City News, PUBLIC SAFETY

Portland man claims he was mistakenly jailed in suit naming Salem police

A Portland man who says he spent two days in jail for a warrant that had been withdrawn is suing the Salem police over the 2021 experience.

Duarte Papa-Vicente is seeking $750,000 from the Salem Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the state of Oregon, and Marion and Multnomah counties in a lawsuit filed Friday, Jan. 13, in Marion County Circuit Court.

The complaint said Papa-Vicente, 27, was wrongfully arrested and booked into county jails in Salem and Portland. The lawsuit doesn’t specify which agency arrested him.

Salem police declined to comment on the suit, citing pending litigation. 

Papa-Vicente’s attorney did not respond to emails seeking comment.

The complaint said that around Jan. 15, 2021, Papa-Vicente, who is described in the lawsuit as African American, was not feeling well and needed medical care.

He was driving himself to the hospital when he saw a green Mustang approach his vehicle from behind and tailgate him, the complaint said. It became apparent the Mustang was a police car when the driver turned on lights and a siren. The lawsuit said Papa-Vicente, “feeling this was suspicious,” called 911 and spoke with emergency dispatchers. 

He said in the suit that he pulled over when he was sure the vehicle was a police car.

After Papa-Vicente stopped, he “was treated aggressively which triggered a panic attack with seizures,” the complaint said. He was then taken by ambulance to the hospital.

At the hospital, Papa-Vicente said he was told that there was a “material witness” warrant from Multnomah County for his arrest, the complaint said. Such warrants can be issued under state law to arrest a key witness in a pending criminal case to ensure they are available to testify.

He was booked into the Marion County Jail, where he “suffered two seizure-type episodes,” according to the suit. Later that night, he was moved to the Multnomah County Jail.

Papa-Vicente was released two days after he was pulled over “as there was no such warrant for his arrest,” he said in the complaint.

The material witness warrant was issued by Multnomah County Circuit Court in December 2020 in a criminal case not involving Papa-Vicente. That warrant was rescinded a week before he was taken into custody, the suit said.

Papa-Vicente didn’t appear for a December 2020 grand jury hearing in a murder case involving a defendant who was charged with shooting and killing 22-year-old Noah Terry in Portland, according to prosecutors’ application and affidavit seeking a warrant for Papa-Vicente’s arrest.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras withdrew the warrant on Jan. 8, 2021, after a grand jury determined the indictment in the criminal case was “not a true bill,” meaning there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone.

Papa-Vicente works in cryptocurrency, according to his social media.

The lawsuit said that he was “subjected to deprivation of his liberty, freedom of movement, extreme humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, and other highly unpleasant mental or emotional reactions lasting over a prolonged period of time.”

He alleged in the complaint that the state of Oregon and the Oregon State Police were responsible for the Law Enforcement Data System and were negligent in failing to remove the warrant from the database. The suit also said the state failed to update the Oregon Judicial Department’s online database in a timely manner to show that the warrant had been rescinded.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

SUBSCRIBE TO GET SALEM NEWS  We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more. Click I want to subscribe!

Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.