Suspect Arrested on Saturday After Assaulting a Police Officer in Downtown Portland

On Saturday March 21, 2015, at 3:58 p.m., Central Precinct officers contacted a subject after previously responding to reports of disturbances at O’Bryant Square, located at Southwest Park Avenue and Washington Street.

The subject, later identified as 22-year-old JJ Lee Purcell, appeared to have been in a fight and was identified to the officer by a witness as the “main aggressor” at the O’Bryant Square disturbances.

Officers determined that Purcell was going to be arrested in connection with the earlier disturbances. An officer began to take Purcell into custody when Purcell became physically aggressive with the officer, hitting the officer in the face once with a towel then taking a second swing at the officer, causing an abrasion to the officer’s head.

Purcell continued to struggle with the officer and an arriving second officer until he was taken into custody. Purcell continued to kick and spit at the officers, who placed a “spit hood” over Purcell’s head to keep him from spitting blood at the officers. Once inside the police car, Purcell thrashed about, banging his head on the barrier causing himself facial injuries.

Purcell was transported away from the scene by police, due to a growing and hostile crowd of Purcell’s associates. Once away from the scene, Purcell was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment to non-life-threatening injuries. Purcell remained uncooperative and combative with medical staff but was treated and released later in the evening.

Officers spoke with a 21-year-old homeless man who reported that Purcell had assaulted him multiple times that day and he was afraid to be on the streets with Purcell out of custody. Purcell is also homeless.

The officer suffered minor injuries, not requiring immediate medical attention.

Purcell was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Resist Arrest, Assault in the Fourth Degree, and Harassment (two counts).