Ex-Forest Grove officer Steven Teets guilty on one of two counts
Steven Teets was ruled guilty of criminal mischief but not disorderly conduct Thursday, July 21, in Washington County Circuit Court.
Judge Gary Williams sentenced the former Forest Grove Police Department officer to two years of probation and 80 hours of community service.
To start the trial Wednesday, July 20, Teets' attorney, Derek Ashton of Portland-based firm Sussman and Shank, waived Teets' right to a jury trial.
Ashton said following the trial Teets is unsure if he will file an appeal over the guilty verdict.
The charges against Teets stem from the early hours of Oct. 31, 2020, when according to witnesses, an intoxicated Teets stormed up to the Forest Grove residence of Mirella Castaneda and her family, setting off car alarms and pounding on a garage and front door.
The family called 9-1-1. An arriving officer initially gave Teets a ride home rather than detaining him, but he was arrested later that day.
Castaneda said the house displayed a "Black Lives Matter" flag above the garage door, which Teets struck with his hands.
Williams ordered Teets to be evaluated for alcohol and anger management issues to determine if further counseling is needed.
Castaneda was called as the first witness in the trial, and the court listened to her 9-1-1 call. She described how her husband grabbed a baseball bat, as Teets pounded on the door, and lied about having a gun to try to scare him away. Former Forest Grove police officers Brad Schuetz and Amber Daniels, who responded to the scene appeared as witnesses Wednesday. Washington County Sheriff's Office deputy Anel Ceric, who later that morning responded to the residence, also appeared as a witness.
Last week, Schuetz was found not guilty in his own bench trial for official misconduct. Schuetz was fired from the Forest Grove Police Department and criminally charged for giving Teets a ride home that night, rather than booking him into jail.
Schuetz's defense last week successfully argued that Schuetz hadn't been acting out of favoritism toward Teets and had not been given clear instructions by his superior officer on how to handle the incident.
Teets was fired from the Forest Grove Police Department late last year after spending more than a year on administrative leave as a result of the Oct. 31, 2020, altercation.
Weeks prior to that altercation, Teets used a Taser on an uncooperative suspect who later died at the hospital, according to records obtained by Pamplin Media Group. An official review cleared Teets and other officers of any wrongdoing in connection with that fatal encounter.
Williams officially took senior status — meaning he no longer regularly hears cases — in 2017 after retiring from the Crook County Circuit Court.
The defense successfully moved to disqualify two Washington County Circuit Court judges from presiding over the case, prompting Williams to be appointed.
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