31 July 2020
30 July 2020
By Brad Smith
MEDFORD, Ore. -- A former Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor filed a lawsuit against the Jackson County Sheriff's Office Tuesday, claiming he lost consciousness as a corrections deputy pinned him to the ground with a knee.
The suit also claims the man was chained and handcuffed to a drainage grate for more than two hours.
According to the Ashland Police Dept., Juan Anthony "Tony" Sancho, 44, was arrested at around 2:30 a.m. APD released a statement about the incident. There was an anonymous report of a man passed out. When police arrived, the statement said, "Sancho, was mobile but very intoxicated and moving from sidewalk to street and back."
"The officers got him seated and tried at length to get Mr. Sancho to say where he was staying and whether there was a responsible adult they could leave him with to sober up. Mr. Sancho either couldn’t or wouldn’t provide enough information to assist with this," the press release read. "Having no other options, the officers told Mr. Sancho they felt he was not able to safely care for himself and they would, therefore, have to take him to a detox facility until he could sober up."
The release noted that Sancho initially agreed but once informed he would have to be put into handcuff in order to be taken into a detox facility he, " fairly calmly opposed handcuffing efforts."
"A day or so later, I contacted the Jackson County District Attorney’s office and requested that the charge of resisting arrest not be filed by the DA’s office," wrote Ashland PD chief Tighe O'Maera. " I did this not because I felt the charge was unwarranted, but rather because I thought that an important ongoing dialogue and relationship building effort would be ill-served by pursuing this prosecution. The DA’s office agreed to this request, and the charge was not filed."
OSF actor Kevin Kenerly was upset about Sancho's treatment by APD.
"He was two blocks away from his home," he said. "Two blocks. This could have been handled differently."
In a statement, Sheriff Nate Sickler said he took all allegations of excessive force seriously and they are investigated accordingly.
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