People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Other Information Contact info
CHIEF CALLS FIVE SHOOTINGS IN SIX WEEKS
However, Reese and Mayor Adams were quick to blame the increased shootings on the violence and mental health issues that police face, rather than the police themselves for not using their Crisis Intervention Team training or other de-escalation tactics. Reese also ordered a look at more "less lethal" weapons, which led to some scary proposed solutions (see CRC article). Complicating the discussion, another incident on March 6 left two officers wounded when a suspect shot at them; amazingly, the police took Ralph Turner into custody without wounding or killing him, though Officer Justin Clary (#40926) did fire numerous rounds from an AR-15 assault rifle at the man's house.
The cops did use "less lethal" weapons before shooting and wounding Marcus Lagozzino, 34, on December 27: a Taser and two "beanbag" guns. Nonetheless, Officer Bradley Clark (#46430)'s weapon of choice to shoot at the man, who had threatened his parents and was carrying a machete, was also an AR-15 assault rifle. Lagozzino lived, the only of the six people shot at in 2010 to do so. The shooting occurred 56 seconds after officers radioed their intention to move closer to Lagozzino's home. The officers made a plan, but apparently not one that included what to do if Lagozzino came at them with the machete. (Incidentally, in the same way police described the X- Acto knife carried by Jack Collins as having a 6-inch handle last March, they were sure to report the machete had a 22-inch blade). Lagozzino, who survived being hit with three of the four bullets fired at him, was charged with menacing, assault and harassment but may be able to enter mental health treatment as an alternative to jail (Oregonian, January 8).
In early January, two incidents happened back-to-back: Early on New Year's Day, Kevin Charles Moffett, 31, allegedly shot a bouncer outside of a downtown nightclub; Sergeant Mike Fort (#26379) shot once at Moffett and missed, fortunately not hitting any of the other patrons pouring out of the club.
The next day, January 2, Vietnam Veteran Thomas Higginbotham, 67, was shot and killed by officers who had come into an abandoned car wash near 82nd and Powell to investigate complaints he had harassed a security guard. Higginbotham allegedly approached them with a knife, and his thick winter clothing made their Taser ineffective. While Officer Jason Lile (#38941) says he felt he did the right thing, Officer Larry Wingfield (#26849) told the grand jury he wasn't sure they should have gone so far into the building and gotten so close to the man; there were no lights, stacks of junk piled up, and no exit scenario. Wingfield also regretted that at least three bullets hit Higginbotham in the back (Mercury blog, January 28). We hope Reese will go lighter on Wingfield, even though his regrets do not bring Higginbotham back to life. As is typical, before releasing his name, the police told the media Higginbotham had an extensive police record, though his record in Oregon consisted of felony theft and traffic offenses (Oregonian, January 9).
The March incident in which officers were wounded started as a "welfare check." According to police, as they knocked on the door of Ralph Turner's SE home, bullets came flying out, with one bullet allegedly passing through the pants leg of Officer Andrew Koefoed (#40928), and shrapnel hitting his bullet proof vest. The officers, unlike so many previous scenarios, retreated across the street to a park. 61-year-old Turner had a hunting rifle and began shooting at officers, seriously wounding Officer Parik Singh (#31724). What happened next raises concerns: Clary used "suppression fire" at the house, which could have killed Turner, and could have penetrated the home and perhaps other houses in the area. The Oregonian reports that the goal is to "neutralize the threat" (March 13). Eventually Sgt. Troy King (#28652), acting as a negotiator, was able to reach Turner by phone and he surrendered peacefully.
Mayor Adams, who is Police Commissioner, declared the officers were heroes before the end of the day, which is unfortunate as there had been no investigation into whether they followed policy. However, we have said before and say again: Everyone deserves to go home safe at night, officers and civilians. It is good that all involved were able to live through the situation.
Other media, including the Oregonian, also hailed the officers' work, kicking it up a notch with the March 14 editorial "Yes, 'suicide by cop' is bad, but shooting of cop is worse." The gist is that officers' lives are somehow more valuable than other members of the community.
Details also emerged in the shooting of Darryel Ferguson, who allegedly met officers at his door with an air pistol on December 17 (PPR #52). Officer Kelly Jenson fired 5 shots, hitting Ferguson three times, and Jonathan Kizzar fired 15 shots, most hitting the door frame and a washing machine (Oregonian, January 11). According to the Portland Mercury, grand jury transcripts (which are now routinely released when the suspect dies) reveal that "everyone agrees the officers never identified themselves" (January 13). So, someone was knocking on Ferguson's door at 3:45 AM after he'd been in a dispute with neighbors. It seems as if Officers Jenson and Kizzar should be held accountable at least for their failure to announce themselves as police.
To recap, since January 2010, there have been nine officer involved shootings in Portland; three people survived (one was shot, two others were not); three officers were wounded (Officer Burley at the Keaton Otis shooting in May in addition to two at Turner's). Of those incidents, at least three were generated by people calling 9-1-1 out of concern for a loved one and the police responding with force: Campbell, Lagozzino and Turner, whose girlfriend had called for help worried he was going to overdose on pills.
Meanwhile, the family of Aaron Campbell amended their lawsuit, claiming the police have been harassing and conducting surveillance on them since the killing (Oregonian, March 19). The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, which has been following the case since it happened, co-hosted a memorial service for Campbell on January 29, exactly one year after his death.
Things are looking up for the fired Frashour. In February, the State of Oregon's Employment Department ruled that he was entitled to unemployment benefits, calling the shooting of the unarmed Campbell in the back an "'isolated' instance of 'poor judgment'" (Mercury, February 10). The Department of Public Safety, Standards and Training, which issues certification for police officers, refused to revoke Frashour's certification, since the shooting did not violate state standards (Mercury, March 3). However, it should be noted that since Frashour violated Portland's policies, his firing could still withstand the scrutiny of an arbitrator.
In the January Rap Sheet, Portland Police Association (PPA) President Daryl Turner made
clear his intentions with regard to Frashour and discipline of the three other officers involved.
will not allow politically motivated decisions to impact the working conditions of our membership.
Neither the police commissioner, the police chief, nor anti-police organizations can change the facts
regarding this incident." He says the PPA will keep up the pressure to "use every resource
to ensure that no member will be disciplined to minimize the political and civil liability of the Police
Bureau and the City of Portland when they are within Police Bureau policies."
Portland Copwatch Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability
through citizen action.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.