Sheriff’s deputy charged with assault in Oregon jail
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy in Oregon was arrested Friday on assault and other charges after a man was slammed into a wall in a jail booking area, fracturing his skull and causing what his lawyer calls a permanent brain injury.
Video of the 2018 incident shows Deputy Rian Alden charging Albert Molina as he stood next to a wall for his booking photo and after they appeared to get into an altercation. The back of Molina’s head hits the wall and the video shows Alden grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the floor.
A grand jury on June 5 indicted Alden, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, for official misconduct in the first degree.
After the district attorney’s office learned the extent of the 45-year-old Molina’s injuries through subpoenaed medical records, a prosecutor presented new evidence Thursday to the grand jury.
It returned two counts of assault in the second degree as well as unlawful use of a weapon and official misconduct, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Sheriff Pat Garrett said he supported the district attorney’s decision to present the new evidence to the grand jury.
Alden turned himself in Friday and was booked and lodged in Columbia County Jail on $250,000 bail.
His attorney, Dan Thenell, said he believes Alden will be found innocent at trial.
“We look forward to having a full jury review all of the facts and clearing Rian’s name,” Thenell said.
The sheriff’s office said it received a copy of an email on May 31 that Alden is accused of writing in 2003 containing racial epithets. In response, he was put on administrative leave and a personnel investigation was started.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to authorize a $625,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by Molina. The board condemned the conduct that “needlessly injured” and traumatized Molina.
He now suffers from a permanent brain injury, his attorney Jason Kafoury said.
“He has difficulty remembering. He has emotional swings. This has really changed the arc of his life significantly,” Kafoury was quoted as saying recently by KATU, a Portland TV station.