Portland, Oregon May Pay $100K to Protestor Who Says He Was Arrested for Not Giving Up Sign

The city of Portland may be ordered to pay a $100,000 settlement to a man who sued the police after they allegedly arrested him for refusing to give up a sign he was holding during a protest last year in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dmitri Stoyanoff, 40, said that police pepper-sprayed him, threw him to the ground and arrested him unlawfully in September 2020, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Stoyanoff said that he was carrying a sign that read "Vote Register Here" at a protest in Kenton Park on Sept. 28, 2020, when police attempted to take it "for no legal reason." When he attempted to hold on to the sign, police allegedly pepper-sprayed him in the face and eyes, pushed him to the ground, kicked him and handcuffed him, the Oregonian reported.

Stoyanoff was accused of interfering with police in the encounter, but the charge was dropped during an arraignment, court records said.

The protests in Portland in the summer of 2020 drew national attention and extensive outcry as police and demonstrators clashed. Stoyanoff's tentative settlement is part of $335,000 the city has or is expected to pay this year for protest-related lawsuits surrounding the police response, according to city records.

One woman who attended the summer 2020 protests as an independent photographer received a $50,000 settlement in a lawsuit that accused Portland police of assaulting her, the Oregonian reported. A 22-year-old man from Montana was paid $5,000 to settle another lawsuit accusing city police of violating his free speech rights and unlawfully arresting him.

The settlements that the city has paid this year also go further back than the summer 2020 protests. An excessive force lawsuit from a man hit in the head by a flash-bang grenade from police during an August 2018 rally resulted in a $125,000 settlement, according to The Oregonian.

Another woman received a $50,000 settlement after also being wounded by a flash-bang grenade during a 2018 protest.

Portland Protestor Settlement
The protests in Portland in the summer of 2020 drew national attention and extensive outcry as police and demonstrators clashed. Tear gas fills the air as police make a line of control during protests, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Paula Bronstein/AP Photo

The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on the settlement, which is the latest in a string of payouts this year stemming from police actions during protests dating back to 2016.

Stoyanoff was holding his homemade sign, which was mounted on a lightweight three-quarter-inch PVC pipe, over his head.

City attorneys initially responded to the lawsuit, saying the officers were authorized to temporarily seize the pole from Stoyanoff's sign for safekeeping, citing it as a dangerous and deadly weapon. They argued the police acted lawfully in responding to or attempting to prevent a civil commotion or riot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Portland Protests
The city of Portland may be ordered to pay a $100,000 settlement to a man who sued the police after they allegedly arrested him for refusing to give up a sign he was holding during a protest last year in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. A protester screams at police as they attempt to take control of the streets with Portland protests reaching 100 consecutive nights on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Paula Bronstein/AP Photo