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Custody Dispute Caught on Camera

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EUGENE, Ore. — People on social media are talking about a video that’s gone viral, since Sunday night.

It shows a Eugene police officer executing a court order at Monroe Park, and some are debating whether his actions were just.

Witnesses to the dispute say they don’t understand why the police officer used physical force on a 10-year-old boy. But Eugene police say it was within legal limits and the officer was trying to protect himself after he was bit.

Police say it was a tap on the forehead. witnesses say it was more than that.

“This is not a situation where you’ve got a big burly police officer that punches a 10-year-old in the face and knocks him to the ground. This is a situation where you’ve got an officer that’s under a tremendous amount of pressure from bystanders that’s now on the top of that he’s getting bit,” said Lt. Sam Kamkar, Eugene Police Spokesman.

“On the camera you can see it where he just backhands the boy and then says that it’s ok that he’s in the right, that he’s above the law,” said witness Rickey Johnston.

Eugene police say they got a report of a child custody issue at Monroe Park, sunday night. The father, 32-year-old Brian Wolfe showed police a court order which gave no parental or visiting rights to the mother, 28-year-old Stephanie Johnston. But the mom told the child to run, and police chased after him. Once officers caught up to the child, that’s when he bit the officer.

“What do you do when a 10-year old is biting you, you know? And as you can imagine bites are pretty dangerous,” Kamkar said.

But witnesses say he bit the officer because he didn’t want to go with his dad.

“He was yelling that he had beat him, that he hit him, that he doesn’t want to go with that horrible man,” Johnston said.

EPD says the boy was returned to his father and he said he wasn’t hurt by the officer.

34 comments

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  1. UnKnown says:

    To the witness Ricky Johnson The police were within there rights. They werent stealing the child they were returning the child to the legal parent. The mother had no legal right to the child. They were following a court order.

  2. Old fellow says:

    It sounds like a number of those in the crowd needed a slap in the head.

  3. Ron says:

    From what I saw on the video the guy gave him a little pop to the forehead. Big Deal!! Good for the Policeman. The kid needed it. Probably wouldn’t have been acting like that in the 1st place if he had been taught a little respect and had his butt swatted a few times earlier in his life.

    1. Dan says:

      This man speaks truth.

  4. candip says:

    BUT……if a PARENT were to behave in the same manner as the policeman , they would have their jolly little butts hauled off to jail for abuse!!!!

  5. goodjuju says:

    The kid does not want to go with his father. On the video she says she’s not his mother and that his dad is Patrick Kesey, not Brian Wolfe.

    1. prettyinportland says:

      Yes, she says this NOW and has trained child to say this. Child called Wolfe father as recently as November, when he last saw his child, at mother’s voluntary approval. Odd for someone who claims she threw him out and cast him from her reality YEARS ago…. Also, why collect child support and welfare payments in his name? Also odd. I don’t know who the biological father is, as I am not privvy to the mother’s sexual acts (though I am in the minority here, it appears), but the reality is this man has been given rights, based on legal standing and actions of all involved, despite what the mother claims on facebook.

  6. Anonymous says:

    While the officer might have reacted a bit strongly, that was not a hard hit and there is no way the child was injured. When you are trying to control a child who is attempting to run away and are being followed by an obnoxious crowd of people yelling obsenities, you’re going to react to being bit by protecting yourself and forcefully removing those teeth from your arm. If you watch the full, 18 minute video on YouTube, these officers were being verbally harassed by bystanders who were trying to intentionally antagonize them to escalate the situation. The full video clearly shows that while the officer may have made a mistake here, overall they did an EXCELLENT job of remaining calm and keeping the situation from escalating in front of an unruly audience.

  7. Grandma Gracie says:

    To witness Rickey Johnston, kudos!! At least you listened to what the child had to say, my question is why didn’t the police investigate the allegations made by the little boy, instead of just returning him to his father?? If that was my child being hit by any adult, there would be one hell of a law suite, even parents are not supposed to use physical disipline, so why is it ok for the police??

  8. milt says:

    Oh for rice cakes people, it is Eugene, home of the homeless and hippies, where the police can do nothing right.

  9. Lara says:

    I’m curious if the shoe were on the other foot, and that had been a parent smacking that boy in front of an officer, what would the end result have been?

  10. Randy Prince says:

    The policeman’s action isn’t an obvious outrage like some would like to make it out to be.

    But KEZI’s account of this story is frightening and shows the newswriter to be a knee-jerk defender of people in uniform. “Tap”? What does that look like? What I see looks like a slap, a light slap, not a “tap”. And it does seems like that was after the kid bit the officer, but no I can’t really see it for sure as the newswriter tells me.

    The choice of words in this story seem to be the result of a desire to defend the police–who used the word “tap”–not because they describe things in a neutral way that sticks to what is known.

    Perhaps there is some balance in the interviews chosen to show. But I won’t believe anything KEZI tells me about local police actions after seeing this report and the biased language. Broken any stories about police misconduct that needs correction lately? Or is that someone else’s job?

  11. Shannon says:

    I do not see that the officer backhanded the child. It looks like he popped him in the forehead but I did not see where the child was biting. Might have been the angle of the video. I do think this whole situation could have been handled differently on the officers side as well as the surrounding adults egging the child on yelling at the officer who was carrying out a court order. The child though 10 years old should have to be mandated into therapy and child welfare should be notified of the child’s disclosure to the officer. If this hasn’t been done then it is neglect on the part of the officer. If child welfare deems the child’s accusations false then all is well if the officer didn’t report to the local agency and harm comes to the child he should be held personally liable.

  12. Meg says:

    The “father” was not the child’s biological father; he was a former boyfriend to the mother and he was kicked out of the home because they found him downloading child porn. So, what does that psycho do? He goes to court to obtain custody of the child, gives them an old mailing address for the mom to appear in court, and when she doesn’t get it — the cops come to a park to collect the child. How in God’s name is this justice? And to top it off, the cop smacks the kid who bites him for kidnapping him?

    1. prettyinportland says:

      Meg, you are strongly misinformed. He is the ex-husband (witha ceremony if not paperwork, identified by mother as exhusband previously). Mother has publicly acknowledged him as FATHER as recently as last year, and he has both paid child support AND had unsupervised visitation with child, at mother’s request/ approval. Mother was SERVED paperwork in a public place (public record), and responded by fleeing (as she has several times in the past). This is NOT about an old address, nor is it about vengeance. The “child” was fleeing police and responding violently, at the urging of his “adults”. This was an angry and threatening mob scene, I am surprised there was not more violence than there was.

    2. Anonymous says:

      You are terribly misinformed about this situation. Perhaps you are only hearing the mother’s side from her Facebook rants? The problem is that this is a 10 year old kid, who is illiterate, who hasn’t been to school, and has been living in school bus and dumpster diving for food. His father was finally able to find the mother and child, and able to serve the mother with the finalized custody agreement. She has been living on the run for months, deliberately avoiding any contact so that she could not be served with legal papers.
      Her ex-husband has been fighting for months to find her, and she has been avoiding court appearances (that she knew about, via texts and Facebook, if not paperwork) and fleeing around the country with her son. This was not kidnapping, this was justice.

  13. ron says:

    shame cop had to slap the kid..The cop is out of line but the EPD will sweep this and all the taser crap under the rug. I have no respect for EPD

  14. Stephanie Johnston says:

    Brian Wolfe IS NOT GENETICALLY RELATED TO ZION

    Hello… this is Stephanie Johnston. I am Zion Wolf’s biological mother. Let me paint a simple picture; I have limited access to communication and I am intentionally low-tech seasonally. The same challenges that I am presented with include inconsistent mailing addresses. The claim is that I was sent paper work and due to LACK OF RESPONSE, there was a ruling in favor of Brian Wolfe. This ruling was NOT in response to an investigation, to my understanding. There is no greater child welfare concern, s was confirmed to me by the attending officers (also recorded). This is a reason why no child welfare officer interfaced or investigated myself or any of my associated tribe and friends. There is no open investigations concerning my other children. I HAVE NOT COMMITTED, NOR AM I BEING SUSPECTED OF ANY CRIME. The police were there (hired) to enforce a court order. I was hand cuffed and ridiculed, even though I was not a threat nor was I being arrested for a crime. I was not engaged with any process or mediation, or an introduction. I was not shown paperwork until cuffs were released. My experience is that a confusing environment and an unconventional continuum triggered the officers to act in a way that reflects excessive force. Furthermore, I insisted on DHS and the sheriff to attend the interaction on PROTECTIVE BEHALF of our rights in process and in hopes of protecting my CHILD from a dangerous person.

    Brian Wolfe showed up to Monroe park backed by police. They asked where Zion Wolf was, to which I responded that I have a prime directive to keep my child safe and that whereas I have full intention of partiipating with officers, I would not do anything to bring my child into contact with Brian. I remained peaceful and articulate, it was all recorded. My two other young children cried and nursed me while I sat on the ground, surrounded and hovered, cuffed. When Zion approached, myself and everyone else urged him to run. He was pursued and excessive force was used and Zion was redirected on by an adult that was supposed to be a figure in the community to keep him SAFE.

    Brian Wolfe is not allowed in my reality due to an addiction to violent rape and child porn. He has bad boundaries and was using his job at a cigarette store to provide cigarettes to very young boys, including my siblings, to bait them. He created a secret grooming towards my little sister, age 9 at the time, and when I found the evidence I HUMANELY removed him from my friendship circle.

    we were in Eugene… we had arrived only the night before, on return from the Rainbow Gathering in Montana. We had (have) a rental waiting for us there, in Eugene…. however, our intentions were to head the next day down south to the teepee village in Ashland. The whole reason we were in Eugene was so Zion Wolf could see and spend time with Billie New Cherry and Charlie’s girlie). He was at their house when officers arrived. Of course Charlie did not direct him towards police. The footage is all clear, even the part where the officer threatens family with the mace….’

    What were we doing that day in the park…? We were feeding our friends and gifting out fresh socks, connecting and sharing hearts and minds with our community before heading out to the forest again to explore nomadic living with an intentional community in Ashland. I am a really, really, REALLY awesome momma that has no gaps in providing for my children. My son, Zion, is the kiddo that will want to come home during a sleep over…. we attachment parent, and my confident and amazing kid was ripped from me, harmed by adults that are supposed to protect and serve his safety, and is now hidden from friends and support and his MOTHER. The paperwork states that I have no visitation or contact allowances. As if I am some criminal or abusive villain…..

    The REASON this is happening has nothing to do with a real life child named Zion. This has to do with adults trying to hurt and control ME, the mom, and using MY CHILDREN as leverage and manipulatives. My child is suffering. He was kidnapped by a non-blood related person that is essentially a stranger to my child.

    1. Debbie says:

      You are misinforming the public! Please, explain why Multnomah County Courthouse has on file the date, time and place you were served the custody request, weeks PRIOR to the August 4, 2013 event?? Please, explain why you chose to ignore ALL previous public postings and the served request, and failed to appear in court, knowing the legal ramifications of your actions? Please, explain why your 10 year old son is reading, writing and performing math skills at a FIRST grade level but displays all the skills of an experienced panhandler? Why is he suffering from multiple, urgent dental needs but has dental insurance. Please, explain why your 10 year old was allowed and encouraged to smoke marijuana while in your care?? PLEASE, please explain why you have accepted YEARS of child support payments, garnished from Brian Wolfe’s wages, if he is not the father of Zion? You have a lot of explaining to do and I am confident the State of Oregon will be hanging onto your every word!

    2. prettyinportland says:

      You were handing out fresh socks? Why did your son not have any when apprehended by police then? Or shoes? Or clean clothes? Brian is not his father? Why did he previously call him dad? You have had plenty of access to technology to beg for money, post pictures of your “home”, and commit libel and character assault, as well as to encourage people to illegally contact your child….

    3. CuriousMamaWantsTheBest says:

      –“I have limited access to communication and I am intentionally low-tech seasonally.”–
      “low-tech seasonally” = relatively unsophisticated technology, used periodically
      Umm, still not sure what this is supposed to mean exactly…

      –“My experience is that a confusing environment and an unconventional continuum triggered the officers to act in a way that reflects excessive force.”–
      “unconventional continuum” = not bound by or conforming to convention, rule, or precedent, and part of a continuous series or whole, no part of which is perceptibly different from the adjacent parts
      YOUR experience was confusing… okay, that I get. Not bound by convention and no different from what was before and after… that is also confusing, this time for me! Back to the beginning, this time paraphrasing to make it easier to read: YOUR experience triggered the officers to act in a way that reflects excessive force. Umm, so you escalated the issue here?

      –“I have a prime directive to keep my child safe”–
      While I agree with the sentiment… the wording sounds like something from sci-fi or a cult…

      –“Brian Wolfe is not allowed in my reality”–
      Umm, so he is not allowed to exists in this world? You do know that you can’t actually will people out of existence, right? I get that you don’t want this man in your life… but honestly, you should have thought about that BEFORE having a child with him. As to the claim that he isn’t the father, then why did you allow him to participate, even just monetarily, in your son’s life? And that brings me to my next item(s)…

      (speaking of the father) –“an addiction to violent rape and child porn”–, –“when I found the evidence I HUMANELY removed him from my friendship circle”–
      “HUMANELY ” = characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy
      So, this is the guy whom you are willing to allow to give you money to help raise your child and have listed as the default person responsible for him if anything happens to you… If you were not allowing him in your “reality”, then why keep on taking his money? If he wasn’t the father, and was as awful as you say, why not cut ties completely? Oh, and how does one HUMANELY remove somebody from their life?

      –“The REASON this is happening has nothing to do with a real life child named Zion. This has to do with adults trying to hurt and control ME, the mom, and using MY CHILDREN as leverage and manipulatives.–”
      These sentences completely undermines your argument about being a good mother. Instead of keeping the focus on the safety/well-being of your son, you play a “woe-is-me”, “everybody-is-out-to-get-me” card. You appear to be looking for sympathy, and I suspect it’s because, deep down, you know that you don’t have what it takes to legally get your son back. Well, I guess I am sorry for you. I wish you well. I also hope that Zion prospers and is able to make up for lost time. I look forward to seeing his name in graduation announcements, to reading about some achievement he accomplished, or even just seeing his name in the wedding announcements. I wish you both the best… even if that means that you have to part ways for the present. Good luck and much peace…

    4. Concern for the child says:

      How is it that you can get child support payments from this guy if he isnt the father? Cause to get that he would have to be!!! And another thing if you are so damn concerned about this man mistreating your son why is it you ran with him instead of taking it to DHS and make a report to your child’s safety instead you ran!! Doesn’t make it look good for you. As to where you go from here … You need to take it back to court and give your concerns to the judge and as well as DHS so that you have a case. For your childs sake I would hope you take the legal steps now instead of running and think that it will be ok. THE ADULTS NEED TO BE ADULTS AND NOT USE THE CHILD AS THE GO BETWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!

    5. 50cal says:

      LOL yeah let me know how that works out for you. Oh by the way, didn’t you say you guys were in Eugene looking for dental care for your “husband?” That’s what you told the photographer in Washington right? I wonder what else in your “low-tech” yet posted online rant is not actually true? Hmmmm.

    6. Hippie Confusion says:

      Rarely does one witness a person tying herself in knots as effectively as you have done here. You’d be well advised to get legal counsel and just shut up in public, to include your Facebook page. Any hope you have of regaining custody of your child will hinge on you losing the attitude of inept, adolescent defiance and learning to play the game, however much you may hate it. Your best shot will be to insist on a paternity test – if indeed you aren’t lying about your supposed belief that Brian is not Zion’s father. One way or the other you’ve been lying, either on the birth certificate or here in public. Your fanciful explanation elsewhere of why you would have declared him to be the father when he wasn’t sure won’t carry any weight with the court or the child welfare people or social services, but if it’s true that Zion is not his child, you stand a better chance of regaining custody than if you’re making that up now, out of convenience, along with allegations of pedophilia and the rest. Deliberately prevaricating about any of that stuff would make you a pretty awful character. Either way you’ve been lying about something, so people are going to take a dim view of your credibility going forward. You’ll have to prove whatever you say.

      As you’ve found out, you may be able to remove people from “your reality” in your imagination, but they are not gone from the world and they still have rights, because, sorry to inform you, they actually exist. Had you responded to the papers served on you in May, the outcome would surely have been different, if not entirely in your favor. Instead, you decided to ignore them, and bolted. Even if you chose not to read the court papers, no one cares about that. It’s your problem. The cops were not the bad guys here. Neither was the court. Reality exists whether you like it or not.

      The good news for you, if you’re truly concerned about it, is that you can put your mind at rest on the matter of abuse. All kinds of eyes are on Brian now, so if your allegations about him are true, he won’t dare to do anything. If they’re not, you’re in a whole different world of trouble, because in addition to whatever other lies you’ve told, you’ve libelled someone in public and made accusations that would better have been levelled privately, with the agencies whose job it is to look into such things. You’re attempting to win this in the court of public opinion, which is not how these things work. And even there, you’re losing badly, because people here don’t believe your stories, nor do most have a lot of sympathy with your “alternative” child-rearing theories when the reality involves dumpster-diving and medical neglect. Only on your Facebook page do we see some loyal friends and dimwitted bystanders who accept everything you say at face value.

      Despite all this, you have one thing going for you: quite unaccountably, Brian still seems willing to talk to you. You’ve made massive, horrifying accusations about him, and yet he’s still your friend on Facebook and willing to talk to you. I doubt you’re a thoroughly bad person, because otherwise he’d have gone no-contact. You’re badly educated, but obviously not entirely stupid. You really ought to shut up with the hippie rants, get some solid legal advice, and work towards some kind of mediated settlement. As it is you’re just mindlessly digging yourself a hole with every new public statement.

      Frankly I don’t know why I care enough about you to give you well-meant advice, but somehow I do. Your lifestyle is your business, and if nomadding around in a bus is your idea of “living the dream”, that’s fine. You still have to work with baby daddies and society at large when questions of child welfare arise. Deal with it, get help and counsel, and do what’s best for Zion.

      Good wishes to everyone, especially the child.

  15. Johnny Cash says:

    You can clearly see the boy being HIT by the cop, the crowed of people “yelling obscenities” listen a bit closely and you can hear a KID another CHILD screaming YOUR rights as a human being. I don’t care what a child has done, you never hit a child. If that was the mother or “father” hitting the child, then they would of been on their marry way to jail. This cop needs to be discharged, without pay and have his children taken away. He’s the one who seems to be a risk of child abuse if you ask me.

    I also know this child and his mother from a few years back. This child is incredibly intelligent. We had conversations like any adult would. This mother is not a danger to her children and to my understandings of what really is happening that the media will never discus is that this man should not have gotten given rights without this mother being served with papers first because she is not a danger to this child. Oregon will not get away with this and there are a lot of people who are gonna make sure of this.

    1. prettyinportland says:

      You are misinformed. Mother was absolutely served papers, in May. It is public record.

  16. Chris says:

    If it was the parent hit the child they would have been taken to jail. The parents should charge the officer with assulting a minor and he should be taken to jail

    1. 50cal says:

      ORS 161.205
      Use of physical force generally
      The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

      (1)(a) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person.

      It’s called reading. Try it.

  17. Michael Gilbert says:

    You cop haters out there sure like to blow things out of proportion when you get the chance to chastise a police officer. You’re all wet on this one. This officer acted appropriately. A bite is no small matter and can result in life threatening infection. That little bump on the forehead was minor and justified. This city hates it’s cops. It’s times like this I wish I had chosen to police a different, more appreciative community than Eugene. EPD is an outstanding agency, with outstanding officers. When an officer is found to be guilty of crimes, he/she is dealt with appropriately. I spent a 25 year career with EPD, and endured the abuse and false accusations from many citizens here. I have been witness to many very public lies told about officers by very prominent activists in this community. Shame on you Eugene for not supporting those who daily put their lives and reputations on the line for you.

    Michael Gilbert Sgt. EPD (RETIRED)

    1. CuriousMamaWantsTheBest says:

      Sgt. Gilbert,

      It might be a little late, but please take my thanks for putting your life at risk to help keep our community safe. Not all cops are bad, just like not all people are bad. However, bad apples can be found in any group. Your work and the work of your colleagues appreciated. Thank you very much.

      Sincerely,
      A Eugene Mother

    2. vicki says:

      Sgt. Gilbert and all EPD~

      I also would like to offer my thanks for being there and protecting our community.
      I appreciate all your hard work and dedication to your careers.
      I thank you for being there day in and day out in what seems to me to be an often thankless job.
      I was impressed with the patience shown by the officers in this situation where a vocal minority was busy spewing hate and trying to escalate an already difficult situation.

      Another Eugene Mother

  18. Sean says:

    All you whining liberal people disgust me. Clearly the officer did nothing wrong…he barely touched that kid. If anyone did anything wrong, it’s was crowd consisting of trailer trash trying to surround and intimidate the officers on scene. I commend the officers for a job well done and staying calm. As for the mother and her band of turds that she surrounds herself with, all I can say is you are lucky that this didn’t occur in my neck of the woods because most of you would have been carted off to jail, especially that little brat spewing crap about the Mexican mafia. Cousin It wearing the tie-die would have been face planted on the concrete for even getting within striking distance in a situation like this, let alone walking into a cop in a clear attempt to intimidate the officer. And just to clear something up, in my neck of the woods, if a mother or father physically disciplines their child, we call it parenting. You hippies in Oregon should try it sometime!

  19. erika says:

    A tap on the forehead doesn’t throw the kids head backwards like that and the police should be trained to deal with children in crisis a hell of lot more responsibly than that!!! That child, right or wrong, was being taken away from his parent and home and put in a home where he felt unsafe, wether or not he would truly be unsafe and was acting in fear for his situation. All the control was being taken away from that child and nobody knew or seemed to care wether the allegations were true or not. Judges do make mistakes in custody hearings everyday and kids pay for those mistakes so don’t be so quick to assume one wasn’t made in this case. It’s possible too, that neither of the parents were fit parents, nobody knows but, you can be certain that child was traumatized, which isn’t the same as a badly behaved child and that was no way for an officer of the law to handle the situation!!!!

  20. Dex says:

    For what it’s worth, I am a close friend of her family and the mother of the child that is shown in the video is a really eccentric and wonderful human being.
    ..Just not a good mother in the slightest.
    I do wish them the best but honestly until she is finished recreationally using hard drugs and is able to feed her kids consistentially; maybe this change in custody could be for the best.

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