University of Oregon sues ex-officer over Latino bicyclist stop

The lawsuit accuses a former campus police officer of unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and fabricating evidence.

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The University of Oregon has filed a federal lawsuit against a former campus police officer, accusing him of lying in police reports and withholding key evidence in an alleged malicious prosecution of a Latino bicyclist he stopped at gunpoint.

The university fired officer Troy Phillips in 2019 for dishonesty, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Phillips couldn’t immediately be reached by the newspaper for comment.

The university agreed last week to pay $115,000 to the family of the bicyclist, Eliborio Rodrigues Jr., who later died in an unrelated encounter with Eugene police. The payment settled a notice to sue the university.

Phillips failed to disclose to a Eugene municipal prosecutor who asked that his Oct. 27, 2018, stop of Rodrigues was videotaped and audio recorded through his police car’s mobile camera, the lawsuit says.

Although the officer reviewed the video when writing his police report, he falsified what happened in the report and in a probable cause statement, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene Friday.

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It accuses Phillips of unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and fabricating evidence and says Phillips should pay the damages owed to Rodrigues’ estate.

Phillips failed to disclose to a Eugene municipal prosecutor who asked that his Oct. 27, 2018, stop of Rodrigues was videotaped and audio recorded through his police car’s mobile camera, the lawsuit says.

The university alleges the officer had no grounds to stop Rodrigues while he was biking in a bike lane and that after stopping him at gunpoint, Phillips tackled him.

The suit alleges Phillips used excessive force.

Phillips failed to disclose to a Eugene municipal prosecutor who asked that his Oct. 27, 2018, stop of Rodrigues was videotaped and audio recorded through his police car’s mobile camera, the lawsuit says.

Although the officer reviewed the video when writing his police report, he falsified what happened in the report and in a probable cause statement, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene Friday.

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It accuses Phillips of unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and fabricating evidence and says Phillips should pay the damages owed to Rodrigues’ estate.