Chief Officially Absolves Officers for Tasering Protester

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns today officially absolved fellow officers of any wrongdoing in tasering protester Ian Van Ornum last May.

The EPD’s decision to not hold themselves accountable was widely expected. At a 3 pm press conference, Kerns largely repeated police justifications for the Tasering made by former Chief Robert Lehner three days after the incident.

Police officer Judd Warden Tasered Van Ornum in the back twice while Van Ornum lay face down with one or both arms behind his back. Here’s police video from the Taser gun of Van Ornum writhing in pain:

After the Tasering Warden was given the “Officer of the Year” award by the Eugene Police Department.

Kerns is now reviewing another controversial Taser use by Warden against a Chinese student wrongly thought to be trespassing in his own home last month. Kerns said Warden deserved the Officer of the Year Award and stood by his public praise of Warden as “noble and hard-working” after the Tasering of the student. He denied that his praise indicated that he had already also prejudged whether that use of the 50,000-volt weapon was justified.