BEND, OR -- a man accused of punching Bend's Police Chief, last month, is now wanted for failing to appear at a court hearing on assault charges. Chief Jim Porter says he was getting coffee at the Dutch Bros on NE Third Street, on his way to a meeting, when he encountered Nicholas Pearson, "At first he was on the sidewalk, very animated and yelling. He then started jumping out into traffic and people were having to leave their lane to go around him. As one vehicle passed, he threw a cup, a container at them, that had liquid in it; it hit the back of the vehicle and splattered all over."
Porter says he approached the man and tried to calm him down, saying, "‘It looks like you’re having a bad day. Just pick up your litter and we’ll move on.’ He said some disgruntled remarks towards me, went out and picked up his litter and said, ‘well, what if I don’t'." He tells KBND News, "At that point, he uttered that he was going to assault me, and came across the parking lot at me, and threw the cup at me. At that point, I had to push him back away from me twice. The third time he came at me, I picked my radio up to call for help and he managed to slip a punch in, from his right side [to] my left and strike me in the head." Porter says he was not in uniform, but was wearing a department issued polo shirt with an embroidered badge, along with his badge attached to his hip.
He says he wasn't able to call for backup sooner, because dispatchers had called for halt to non-emergency radio traffic while officers dealt with an emergency situation across town. "[I] Took him into an escort hold, took him into the ground and held him in place on the curb until I was able to call for assistance; and picked my sunglasses up that he’d knocked off my head." Porter believes the man was suffering from a mental problem, just like many people, he says his officers deal with everyday.
The incident is now under investigation by the Bend Police Department. Porter says that's standard procedure, "I fill out a use of force, just like any other officer does, because I did put hands on him and I did take him down and force him down to the ground and held him there. It’s reviewed by a Sergeant, then a Lieutenant and a Captain; it’ll come back to me. In this case I will not receive it; it’ll go to one of my administrative captains. I won’t approve my own use of force."
According to the District Attorney's Office, Pearson is charged with Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct 2 and Offensive Littering. A warrant was issued for his arrest after the suspect failed to appear at a hearing on those charges, August 30.