Officer involved in Taser case asks to be named
Moments before the Eugene chief of police gave a press conference Tuesday, the officer who tasered a University student last month in an incident now under investigation asked that the chief release his name publicly.
Chief Pete Kerns addressed the incident Tuesday afternoon, and at the officer’s request told media that officer Judd Warden tasered the Chinese international student on Sept. 22 at the student’s townhouse on West 11th Avenue.
Warden, who believed the student and the student’s friend were trespassing on their newly rented apartment, is the same officer who tasered University student protester Ian Van Ornum in May of 2008. In regards to the public reaction to these similar events, Kerns said that although they are two unrelated cases, “the facts will speak for themselves.”
The case is currently in the hands of the Eugene Police Department sergeants who will investigate the case within 60 days, Kerns said. After the investigation is complete, the issue will be handed off to the city civilian review board that Kerns predicts will hold a public discussion on the matter.
The Taser that Warden used in last month’s event is said to have had a camera attached, and the film is now in an investigative file.
Kerns said he wished he could have acted sooner on this case to inform the community and accelerate the investigation.
“It was unwise of us to assume, since we received no public complaint, that this event would not be a major issue,” Kerns said.
While the case wasn’t as time-efficient as Kerns had hoped, he called the initial report of the incident “more pro-active than ever.”
Immediately after the incident, officers at the scene reported back to the office and to City Councilor George Brown, police auditor Mark Gissiner and the mayor.
Kerns said the EPD intends to provide more Tasers to its officers in the future, but the department gives each officer a choice whether they would like to be armed with a Taser.
As of Tuesday, Warden was said to be on duty armed with a Taser.
“A Taser is a defensive tool for a police officer,” Kerns said. “Carrying one remains a serious responsibility.”
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