Attorney slaps cop with illegal parking complaint

April 21, 2008 5:14:41 AM PDT
An attorney who watched a police officer park illegally in front of a restaurant, then wait around while his meal was prepared, issued the officer a series of citizen-initiated violations.

Eric Bryant said he was sitting at the restaurant March 7 when Officer Chad Stensgaard parked his patrol car next to a no-parking sign and walked inside to wait for his food, the Portland Mercury reported Thursday.

Bryant told the weekly paper that when he asked Stensgaard about his car, the officer asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?"

Bryant filed a complaint as a private citizen alleging several violations, including illegal parking and illegal operation of an emergency vehicle.

Stensgaard was issued a summons to appear in traffic court in May. The fines could total $540.

"Citizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the law as justification for breaking the law," Bryant said.

Cathe Kent, a spokeswoman for the Portland Police Bureau, said Stensgaard would fight the complaint in court, "as he rightfully should."

Parking is limited on city streets, especially with many construction projects downtown, she said, and officers remain on duty even when they are picking up food.

"We are emergency responders and need to be ready to take an emergency call," Kent said Saturday.


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