People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
CHECKING IN WITH THE WACKY WASHINGTON
Witnesses implied that Washington County Sheriff's Deputies may have tampered with--or planted--evidence after they shot a suspect in Aloha on April 6. Deputy Michael Kastelic and Sgt. Chris Fink shot Robert Lundy Smith, 39, following a high-speed car chase that terminated in a residential cul-de-sac. The April 8 Oregonian reports that Smith was shot in the abdomen with one round from a 9mm police revolver and one round from a beanbag shotgun after he reached into his jacket for what turned out to be a cellular telephone.
Although police reports indicate that a steak knife and a butter knife were found at the scene just after the shooting, neighborhood resident Greg Rudnick says that he saw a deputy place two knives on the ground below the trunk of Smith's car right after he had searched the car's interior and trunk. A second deputy then moved the knives to the surface of the trunk, after which the first deputy then returned and "placed one knife on the ground by the car's left tire and kicked the other in the opposite direction."
According to the April 26 Oregonian, suspect Smith told detectives that the knives had been in his pocket. However, family members say Smith has suffered from schizophrenia since his teens, and following the shooting, Washington County Circuit Judge Suzanne Upton committed him to a mental hospital for six months. This raises concerns about the credibility of his testimony under questioning by police.
The Washington County District Attorney declined to hold a grand jury hearing on whether there may have been criminal misconduct by the deputies. The Portland FBI office has launched a civil rights investigation.
During a week-long training session at National Guard Camp Rilea in Warrenton, OR last September, two members of the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT) each violated National Guard rules and procedures in separate incidents. As reported in the May 16 Oregonian, during the training, one of the two un-named deputies took five or six of his inebriated pals out for an evening's joyride in a county-owned armored vehicle. The other deputy left tear gas cannisters and beanbag ammunition lying around unattended in the vicinity of children. Commander Cleo Howell of the Washington County Sheriff's office was quoted in the article as saying, "I don't consider this a problem." Well, of course not.
Roberta Jean Whitlock, serving time for drunk driving, was released from the custody of the Washington County Sheriffs so she could give birth in June. Then Whitlock, who had previously jumped ship from a work-release site, never came back! (Oregonian, June 16). At PPR deadline, Whitlock was still at large.
As a side note, Brandon Clayton, the man who escaped from Washington County Sheriffs' custody by rolling down a patrol car window in December (see PPR #23) was picked up in Arizona on March 26th.
The April 17 Oregonian reported that after a late night brain-storming session at an area Starbucks, seven off-duty Beaverton police officers decided it would be fun to go over to a Griffith Park business--at the time under a burglary surveillance stakeout by fellow officers--and pretend like they were the burglars. Of course, they got permission first from their on-duty sergeant, Tim Moran, who also happened to be the stakeout supervisor.
When one of the officers, posing as a burglar, walked from the business carrying a box, a stakeout officer jumped out of his police vehicle, drawing his weapon. Luckily the prankster quickly identified himself as a cop, and, most importantly, did not reach into his pocket for anything, so nobody got hurt. Moran resigned from the department, and the seven stooges were suspended without pay for a week and face "police ethics" training.
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