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Springfield officer cleared of charges back on the job

Officer Ryan Stone, who was under investigation, was targeted because he's a whistleblower, his attorney says.

Posted: Jan. 7, 2019 7:05 PM
Updated: Jan. 8, 2019 11:29 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The Springfield police officer who was placed on leave after allegedly using excessive force is back on the job, and his attorney claims he's being targeted because he's a whistleblower.

Amber Fossen, a spokeswoman for the city, confirmed that Officer Ryan Stone went back to work Dec. 20 after being placed on leave on April 12.

Stone's conduct was called into question after he arrested a man named Austin Stewart, who was allegedly jaywalking near the intersection of Highway 126 and Main Street on April 7.

KEZI 9 News has obtained the police dash camera video of that arrest.

In the video, you can see Stone asking Stewart for his name and explaining why he stopped him. Later Stone asks Stewart to sit on the curb before throwing him to ground. Soon after you can hear Stone asking Stewert to put his hands behind his back and then using his Taser on him.

All charges against Stewart were dropped, and Springfield police conducted an internal investigation into the arrest.

In those reports, Stone said he feared Stewart would run and believed he gave a false name. Investigators wrote Stewert showed no signs of running and Stone never confirmed if the name he was given was true. According to the documents, Stone reported that Stewart said he was not going to sit down and comply.

However, in the video, the only words Stewart is heard saying are fragmented uttterances, not a refusal to comply. 

RELATED: Springfield officer won't be charged, prosecutor says

A special prosecutor in Linn County conducted an investigation to see if Stone committed any crimes but said there was not enough evidence to charge him.

Stone could still be reprimanded by the Springfield Police Department.

At a recent public grievance hearing over the allegations, an attorney representing Stone accused Lt. Scott McKee, who investigated Stone's conduct, of lying. McKee is now on leave and said an investigation into his conduct will take place.

MORE: Springfield police lieutenant put on leave

In a notice of tort claim sent to Springfield city leaders back in October, Stone's attorney Christopher Lundberg wrote the department conducted an overzealous and relentless effort to find fault with Stone.

Lundberg wrote Stone was called a "snitch" by other officers after he reported one of them for leaving a handgun in an unsecured area among other things.

KEZI 9 News reached out to Springfield Police Chief Rick Lewis for comment but hasn’t heard back.

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