April 20, 2008
BY MATT DAVIS
*A CITIZEN* who watched a cop illegally park, then walk into a Chinese
restaurant to wait for his food, has issued the officer a series of
citizen-initiated parking violations.
Eric Bryant says he was sitting in the SanSai Japanese Grill on NW 21st and
Hoyt on March 7 when he witnessed Officer Chad Stensgaard pull up and park
his patrol car illegally, next to a "No Parking" sign.
Stensgaard walked into the restaurant wearing his police uniform, but did
not make any arrests or citations. Instead, he turned his attention to the
basketball game on television, according to Bryant. When Bryant asked
Stensgaard about his vehicle, Stensgaard allegedly acknowledged being in a
no-parking zone but 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 returned to his seat, and says shortly afterward he watched a
restaurant employee hand the officer a plastic bag before he left.
Unfortunately for Officer Stensgaard, Bryant had recently passed the Oregon
bar exam, and decided to pursue the matter further.
"If he had acknowledged and corrected his error, we could have avoided this
whole thing," says Bryant. "But instead, he kept watching basketball and
told me he wasn't doing anything wrong."
Now, using ORS 153.058, Bryant—as a private citizen—has initiated violation
proceedings against Officer Stensgaard. Bryant alleges Stensgaard was in
violation of state statutes on illegal parking, illegal stopping, obeying
parking restrictions on state highways, and illegal operation of an
emergency vehicle or ambulance—the violations carry fines totaling $540.
Officer Stensgaard has received a Multnomah County summons to appear in
traffic court on May 23. Meanwhile Bryant denies he is just stirring up
"Citizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the
law as justification for breaking the law," he says.
Stensgaard declined comment through the cops' office of public information.