Former student declares innocence

“He wants PSU to know he’s done nothing wrong” Herman Brame stated, speaking for his son, Derrick Brame. December 31, while at PSU looking for job listings, Derrick Brame was thought to have been carrying a gun and was arrested by Steve Coop, a campus security officer. During the arrest, Coop found a small hunting knife and claimed during the arrest Derrick Brame assaulted him.

Derrick Brame was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and assault four. After five months of waiting for a trial, Derrick was found not guilty on all charges by a jury, May 29, 2003.

Herman Brame came to the Daily Vanguard wanting to tell his son’s story, setting the record strait. In fact, the Vanguard’s Crime Blotter reported Derrick Brame’s arrest on January 10, 2003.

Herman Brame, speaking for Derrick, said he is “concerned the crime blotter on the web doesn’t explain what has happened.”

Derrick Brame’s charge of carrying a concealed weapon was dropped. His knife was legally concealable. The assault four charges were brought to court. After months of changing court dates and going through two Multnomah County Defenders, Derrick Brame hired a lawyer who created a case for his defense. The County Defenders encouraged Derrick Brame to plead guilty to a lesser crime.

Herman Brame reflectively said he’s “sorry for people who don’t have the resources to hire representation.”

Daniel Russel, Derrick Brame’s lawyer argued the fact that it would have been impossible for Derrick to have intentionally hit Officer Coop.

Herman Brame explained the confrontation as he understood it. Derrick was approached by the officer and told to put his hands upon the wall, Herman Brame said. Derrick asked what the problem was while following Officer Coop’s orders. Again, Derrick asked what the problem was.

At this point, Herman Brame said, the security guard grabbed Derrick’s arm and sprayed him with pepper spray. Herman Brame noted that it could have been possible for Derrick to have accidentally hit Officer Coop as Derrick was raising his arm to block the pepper mace.

Officer Coop and two construction workers, one of whom had reported Derrick Brame to campus security, jumped onto Derrick and detained him.

“Three men on top of one man, who was simply trying to evade toxins,” Herman Brame said,with concern, “was very dangerous.”

Officer Coop laid out a different story in his investigation report. Coop claims after he initially began to handcuff Derrick Brame, Derrick “spun around, forcing me to release my hold on him.” Coop claims Derrick could have run away while he was removing his pepper spray from its holder.

“Rather than flee, subject lunged forward with a closed right fist, striking me on the right cheek,” Coop stated.

An Oregon jury disagreed with Officer Coop’s claim that Derrick Brame assaulted him, finding him innocent of the assault four charges.

Herman Brame said his son is trying to put this experience behind him. Derrick “hasn’t finished his graduate’s degree. He’s been working on it intermittently, for now he’s trying to regroup.” Eventually, Derrick might complete his degree at PSU.

Presently, Herman Brame said Derrick “feels kind of insecure coming around here.” Herman echoed Derrick’s feelings, saying “I have to look over my shoulder when I’m here.”

Herman Brame is still concerned with the conduct of the campus security and the university.

“There should be more training for security and more review” of their actions, Herman stated. “I’d hate to think of someone who didn’t look quite right” experiencing what Derrick did.

“Maybe if he was a young, white male, [instead of a young, black male] nothing would have happened,” he said.