A video released Tuesday by Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters depicts a controversial altercation between a fired sheriff's deputy and a retired deputy who was arrested near Gold Hill, then later released.
Jacob Franklin, 38, said he was fired April 7, 2009, because a week earlier he arrested Ron Oachs, a former sheriff's deputy and friend of his superior officers. Franklin was awarded more than $200,000 by a federal jury on Oct. 25.
The approximately 30-minute video shows Franklin pulling Oachs over as he leaves Interstate 5 at Exit 43 near Gold Hill. As the larger and older Oachs exits his white Dodge 4x4, Franklin can be heard shouting for Oachs to return to the vehicle. Oachs refuses and walks towards the rear of his truck. Franklin then orders Oachs to turn and face his car. When Oachs instead pulls a small packet of papers from the front of is bib overalls, Franklin grabs Oachs, and shoves, pushes and wrestles him to the ground.
A passing deputy, Linda Cooks, sees the scuffle and comes to assist Franklin.
The jury in Medford's U.S. District Court deliberated for about two hours before unanimously deciding to award Jacob Franklin $209,492 in economic damages.
Franklin also said his law enforcement career has been ruined because of false information on an internal affairs investigation.
"They absolutely destroyed my name," Franklin said after the verdict. "But today the jury concluded I was terminated because of who I arrested. Not because I arrested him."
Franklin said he had a short but exemplary record with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department until the day he stopped Oachs.
Franklin said Oachs, a retired 20-year veteran of the same department, was stopped at the I-5 off-ramp for endangering an emergency vehicle.
Franklin said he was ordered to release Oachs and remove all references to their fight, probable cause and anything that would be a problem for Oachs, Franklin said.
A Nov. 8 letter signed by Winters and sent to local media says Franklin was told to revise his report because Franklin's supervisor believed "it inaccurately described what is plainly evident on the video of the incident, so he required further revisions."
Winters, who declined comment when the story of the judgment first broke, also noted that the judge dismissed eight of Franklin's nine claims against his department.
To watch the full unedited dashcam video, click the link toward the top of the story on the right side.