The University of Oregon (UO) has filed a lawsuit against a former campus police officer after it claimed that the officer, who was involved in an altercation with a Latino bicyclist, lied in police reports and concealed evidence.
Troy Philipps made a recording of his interaction with Eliborio Rodrigues Jr. but did not disclose this information to authorities. Despite having the video with him as he wrote his official report, the suit alleges that Philipps misrepresented what had happened.
The university accuses Phillips of malicious prosecution and unlawful arrest, stating that the former campus cop should pay damages to the victim. UO has already agreed to pay Rodrigues’ family $115,000 to settle a tort claim.
“Such intentional misconduct violates UOPD’s policies and the law, and is universally condemned by American law enforcement agencies. We stand firmly behind the UOPD and its officers who adhere to the university’s professional standards but will not support or use public funds to indemnify and defend a person for such misconduct,” University Spokesperson Kay Jarvis said in a statement.
In October 2018, Philipps saw Rodrigues riding a bike on Agate Street in Eugene and stopped him. The university believes that the former campus officer did not have any reasonable suspicion to stop the cyclist but continued to do so.
He ordered Rodrigues to stop via a loudspeaker and the latter followed the instruction within 15 seconds. But the suit said that Philipps still held Rodrigues at gunpoint, demanding to know why he didn’t stop right away.
Rodrigues explained that he had been listening to music and had not heard the police siren at first. Philipps noted that he saw a sheathed knife in the man’s waistband, prompting him to order Rodrigues to get down on the ground. He also called for backup and instructed them to “go lethal.”
At the following trial, the suit noted that Phillips “repeated the false statements made in his reports and intentionally omitted the exculpatory evidence.” He also claimed that Rodrigues cut his car off when asked to pull over and reached for his knife when Philipps tackled him.
Rodrigues was acquitted of all charges while the officer was subsequently fired for misconduct.