STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

ACLU says it has filed a lawsuit against the City of Ashland

After releasing a statement indicating that it sent a letter to Ashland officials regarding the 2019 arrest of actor Tony Sancho, the ACLU of Oregon said Friday that it has filed suit.

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 4:03 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2021 5:26 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — The ACLU says that it has filed a lawsuit against the City of Ashland for the arrest of former Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Tony Sancho in 2019. The organization said in a statement released Thursday that it had given the City a choice — work with Sancho on changes to its policing, or argue the matter in court.

According to a follow-up statement from the ACLU, Ashland "refused that offer" on Friday morning.

“The city’s decision is disappointing but not unexpected. Since the moment Ashland police approached our client walking home from a night out two years ago, they have had the opportunity to do the right thing every step of the way and they continue to choose otherwise," said attorney Matthew Rowan, one of the lawyers representing Sancho. "They have turned what could have been a simple welfare check that night into a traumatic event for Mr. Sancho and his family, and now civil rights litigation.”

The suit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, naming the City of Ashland, Police Chief Tighe O'Meara, and the four police officers involved in Sancho's arrest.

In April of 2019, Ashland Police officers approached Sancho in downtown Ashland after he left a bar, visibly intoxicated. The ACLU has said that Sancho was only a few blocks from where he was staying, and intended to walk home. After speaking with Sancho for some time, the officers handcuffed him and took him into custody — booking him into the Jackson County Jail.

The City of Ashland declined to prosecute Sancho's case, and the charge under which he was booked, Resisting Arrest, was dropped.

"The city and police department could have been, and still could be, collaborators for true change and accountability in Ashland. But we are happy to pursue justice with the full force of the legal system," said ACLU of Oregon cooperating attorney Christopher Lundberg. "The law is on our side: The Ashland Police Department had no legal basis to arrest Tony Sancho and send him to jail.”

Oregon law prohibits the adoption or enforcement of regulations against public intoxication, drunk and disorderly conduct, and similar charges — driving under the influence representing a notable exception. The ACLU has argued that Sancho's arrest was illegal on these grounds.

Sancho sued the Jackson County Sheriff's Office last July, alleging that he was subjected to excessive force by Jackson County Jail staff in a cell following his arrest in Ashland. A video of three JCSO officers forcibly subduing Sancho and attaching his handcuffs to the urine grate of his cell was released by Sancho's attorney at the time.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314841

Reported Deaths: 3624
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51325643
Washington35086277
Marion32748396
Clackamas26680275
Lane24145248
Jackson21050257
Deschutes16703103
Umatilla12736125
Douglas10795188
Linn1051487
Josephine8685169
Yamhill752099
Klamath651892
Polk629171
Malheur485567
Benton463728
Coos420669
Columbia325439
Jefferson315347
Lincoln277930
Union274838
Wasco242339
Crook213639
Clatsop213225
Tillamook182023
Baker176123
Morrow168621
Curry167817
Hood River163435
Harney82319
Grant7848
Lake6988
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4651497

Reported Deaths: 68087
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144634825870
Riverside3583834802
San Diego3502674021
San Bernardino3475745507
Orange3150815355
Sacramento1507202105
Santa Clara1407321841
Kern1362881521
Fresno1361631889
Alameda1164051330
Ventura978991120
San Joaquin975341615
Contra Costa95858924
Stanislaus808921235
Tulare73111896
San Mateo52311607
San Francisco52008605
Monterey49485565
Solano44247312
Santa Barbara43189500
Sonoma39476378
Merced39446536
Placer36612364
Imperial34285755
Kings30179285
San Luis Obispo28351313
Madera21749263
Butte21379231
Shasta20763279
Santa Cruz20176211
Yolo19192239
Marin17127242
El Dorado16037127
Sutter13122153
Napa1228795
Yuba928061
Nevada850185
Humboldt831988
Tehama827784
San Benito709567
Mendocino691176
Lassen637927
Tuolumne616993
Lake605887
Amador493059
Glenn399030
Siskiyou391541
Calaveras342766
Del Norte339034
Colusa291018
Inyo166739
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa100712
Trinity72610
Modoc6278
Unassigned2120
Sierra1980
Alpine1000
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 70°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 65°
Crater Lake
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 70°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 70°
Cooler afternoon temperatures and thin haze return on the first day of fall
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events