A judge has ordered the State of Oregon to pay the legal fees of a biker who was kicked in the chest by a state police officer.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has ordered Oregon to pay more that $318,000 in attorneys’ fees to Justin Wilkens.
Justin Wilkens sued Captain Rob Edwards of the Oregon State Police in 2014 for an encounter that occurred just west of Eugene, Oregon, in August 2012.
At the time of the incident, Edwards was lieutenant for the state police’s Springfield department. According to The Register-Guard, Edwards has since been promoted to captain.
The judge attributed the gross expense to the Oregon Department of Justice’s attorneys employing “costly and prolonged” litigation to “deter plaintiffs from filing lawsuits.”
McShane’s ruling comes after a jury’s January 2016 determination that Edwards violated Wilkens’ civil rights when he kicked him in the chest.
Additionally, the jury ruled that Edwards’ act of rear-ending Wilkens’ motorcycle with his unmarked police car—which caused the biker to fall off his vehicle—was negligent.
Edward’s rear-ended Wilkens’ motorbike after he failed to stop (Wilken said he was unaware he was being followed by a police officer). Wilkens was thrown to the ground from the impact and then kicked in the chest by Edwards before laying on the ground to be handcuffed.
A dashboard camera in Edward’s vehicle recorded the entire incident and its video—viewable above—was a key piece of evidence during Wilkens’ law suit.
Wilkens suffered a broken left clavicle, a fractured rib, and other injuries in the incident.
The jury awarded Wilkens more than $180,000 in damages because of Edwards’ use of excessive force.
The State of Oregon has filed for an appeal of the jury’s verdict and intends to also appeal McShane’s ruling regarding the payment of Wilkens’ legal fees.