During a press conference held at the Lane County District Attorney's office
in Eugene today, May 16, District Attorney Patricia Perlow announced that the
Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT) determined that there
was no use of deadly force by Florence Police Department officers during an
altercation at the Florence Municipal Jail May 8.
The investigation was brought about by an incident that occurred at the
jail, which left 40-year-old inmate David Brickey dead and 24-year veteran
Florence Police Officer Ken Larson and one-year veteran Corrections Officer
Stephanie Sansom hospitalized with seriously injuries and concussions.
Both have been released.
Perlow said, "The investigation concluded that there was absolutely no use
of deadly force by Florence police officers. The investigation has also
revealed that had there been a use of deadly force, it would have been
justified under these circumstances."
The deadly force team was made up of representatives from Oregon State
Police, Lane County Sheriff's Office and Eugene, Springfield and Cottage
Grove police departments.
According to Perlow, the 5-foot 9-inch, 260 pound Brickey was an inmate in
the Florence jail. He had been booked in on disorderly conduct on May 4 and
was to be released May 8.
In describing the events that lead up to Brickey's death, Perlow said, "Brickey had been disruptive the entire time he had been in jail. He was particularly disruptive the morning he was to be released. Officer Larson went to Mr. Brickey's cell, No. 10, to tell him, 'You're going to be released today.' Larson went into the cell and was attacked. He was beaten unconscious. Officer Sansom heard Larson¹s cries for help and ran down the hallway to Mr. Brickey's cell. She entered the cell, then backed out to get her Taser.
"Both Officer Larson and Officer Sansom were severely assaulted. Inmates in
the jail were calling for help for the officers and for an ambulance to be
called because they believed those two officers were going to be killed."
The entire event was captured in a disturbing in-house video that shot one frame every three seconds, creating a jerky recreation of the brutal attacks described by Perlow.
According to Perlow, Larson was lying unresponsive on the floor of Brickey's
cell outside of the camera¹s view. Brickey chased down and assaulted Sansom
as she tried unsuccessfully to Taser him.
"She was badly beaten. Her head was slammed against the concrete floor and
her head was stomped at that point. She runs to get help and Mr. Brickey chased her into the booking area," Perlow said. "He was holding her by her hair and punching her as Sergeant Ott and Commander Pitcher came in after hearing her cries."
Pitcher and Ott can be seen on the video attempting to Taser and subdue
Brickey, while Sansom tries to go back into the cell and attend to Larson.
"Sergeant Ott and Commander Pitcher tried to physically constrain Brickey.
Tasers had been deployed but were ineffective. After an approximate
three-minute struggle, Ott and Pitcher were able to subdue Brickey with
handcuffs and ankle restraints," Perlow said. "Brickey was not hog tied, he was not physically restrained in any way that would impair his ability to breathe," she added.
When paramedics arrived, they began treating the two badly beaten officers.
Then, according to Perlow, Ott noticed that Brickey, who had quieted down,
"Ott began performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Brickey,"
Perlow said. "Then the medics were summoned over. Brickey had a pulse at
that time, but when he was transported to the hospital, he succumbed. CPR
was performed for another 30 minutes before Brickey was pronounced dead at
According to Perlow, an autopsy was performed and showed there were no
serious injuries on Brickey from the altercation. It did find that Brickey
had an enlarged heart and had a severe blockage in one of the arteries
leading from his heart.
"The final results of the autopsy will not be returned from the medical
examiner until the full toxicology report is received," Perlow said. "There were no injuries on Mr. Brickey that would have caused his death. My assumption is that he suffered a coronary episode as a result of exerting tremendous energy while assaulting the two officers and running through the jail," she added.
IDFIT team member and Springfield Police Detective David Grice said, "There
is nothing to give us any sort of motive. We know that from May 4, when he
was booked into the Florence jail, until the moment that he was going to be
released, he had been disruptive. There was a thread of bad behavior from
him from minute one."
Perlow said Brickey had prior arrests in Montana and California on assault
charges before moving to Florence in March. Since March, Brickey has had
several run-ins with Florence police.
Florence Police Chief Tom Turner said, "The two officers have been released
from the hospital but unfortunately they still have to make visits to the
hospital. The head injuries are difficult to deal with. We are very thankful
that they are alive and survived this event. They are on administrative
leave for as long as sit takes to recover."
Grice said the eight-day delay in announcing the name of the deceased was
that it took time to locate and contact Brickey's family members in
Turner said, "I am so thankful that the officers survived this and that
makes a great deal of this better than it could have been. We look forward
to getting these officers back up to speed and back to work."
Being short-staffed during the busiest weekend of the year is also a concern
"We are dealing with this as well as can be expected. This is a small
operation. We have to immediately gear up for the Rhododendron Festival this
weekend, which is our busiest weekend of the year," he said.
Turner adeed that the department could feel the support of the local community.
"It is always wonderful to work in a supportive community. It has been a
very unique and difficult situation, but we are persevering," he said.