Oregon State Police on Thursday evening revealed more details on the events that took place Aug. 12 outside the St. Charles Medical Center-Bend emergency room in which they said a Bend police officer used a Taser and slapped a combative patient who died eight days later.
Here is the complete statement issued by the OSP and approved by the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office, which assisted in the investigation:
On August 12, 2012 at approximately 7:00 p.m., the Deschutes County 9-1-1 received numerous calls from employees within the Emergency Room (ER) at St. Charles Medical Center reporting a patient was out of control and physically assaulting the ER staff. The patient was later identified as Jerry J. Nichols, age 64, from Bend.
Nichols had been receiving medical treatment and was noted as having breathing issues at the ER just prior to and during the time he assaulted ER staff. Nichols then exited the ER.
At some time after Nichols exited the ER, he sat at a picnic table outside with a security officer.
Within minutes, Bend Police Officer Steve Craig arrived at the ER entrance in response to the 9-1-1 call.
Nichols left the table he was seated at, crossed into the parking area where Officer Craig was exiting his marked police vehicle and advanced toward the officer.
The officer initially attempted to verbally calm Nichols and asked him to sit back down to talk.
Based on video footage, it appears Nichols continued advancing toward the officer and he raises his fists.
Officer Craig retreated backwards but Nichols continued to advance toward him while punching at the officer.
At some point, Officer Craig deployed his Taser to stop Nichols, but the Taser was ineffective. Nichols continued to advance toward the officer.
The officer then used an open hand strike and struck the left side of Nichols' head with the palm of his hand to stop Nichols' attempted assault.
Nichols fell backward and downward, landing in a seated position on the ground.
Nichols then fought with Officer Craig and a medical staff member as they tried to place Nichols in custody to prevent further incidents.
Nichols was restrained shortly thereafter. At this time, Nichols stopped breathing and lifesaving procedures were administered by medical personnel.
Nichols was revived and admitted to St. Charles Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition for several days.
Nichols died at 4:34 p.m., on August 20, 2012 while at St. Charles Medical Center.
An autopsy was conducted on August 21, 2012 by the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office. The results of the autopsy are pending.
Officer Stephen Craig has 26 years of service as a police officer, of which 13 years of service have been with the City of Bend.
Oregon State Police jointly worked with Bend Police Department on the investigation. The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office assisted with the investigation. Any further questions should be directed to the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office.
(Bend police Lt. Paul Kansky referred questions to the DA's office, but did confirm to NewsChannel 21 that the officer involved has not been placed on paid administrative leave.)
The family of a Bend man who was Tasered by police at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend and died nine days later is speaking out as they wait for more answers on what happened
Barbara Nichols told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday evening that her husband, Jerry, was a loving and caring man who would not hurt anyone.
"He wouldn't hurt a fly," said Nichols, "He did not want to have to fight with anybody, he was just not that kind of person."