Clackamas County Settles Suit With Teen Benbo

A police brutality issue is getting still attention. On Aug. 5th, deputies were responding to a call about teenage girls who were involved in a fight. As Ka’Mar Benbo was leaving the Clackamas Town Center mall with friends, he was grabbed and taken to the ground by several officers. A Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputy placed his knee on the neck of the then 12-year-old African American child, making it difficult for him to breathe, according to a lawsuit filed in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

The civil lawsuit initially charged the officers with battery and asks for $300,000. It named Deputy Tyler Simpkins, Deputy Rob Watts, Deputy Thomas Broomfield, Deputy Clint Pierce and Deputy Angela Church as defendants in the case. Clackamas County paid $45,000 to settle the lawsuit filed by Benbo’s mother. 

Sheriff Craig Roberts put out a statement noting the incident was investigated by the sheriff’s office last year and didn’t find any evidence that a deputy placed a knee on Benbo’s neck. “We do not train deputies to restrict a person’s airway or impede their ability to breathe,” Neither do other police departments but it still happens.

“It was determined the involved deputies followed training and policy.” Roberts stated, When deputies arrived on the scene, all but one male juvenile complied, presumably Benbo.

“He pulled away from deputies,” said the police officer. “They briefly placed him on the grass and then in handcuffs. He was questioned and released to his guardian.”

Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg, who took office this year, found no fault in the deputies’ interactions with Ka’Mar. Brandenburg said no deputy put a knee on the boy’s neck. The county admitted no wrongdoing in court papers. Ka’Mar, now 15, is trying to move on but still feels unease when he sees police. There was not talk of sending this case to an independent body or to the U.S. Justice Department for review.