Amputee sues over confiscated scooter

March 24, 2005

Associated Press, Corvallis Gazette-Times

PORTLAND — Vicki Marie Tyler, a diabetic amputee with a medical marijuana card, says she was asleep on her couch when 13 police officers raided her North Portland home looking for drugs.

Though officers found less than an ounce of marijuana during the 2003 raid, they seized her electric scooter on the grounds it was bought with drug money.

A jury last year acquitted Tyler of drug-dealing charges.

Now Tyler is trying to make it 2-for-2 in the courts, filing a federal lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau because it kept her scooter for more than three months — until a Multnomah County judge ordered the bureau to give it back.

The police seized her scooter, among other pieces of property, even though the warrant did not list any property eligible for seizure, said David D. Park, Tyler's attorney.

The police can seize property thought to be bought with drug profits, such as guns and expensive stereo equipment. But Park said the police had no reason to believe that Tyler, an arthritic diabetic with kidney failure who uses a prosthetic leg, used drug profits to buy a scooter that requires a prescription from a physician.

The suit seeks $15,000 for emotional pain and suffering. The suit also seeks punitive damages, claiming the police either maliciously sought to punish her or recklessly deprived her of her right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

The Portland city attorney's office had not received a copy of the suit Wednesday. A Portland police spokesman declined to comment to The Oregonian.

The lawsuit names 13 Portland police officers, including former Officer Jason H. Sery, who shot and killed an unarmed motorist named James Jahar Perez last year. Sery was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a grand jury.

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