Rogue Valley NPO Allege Police Misconduct And Harassment- Intend Suing City Of Medford
MEDFORD, Ore. — Stabbin’ Wagon- a mobile harm reduction unit run on private donations and mutual aid, filed a tort claim notice on Saturday, the first step in a potential lawsuit against the city of Medford. They allege harassment and constitutional rights violations as well as other charges.
The mission of Stabbin’ Wagon is to nurture dignity, respect, and a data-driven approach, as they serve the most vulnerable members of the community. Their goal is to end stigma and encourage self-esteem and self-worth. Melissa Jones, executive director of Stabbin’ Wagon said that the continuous and targeted harassment by Medford police not only undermines their work but also instills fear in the people who they aim to help.
Operating a van that provides harm reduction supplies to drug users- including the overdose medicine naloxone, and clean syringes, Stabbin’ Wagon obtained Measure 110 funding for their work. The group has claimed that the city hired an analyst to illegally monitor their activity and also pushed their lobbyist to fight against the award of last summer’s $1.5 million grant from the Oregon Health Authority, according to the tort notice.
Stabbin’ Wagon employees were arrested by police in August for interfering with officers at a free HIV testing event. This follows an event from several years earlier when they were arrested for trespassing in a city park while assisting the homeless. The communications manager for the city of Medford, Kristina Wilson, indicated that their office disagrees with the characterization of events as described by the group.