Barbara Weich of McCall didn't have proof of insurance. She didn't have her seat belt on. And she didn't have patience for Officer Gregory Adrian's insistence on pointing out those shortcomings.
Weich, 58, was driving on Grande Avenue in Southwest Portland on May 29, 2005, when Portland city cop Adrian pulled her over for not buckling up. Weich, according to Adrian's police report, argued that the offense only deserved a warning and that she didn't have the money to pay the ticket. Adrian let Weich's lack of insurance slide, but he nailed her on the seat belt violation. This charge apparently rubbed Weich the wrong way. So, as the flatfoot wrote in his report, "Shortly after the stop, Weich drove by me and yelled, 'You're an asshole.'" What an appropriate ambassador for our state.
Then again, Adrian wasn't embracing the role of peacemaker on this particular evening, either. In a classic example of understated police-ese, he wrote in his report, "I chose to stop her and readdress her lack of insurance."
It's up to the courts to decide what, exactly, Adrian meant by that. But in this author's imagined movie version of the incident, Adrian (played by the late Charles Bronson) stares calmly at the back of the car as Weich (played by Pauly Shore) speeds away. The camera zooms in on Adrian. He delivers the line about Weich's lack of insurance and cracks his knuckles ominously. Then he chases Weich down, walks up to her driver's side window and punches her in the face. He breaks her arm. He throws her in jail. And then, as he's locking her into the holding cell, he says ever so Bronson-ly, "Bet you wish you had some insurance now, doncha pally? Health insurance, that is."
The line is made-up (and awesome). The rest of the scene, though, is dead-on. Adrian did "distract Weich with a light jab to the left side of her jaw," according to his report. He also held her in an armlock until backup arrived and arrested her on felony charges of eluding a police officer. While she reportedly complained of arm pain, Weich refused medical attention at the police station. After all, according to her lawyer, Portland attorney Gregory Kafoury, Weich should have never been in the station in the first place.
"[Officer Adrian] should have let her go. She hadn't committed any crimes. He was abusive to her, and she let him know what she thought of his behavior," Kafoury told BW. "It's a free country. You're allowed to speak your mind. You don't get your arm broken and your face pushed in because you tell somebody what you think of them."
In other words, cha-ching. Weich is suing Officer Adrian and the City of Portland, charging excessive force, malicious prosecution and battery. Her price for those three charges is $2,500 in medical expenses and $97,500 in lost wages. That may sound excessive if you believe Adrian's police report, in which Weich is described as "very apologetic and upset with herself" as she apologized to the trooper.
Then again, Kafoury says, "I would not believe everything you read."