People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Portland Police Shoot Another Man in Mental Health Crisis, Release Info on Previous Incidents
After four months in which officers of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) were able to keep their firearms mostly in their holsters, they shot and killed a man with mental health issues on December 8 (as for the rest of the state, see Other Shootings article). During that time, a considerable amount of new information about old cases was released: the latest Police Review Board report was published in September, while grand jury findings, police investigations, and related news reports covering the deaths of David Downs and Lane Martin (PPR #78) came out. In addition, Don Perkins, a man who was in mental health crisis but lived after police shot him the same day Quanice Hayes was killed in February 2017 (PPR #71), was granted a $60,000 settlement by the City on September 4.
Man Running In and Out of Traffic Shot and Killed in Broad Daylight
Officers responding to a call about Koben Henriksen, 51, running in and out of traffic with a knife, reportedly did not take long trying to de-escalate the situation before Officer Justin Raphael (#52780) shot and killed him. Witnesses reported being nervous that what appeard to be Raphael's AR-15 rifle might have killed them as it was just before 2 PM in a busy area of SE Stark Street (not far from East Precinct). Many of the witnesses said they did not see Henriksen with a knife, but that he seemed confused and "zombie-like" (Oregonlive, December 9). It was only 13 seconds from the time officers radioed in contact with Henriksen to when they reported shots fired.
Four Cases Covered in Report: No Wrongdoing by Cops
As usual, the Police Review Board (PRB) did not find any officers out of policy for using deadly force. Because of the delay in releasing PRB reports, all four cases date back to 2018. The summaries have a distant and clinical feel to them. The facts surrounding John Elifritz's case in which multiple officers shot a man in mental distress and Richard Barry's case, where cops joked as he lay dying, raise concerns about the PRB ignoring the humanity of "suspects." The summary reports on deadly force incidents show officers' narratives are treated as gospel. This is not surprising, as the Board's makeup for these hearings is four police members, one staff person from the "Independent" Police Review (IPR), one member of the Citizen Review Committee, and one civilian from a pool of about 15.
Sarah Michelle Brown, who was shot and wounded in March 2018 (PPR #74), allegedly shot at Officers Darrell Shaw and Joseph Webber, prompting them to return fire. The Board found the shooting "reasonable and appropriate given circumstances." There is no description of de-escalation tactics the Board claims were used prior to the shooting. Both officers were found in policy even though two PRB members suggested a debrief for one supervisor, suggesting the "response might have been improved slightly to ensure all officers were available prior to firing on the subject." The cover memo shows all officers were given this debriefing.
In the report on the April 8, 2018 killing of Elifritz (also PPR #74), it is not immediately clear which officers (labeled #6-10) are Brad Nutting, Kameron Fender, Chad Phifer, Alexander Martiniuc or Andrew Polas. Three Board members say a Sergeant (presumably Roger Axthelm) worked to "minimize the use of force." Five Board members noted Axthelm himself approached Elifritz to provide medical aid, recommending a debriefing to point out that action took him away from his supervisory duties. Though Elifritz was shot and killed 37 seconds after police entered the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where Elifritz was harming himself with a knife, the Board praised the officers for "attempt[ing] to de-escalate." Two other supervisors are called out for a debriefing to better communicate about the shooting to required parties, including IPR.
The summary report in the September 2018 death of Patrick Kimmons (PPR #76) doesn't address that at least one bullet hit Kimmons in the back, meaning he was turned away from police. When asked whether officers may have accidentally put bystanders in harm's way, one (police) Board member said "officers are trained to be very aware of their surroundings as soon as they exit their vehicle." This doesn't answer whether officers Gary Britt and Jeffrey Livingston thought about where their bullets might land on this occasion. One Board member suggested a debriefing since Officer #4 got directly involved rather than continuing to supervise, echoing a recommendation from the OIR Group's February report (PPR #77). The cover memo says Chief Outlaw asked for both Sergeants in the case to get debriefings.
There is no mention in the summary report on the November 22, 2018 death in custody of Richard Barry (PPR #77) that at least one involved Portland State University (PSU) officer was wearing a body camera. His footage shows either Portland Police Officer James DeAnda or Jared Abby with his knee on Barry's shoulder, followed shortly by Barry ceasing to move at all. The cops do not seem to check him for breathing, noting only that Barry was lying on their hats and may have gotten blood on them. Officer #1 decided not to give Barry first aid because they had already called medics. The officer knew Barry was bleeding, as he left the scene to wash the blood off his own hands and uniform. This destruction of evidence is addressed only in the discussion of the supervisor (Officer #3) when a single Board member asked for a debriefing about preserving a crime scene. The cover memo does not address any debriefings. The only discussion of Barry's condition was a suggestion to look into handling "cases of Excited Delirium," a syndrome the Medical Examiner claims led to Barry's death (also see CRC article). The recommendation was not voted on because two "advisory board" members left "unexpectedly."
David Downs and Lane Martin: No Criminal Wrongdoing
The Grand Jury transcript in the June 9 killing of David Downs was released in late September. The Oregonian's coverage (on October 2) reveals Officer Nathan Kirby-Glatowski decided to shoot while Downs was holding a woman at knifepoint. The other officer, Cassandra Wells, said she did not "have a good angle to take a shot." Regardless, the fact that the woman, who was reportedly already bleeding due to her encounter with Downs, was not injured by bullets is just lucky. Officers shot and killed both 12 year old Nathan Thomas and the man who was holding him at knifepoint back in 1992. Kirby-Glatowski reportedly said Downs "went down like the proverbial rag doll... there was blood everywhere." There's no mention about Downs' behavior including lying about having a bomb indicated he likely was in some kind of mental health crisis.
There is no explanation why the Grand Jury did not hear the case of Lane Martin until mid- October, 76 days after he was killed by Officer Gary Doran in late July. The Oregonian reports the Jury found Doran acted in self defense, though Martin had dropped the hatchet he was carrying after being shot by less lethal rounds. The officers say he pulled out a knife after they cornered him in an apartment complex's common area (October 16). The O had to ask for the autopsy paperwork, which wasn't mentioned in the transcripts. They reported Doran fired 11 shots at Martin, hitting him nine times (October 19). Martin's family announced their intent to sue around the time of the Jury's decision (Portland Mercury blog, October 14).
Don Perkins: $60K Probably Barely Covers Injuries
Don Perkins' lawyer Greg Kraus told the Oregonian he was glad Perkins was given money, but "I wish he could have gotten more" (August 30). This was not the attorney wanting to recoup more fees: the article says "Perkins required multiple surgeries, ongoing neuropathy in his arm, permanenent injury to his lungs and post-traumatic stress disorder." Nonetheless, it is rare for a person shot by Portland Police to get any compensation at all, particularly when they live to tell the tale. The last such settlement went to William Monroe, who was shot by live rounds out of a "less lethal" shotgun in 2011 (PPR #60).
Other Portland Law Enforcement Deadly Force News
In area news not involving the Portland Police:
--Portland State University decided to increase the number of armed officers on its campus from 6 to 10, despite pleas from students and the family of Jason Washington, who was killed by PSU cops in 2018 (PPR #75). The two officers have both resigned from PSU (Oregonian, October 11).
--Vasile Manta, the only person in our records shot at on two separate occasions by law enforcement (PPR #75), was sentenced to five years in prison for crimes including criminal mischief and fleeing from police (Oregonian, August 11).
--A man who struggled with a Port of Portland police officer in September allegedly injured himself with his own gun, despite original reports of an officer-involved shooting (Oregonian, September 29).
For more information on the Police Review Board report see this issue's article. .
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.