Woman pepper-sprayed in Occupy protest sues for $155,000

Credit: Randy L. Rasmussen, The Oregonian

Elizabeth Nichols is sprayed in the face with pepper spray by police during an Occupy Portland protest on November 17, 2011 in this photo by Randy L. Rasmussen of The Oregonian.


by Frank Mungeam, KGW.com Staff


Posted on October 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 5 at 3:02 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland woman has sued the city of Portland for $155,000 after she was pepper-sprayed during an Occupy Portland protest last year.

Lawyers for the woman announced the lawsuit Friday morning at City Hall. They say the suit is not about money but rather is an effort to change the city's policy regarding use of pepper spray and crowd control.

Liz Nichols, 21, stood quietly Friday morning and let her attorneys do the talking, in contrast to last year’s November 17th protest.

KGW cameras were there and captured Nichols among a large crowd of people yelling at police, right before she got sprayed in the face.

An Oregonian photographer snapped an award-winning picture of the moment when Nichols was pepper-sprayed.

Nichols' attorneys claim the city's policy allowing police to use pepper spray on demonstrators is unconstitutional.

”In fact, it's getting to the point where if a person joins a crowd of people expressing their views in downtown Portland, they run a serious risk of being sprayed with pepper spray,” said Attorney Benjamin Haile.

While police officials can't comment on the pending trial, they responded to the incident last year, saying officers had made repeated loud commands for people, including Nichols, to clear the street.

Background: Occupy Portland protests in Portland