. Ellis injured his hand; the man suffered a laceration from the baton.

The DA said both the IDFIT reports and the identity of the assailant are not being released at this time to protect the assailant’s right to a fair trial on pending criminal charges.