occupy portland activist to file lawsuit against police for pepper spray incident

by Tim Phillips

She’s motivated to protest by the plight of her parents. Her mother has multiple sclerosis and her father was disabled by a back injury. They’re both surviving on his Social Security disability checks.

That’s the Oregonian’s description of Portland State University student Liz Nichols, who, one day before the “pepper spray cop” debacle at UC Davis, a Portland officer gratuitously pepper-sprayed directly in the face during a demonstration. Nichols fell to the ground, was dragged by the hair through a police line, and was charged with three misdemeanors. The Multnomah County Prosecutor’s Office ultimately replaced those charges with traffic-level offenses, which Nichols is still fighting.

Tomorrow her attorneys at the Portland Law Collective will file an excessive force lawsuit on her behalf. The suit alleges that in addition to violating Nichols’s rights, Portland has an unconstitutional policy of allowing pepper spray to be used on demonstrators even when they pose no threat to the safety of others.