‘I’m not made of steel’: Navy vet recounts beating by federal officers

U.S. & World

Chris David said field medics came to his rescue after the incident

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Navy veteran was beaten by federal officers with batons during demonstrations in downtown Portland on Saturday, the 51st consecutive night of protests against police brutality in the city.

On Sunday, Chris David said he will need surgery on his hand as a result.

A video of the incident shows David being struck repeatedly by federal law enforcement officers outside the Federal Courthouse and Justice Center.

“I stood there with my hands down by my sides and they just started whaling on me,” said David.

He said he had taken the bus downtown to attend the protest and wanted to ask federal officers a question.

“I stood in the street in front of them and I started asking them if it was okay to violate their oath of the Constitution,” said David. He said one of the men shoved him backward.

“I lose my balance and fall backwards a little bit, and then plant myself,” David said. “That’s right when they start beating me.”

A Navy veteran named Chris David (backpack sweatshirt) is beaten and peppers-sprayed by federal officers in downtown Portland, July 18, 2020 (Screen grabs from tweet by Zane Sparling of the Portland Tribune)

“They kept hitting me with batons and I think they decided that wasn’t going to work, so then two pepper spray hits I think I took, and that ended that,” said David. “That was not fun, so I flipped them off and walked to the corner of the park as best I could and I was losing my vision. I was walking through a giant cloud of CS gas.”

David said he sat on a park bench and a field medic named Tav came to help, guiding him to someone’s car.

“I couldn’t see at all. I could only see shapes, vague shapes,” David said. “Tav was frantically trying to get an ambulance.”

David said they were able to flag down EMTs and he went to the hospital. He was left with a fractured hand and said it will require surgery.

As the video of the incident spread on social media, David said fellow grads from the academy and other veterans have been sending messages of support.

Navy Lieutenant Chris David (Courtesy Chris David)

“I got out after about eight years as an LT,” said David. “All these academy grads are reaching out.”

People have called David a hero and the Superman of Portland.

“They are playing me up as an Iron Man and a Superman. I’m a 53-year-old overweight man on blood thinners and I have a lot of physical damage from the military. So, I’m not made of steel at all. They could have killed me last night, as my ex-wife and daughter have reminded me 45 times this morning.”

David said he’s most disturbed by the lack of accountability by police, saying in the military, there are consequences for your actions.

Fatal Arrest Fallout

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