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Motorcycle officer hurt during traffic stop

by: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Robert Jose GilliamA Portland police motorcycle officer was slightly hurt when the truck he was stopping backed into him on Wednesday.

Traffic Division Officer Michael Close, an 11-year-veteran of the Portland Police Bureau, received a minor knee injury during the crash.

The driver of the truck, Robert Joseph Gilliam III, 34, was arrested and charged with Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Attempted Assault in the Second Degree, Reckless Driving, and Criminal Mischief in the First Degree. Officers learned that he had an outstanding parole violation warrant on an original charge of Assault in the First Degree.

According to police, at 4:55 p.m. on March 5, Close stopped a 2003 Chevy Avalanche pickup at North Williams Avenue and Webster Street after observing the driver speeding and running a red light at North Williams and Alberta Street.

Close activated his emergency lights and sirens on his 2011 Kawasaki Police Motorcycle and the Avalanche turned onto Webster quickly and pulled to the curb. As Close pulled in behind the Avalanche, the driver placed the Avalanche in reverse and accelerated towards the officer.

The Avalanche struck the police motorcycle just as the officer was putting down the kickstand and dismounting the bike. The motorcycle crashed to the ground but Close was able to remain upright and engage the driver at gunpoint and give him commands to stop the vehicle.

Gilliam stopped and complied with commands as additional officers from North Precinct and the K-9 Unit arrived to assist the Traffic officer.