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Naked Ride incident goes to court Wednesday

Posted by on December 11th, 2006 at 10:19 am

Reverend Phil Sano

[Reverend Phil Sano]

This Wednesday, a colorful and well-known character in Portland’s bike scene, will find himself in court facing 2.5 years in jail.

Reverend Phil Sano is on trial for an incident that happened during the World Naked Bike Ride on June 10, 2006.

Based on eyewitness statements, and reports published in the Portland Tribune and the Oregonian, here’s a brief summary of what transpired.

As the large, 500+ person ride entered W Burnside from NW Third, Phil attempted to safely merge the group onto the roadway by stepping in front of oncoming motor vehicle traffic (this is sometimes called “corking”).

Then, according to reporter Boaz Herzog in the Oregonian on June 29, 2006,

“At some point, a gray Jeep Liberty came toward him from Burnside at a rate of…a few miles per hour. Sano put his hands up and got off his bike. But the Jeep continued, knocking over his bike, according to the police report.”

[Photo from the incident. Rev. Phil (bald head) is behind Officer Stensgaard (in red) while several witnesses look on.]

Phil (and several eyewitnesses) claims he was trying to explain the situation to Jeep driver Amanda Truscott but she was “very belligerent and screaming hysterically.” Phil says her conduct and actions made it clear to him that “she was drunk and maybe on some other drugs.”

Phil goes on to say that,

“There is no question in my mind that if someone had not stopped her she would have driven right into the pack of bikers, endangering their safety. I had to keep her from harming my friends. That was my duty. I would be ashamed if she had hurt someone.”

The situation escalated when Truscott commanded her passenger, off-duty cop Chad Stensgaard, to leave the Jeep and confront Phil. Stensgaard approached Phil and an altercation ensued. The Police arrived a few minutes later and immediately handcuffed Phil.

Phil is being charged with four misdemeanors: Criminal Mischief, indecent Exposure, Disorderly Conduct and Open Alcoholic Container. If convicted on all four charges he could face 2.5 years in jail.

Phil’s trial is this Wednesday (12/13) at the Multnomah County Courthouse (1021 SW 4th Ave.), room #406. Support from the bicycle community is encouraged and there’s a benefit party planned after the trial.

[Flyer for Rev Phil’s post-trial benefit party.]

It seems to me that this will be yet another case of “he said/she said.” The judge will have to decide who to believe; an off-duty cop wearing a suit and flanked by other members of the Portland Police Bureau, or a cyclist who was naked, had a can of Hamm’s beer on his bike, and stepped into the path of motor vehicle traffic.

Given the initial reports it seems like the Police officers gave the benefit of the doubt to the motorist and immediately placed the blame on Phil. Even though eyewitness statements say Truscott attempted to run Phil over and that the off-duty cop was the aggressor in the altercation, it was Phil who was handcuffed and arrested on the scene.

When Phil tried to tell his side of the story, Detective Paul Dolbey was quoted in the Oregonian on June 29th as saying, “It’s not uncommon for people to make allegations when they’re arrested.”

According to one eyewitness, the driver and passenger of the Jeep were not given field sobriety tests, were never questioned, and drove off just minutes after the incident.

Both sides will argue that the other was drunk and/or drugged up at the time of the incident and will hope to discredit each other’s character and testimony by delving into their less-than squeaky-clean backgrounds.

Either way, it won’t be pretty…I just hope it’s fair.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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21 speedkalkorBikePortland.org » Blog Archive » Naked Ride Trial postponedSKiDmarkDabby Recent comment authors
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josh m
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josh m

it’s kind of screwed up, since I was at the dance party corking east bound traffic so people could ride out… a few minutes later a PPD cruiser showed up going west and started blocking west bound traffic so riders could get out.

Jon
Guest
Jon

It is idiots like this that give all cyclist a bad name: riding a bike with an open container of alcohol and blocking a public street. How can we ask motorists to share the road if we can’t ourselves!
If a motorist drove with an open container I would hope that they would see jail time. Since fair is fair, I hope this fellow cyclist sees some jail time.
-Jon

josh m
Guest
josh m

Jon,
Man, learn facts before making accusations, thus making you look like a total and utter jackass.
The so called “open container” was a can from the previous night, it had no alcohol left in it…
I see motorists blocking traffic all the time, but shit doesn’t happen to them.

Try to read all information, just don’t skim and then post your ignorant rant.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

josh,

we should respect Jon’s opinion. I don’t think calling him ignorant for not reading all the stories I linked to is fair.

I didn’t make it clear in my story if the can had beer in it or not.

Apparently there was a small amount of beer in the can and Phil contends it was from the previous night.

Jon
Guest
Jon

I’m sure all the drunk drivers that get pulled over with a open container say the same thing: “It was from yesterday, last night, last week, etc.” That is why we have an open container law – so you can’t make an excuse.
-Jon

Carl
Guest
Carl

Let’s not allow this to boil down to discussion of the backwash in the bottom of a can of Hamms.

This motorist, who many suspect was drunk , used her truck as a weapon, intentionally hitting Phil and his bike with it. That fact is not contested. I don’t care if Phil was drinking Drano and had needles sticking out of his arm. Blocking a public street (crammed, by the way, with over 500 naked bicyclists), might be annoying, but it certainly doesn’t justify such a violent and potentially deadly act.

Let’s get our priorities straight, here.

-A fellow bare-ass corker.

shawn
Guest

On the smaller-detail side of things: the can was empty (as any person in non-courtroom, day-to-day life would define it). The “small amount” in it was the unavoidable drop or two left over after drinking. Phil will have a witness testifying that the beer was drank the night before.

On the big-picture side of things: sure, the beer can may have looked bad, but that’s no excuse. What the driver did was absolutely unsafe and unnecessarily threatening. Witnesses also claim that, before and during Phil’s arrest, the driver was quite belligerent. It was irresponsible of the police, who in theory are working towards the safety and well-being of the public, to refrain from giving her a field sobriety test and allow her to continue on her way.

ben
Guest
ben

ridiculous.

there were so many cops out that night smiling and waving to us….helping cork traffic…etc…

why would they decide to lay all these charges on phil, yet ignore the other 499 people that could justify charging?

Indecent Exposure, Disorderly Conduct and Open Alcoholic Container?? puh-leeeease…the police were cheering us on.

chances are it’s because an off duty cop was pissed off…wanted to take charge and “lay down the law”….and when his fellow officers show up, do you really think they’re gonna listen to both parties without bias? of course not.

innocent till proven guilty?
yeah right…

mykle
Guest
mykle

Dear friends:

This case has not yet gone to trial. We are arguing about facts that have not yet been fully established. None of us are as well-informed as we will be after the trial.

It will be open season for back-seat jurying afterwards, but right now it’s potentially harmful to Phil’s case to spread rumors about what he might or might not have been drinking or saying or whatever.

If you have facts, i hope you have gotten in touch with Phil’s legal team by now. otherwise, come down to the courthouse and learn what really happened, and then make your own judgement.

-mykle-

Carl
Guest
Carl

Good call, Mykle. My bad. You’ve got a lot of people behind you, Phil. I hope at least a few of them can make it to the trial (and that they all choose to wear clothes).

Brad
Guest
Brad

Facts of the case aside, the vast majority of cyclists ride for exercise or transportation purposes. Naked rides, Critical Mass, Zoobomers, etc. are expressions of P.O.V., advocacy, and politics that do not necessarily represent the bike community as a whole. My personal issue is that incidents like this paint a negative image of all cyclists for motorists, cops, and judges.

Now before anyone jumps me for being a tool of The Man or not being “bikey” enough, why can’t the more impassioned “activists” think of more appropriate ways of promoting cycling and cyclists rights to the masses? Stuff like this creates the image that all riders are scofflaws, anarchists, drunks, malcontents, et al. I never seem to see “Naked Mothers Against Drunk Driving” trying to hammer home safety issues or “Critical Traffic Clogging Masses in Costumes for Universal Healthcare” pushing for public health improvements. Why? Because they take their causes seriously and message appropriately thus engendering public and political support.

I want safer shared streets, less car traffic, cleaner air, and healthier people. I think some cycling advocacy events only want attention for attention’s sake. (As a side question – did this ride have city permits? So the PPB could do traffic control instead of amateurs like Rev. Phil?) I would hate to see the serious efforts of BTA and others trivialized because some feel that “wacky and tacky” is ultimately more fun. Sadly, it is also intellectually shallow and fails to convince folks that bikes are a real solution. It just reinforces the notion that bikes are for fringe dwellers and “respectable” folk utilize mankind’s greatest freedom machine: The Car.

no one in particular
Guest
no one in particular

I don’t think the World Naked Bike Ride is part of any advocacy campaign. Do you also think Santacon was formed to spread some sort of pro-Santa message?

Sometimes people just do things for fun. Things like World Naked Bike Ride are a big part of why people like living in this city. Ask anyone who was at the ride for the ratio of streetside supporters vs. detractors. The ratio was, um, high. 20:1, maybe more, I’d bet.

So instead of claiming you’re not “bikey” enough, I charge you with not being “fun” enough. OOOH, DISS.

adam
Guest
adam

I would be curious to know how much money the city of portland has spent trying to imprision rev phil.

of course, no one knows. that is not what I find surprising. what i find confusing is that few really seem to care.

happy holidays – back to lurking…

Elly
Guest
Elly

My impression of naked rides is that they are more than just an excellent publicity stunt, and good clean fun — they can also be construed as acts of political speech, vividly asserting bicyclists’ disproportionate vulnerability on the roads.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Silly cyclists!

Quirky, goofy things should only be done by licensed professionals. And then while you are there to reverently observe, you can buy a “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker.

Imagine! Doing something that isn’t specifically out to make a profit.

And to think that you had the audacity to do it without a permit or corporate sponsorship.

For shame!

Cheesus Christ
Guest
Cheesus Christ

Incidents like this, and the continued, useless debacle I refer to as “Critical Ass”, do nothing more than put all cyclists in a bad light in the eyes of many, including and not limited to:
The city of Portland. And the majority of it’s citizens.
The Police.
The federal Gov.
Messengers, who are truly the ones most affected by other cyclists bad chioces.
And others.
Blocking traffic, stopping a car with your naked body, wearing a face covering, and then being pissed cause you are called a bicycle terrorist, even though that is basically what you are going for in the first place.
These are only a few of the examples of things done, that devalue all the good of cycling.
“Critical Ass” is the biggest mistake cyclists make when jumping on the bandwagon.
Yes, I said, jumping on the bandwagon.
For that is exactly what it is.
The majority of riders have no idea why they are even there, except to be seen and cool.
I helped lead the 2005 “World Naked Bike ride”, as Cory, the leader, was slow on a tall bike.
We rode around, 172 riders strong.
We had no incidences with the police.
We had no incidences with traffic.
We had no alternative motives.
But we did have fun.
At the cost of:
Nothing. To anyone.
This is how it should be.

Cheesus Christ
Guest
Cheesus Christ

On another note,
I will be first in line to bring money down and put it on Phil’s books in the jail, when he is locked up, so he can buy candy bars and cigarettes……
Oh, I meant if he is locked up.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

We should all support Phil in this case not just because the charges are clearly overkill, but because of all the great things he does for Portland in general. Phil didn’t hurt anyone, nor did he try to hurt anyone, hopefully the judge will see that. The case isn’t about whether or not the world naked bike ride is a good idea, it is about if someone should spend 2.5 years in jail because they violated a traffic law causing a single car traffic jam. I won’t even bother to begin listing the cases I know of where people have been killed and the sentences of those responsible have been shorter. Clearly this case wouldn’t even exist if the passenger wasn’t a cowboy cop.

bjorn

Nuke
Guest
Nuke

Brad,

The bike community is just that. A community. If we all wanted to do exactly what you did, it wouldn’t be much of a community. We all do different things, and Rev Phil is just as big a part of the community as you and as me.
If you don’t understand people getting naked to make a serious political statement then you haven’t been paying attention. Ever head of Lady Godiva, or these people?

http://www.sfheart.com/naked_for_peace.html

Macaroni (and cheese)
Guest
Macaroni (and cheese)

#1 Sounds like the biotch could be a member of DAMM – Drunks Against Mad Mothers. SHE was the problem – you don’t freak out and hit someone or their bike because they’re in your way. Chreesus Chist! Sounds like the bicyclists were just having harmless FUN to me.

Crispy Critter said:

“Incidents like this, and the continued, useless debacle I refer to as “Critical Ass”, do nothing more than put all cyclists in a bad light in the eyes of many, including and not limited to:
The city of Portland. And the majority of it’s citizens.”

Who gives a rip what ANYONE thinks of us? If one doesn’t ride a bike for transportation – FEITCTAJ. ha ha ha hah ah ah ahah hah ah aha hhahahahah

bobby
Guest
bobby

Please keep in mind that even if convicted of all charges, there is no way Phil would ever see jail time (unless he’s already got an extensive record, which I doubt). This is Multnomah County. The “2.5 years” bantered about is probably the maximum allowed by state law based on the severity of the charges, not a minimum required. We don’t even put serious criminals in jail in our county. I predict a little probation and maybe community service, tops.

josh m
Guest
josh m

too bad phil has already put in years of community service…

can collector
Guest
can collector

maybe phil was bringing that can to the recycling center, for a nickel, to donate to charity.

nerf
Guest
nerf

ya know i remember watching this whole thing and remember phil stopping the car and hiting the hood when they honked at him. anyone stopping a car in the middle of a turn would be understandibly pissed…
too pad phil is getting more attention over this,
COMING SOON a new rev phil documentory, just wait

Cheesus Christ
Guest
Cheesus Christ

Yes, I agree Phil will see no jail time. Possibly convicted on two counts, whether legitamite or not, as I think they will try to make a example out of him.
Good luck Phil.
really.

Cheesus Christ
Guest
Cheesus Christ

Mac and sleaze,
Remember back, in my comment up the page, that one time when I mentioned something about jumping on a, what was that?
A bandwagon? Oh yeah, that was it.
A foolish statement like “Who gives a rip what ANYONE thinks of us? If one doesn’t ride a bike for transportation – FEITCTAJ. ha ha ha hah ah ah ahah hah ah aha hhahahahah”
This coming from someone who seems to ride critical mass, and seems to not only have jumped on the band wagon, but fallen off the other side, and hit his head, hard.
For, riding Critical Mass is all about “giving a rip what other people think”, albeit misdirected, and detremental.
Maybe the next friday you ride Critical Ass, when your friend gives you a hand getting back on the band wagon (remember the hurt head incident that one time?), you could also have them explain to you why you are there.

BLDZR
Guest

I’m quite aware that phil was trying to protect the safety of other participants in this hippie love-in freedom display, but the fact remains that the naked ride can’t possibly do anything to persuade the general populace that the “bike community” is anything but a bunch of nut jobs. the cops, and likely the judge, aren’t going to have any sympathy for people trying to make a point by being a freakshow. That’s just not something they understand, and not something they’re going to side with.

I sincerely hope that phil doesn’t go to jail for something so BS, but if you’re going to participate in something that attempts to attract so much attention, you have to be prepared for the attention you’re going to attract.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

BLDZR,

I think the politics of this ride should be left to a separate discussion.

I don’t care what Phil was doing, no one has the right to use their vehicle to inflict or threaten harm on another road user.

And if the driver and/or passenger were not adequately questioned and scrutinized about their actions I think the police have some explaining to do.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

If you’d like to hear Phil’s side of the story in an interview we did yesterday go to this link http://tinyurl.com/yz7t5s at http://CrankMyChain.com .

BLDZR
Guest

sorry to bring the politics of the ride into the discussion, but I do feel it will have an impact on the outcome of the case, as it is seen in court. Certainly not the way it should be, but alas the divide between cyclists and the law is one of the recurring topics on this site, and one that should be considered here.

I don’t mean to insult or demean naked riders, and I certainly wish phil all the luck and justice that he deserves. his actions were in the interest of his fellow riders, and that is absolutely as it should be. Unfortunately, I have little faith in law enforcement, nor in the judiciary, to see things that way. They’re going to see a freakshow interfering with normal people. That’s the sad truth.

despite whether or not i personally like the guy, he doesn’t deserve punishment for watching out for other people’s safety. we’ll just see how it plays out. best of luck.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Phil had a beer in his hand.
He knows better.
Bad choices were made by all. Yet, sadly, Phil was on the short end of the rope, having stopped the wrong car.
You pays your money.
You takes your chances.
He will be fine in the long run.
On another note, he may get a new orange jail jumper to wear. The old one is worn out, to say the least.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

People ar going to continue to try to pull into a parade of bikes until someone gets hurt. It might be a cyclist or it might be the person in the car after the the cyclist drag the person out of the car and beat them down. Then events like this will be outlawed and people in cars will continue to be to assualt cyclists. Why? Because they are normal and we are weird. It’s just like High School: A kid goes into a classroom with a green mohawk and the jockos start making fun of him causing a disturbance. Who gets sent to the office? The kid with the green mohawk. I am so tired of living in High School.

trackback

[…] This morning at the Multnomah County Courthouse nearly 20 cyclists arrived to show their support of Reverend Phil Sano in his trial for an incident that happened on the World Naked Bike Ride last June. […]

kalkor
Guest
kalkor

The police officer in question here has some new steaming p00 on his plate:

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=753233&category=22101

21 speed
Guest
21 speed

It is nice to read about someone with balls doing the right thing. Just think of all the assholes that get away with things because noone calls them on it. It reminds us that many people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them. I would get involved with assholes more, but I know that if I did I\’d get in more trouble than the asshole I was correcting. Great society we have isn\’t it?

Apparently Rev. Phil was accused of among other things indecent exposure. Here are the Oregon statutes on two or three types of public indecency. I\’ll let you decide if he is guilty. Was he convicted?

163.465 Public indecency. (1) A person commits the crime of public indecency if while in, or in view of, a public place the person performs:

(a) An act of sexual intercourse;

(b) An act of deviate sexual intercourse; or

(c) An act of exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.

(2)(a) Public indecency is a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, public indecency is a Class C felony if the person has a prior conviction for public indecency or a crime described in ORS 163.355 to 163.445 or for a crime in another jurisdiction that, if committed in this state, would constitute public indecency or a crime described in ORS 163.355 to 163.445. [1971 c.743 §120; 1999 c.962 §1; 2005 c.434 §1]

163.466 Public indecency; felony; sentencing classification. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission shall classify felony public indecency as a person felony and crime category 6 of the sentencing guidelines grid of the commission. [1999 c.962 §3]

Note: 163.466 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 163 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

163.467 Private indecency. (1) A person commits the crime of private indecency if the person exposes the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person and:

(a) The person is in a place where another person has a reasonable expectation of privacy;

(b) The person is in view of the other person;

(c) The exposure reasonably would be expected to alarm or annoy the other person; and

(d) The person knows that the other person did not consent to the exposure.

(2) Private indecency is a Class A misdemeanor.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to a person who commits the act described in subsection (1) of this section if the person cohabits with and is involved in a sexually intimate relationship with the other person.

(4) For purposes of this section, “place where another person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” includes, but is not limited to, residences, yards of residences, working areas and offices. [1999 c.869 §2]