People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Taser International (TI), the company which manufactures the electric shock weapons used by Portland Police, issued a memo in October suggesting that officers no longer target people in the chest. Instead, they suggest aiming for the back or legs. Law Enforcement Warnings on the TI website say "avoiding chest shots with ECDs [Electronic Control Devices] avoids the controversy about whether ECDs do or do not affect the human heart."
In light of the advisement, Canadian Mounties were instructed to aim their Tasers away from the chest area (Portland Mercury blog, October 16).
On November 11, the Oregonian reported that Sutherlin Officer Jay Huskey's use of a Taser on Erica Price was found to be justified. The woman was sent to a Portland hospital with "serious head injuries" after the event (KPIC-TV, November 4).
A Roseburg newspaper quotes Price's 19-year-old daughter saying that the Taser was unnecessary. She claims her mother was intoxicated, and that at 4'11'' tall and 125 pounds, she could have been restrained differently by Officer Huskey.
Huskey was reporting to a call for medical help after Price had fallen and was brought to the
daughter's apartment. With Price bleeding from her earlier fall, Price's daughter claims Huskey said
he did not want to get blood on himself (Roseburg News-Review online, November 1).
On November 5, Multnomah County swore in a new sheriff, 20-year veteran Dan Staton, replacing Bob Skipper. Skipper failed his certification test twice, even after receiving special exemption from the physical requirements (PPR #48).
Skipper was appointed to replace Bernie Guisto, who resigned due to numerous scandals (PPR #45). After winning election in November 2008, Skipper was unable to become certified within a year. Staton said he will run for election in 2010.
Former Sheriff Skipper investigated claims that Chief Deputy Tom Moore was improperly certified, but found nothing wrong. An investigation by the District Attorney found Moore was improperly certified. Four days after his appointment, Staton contacted the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, which oversees certification of police, to request they speed up their separate investigation. The training checklist for Moore, which typically takes a year to complete, was completed over the course of four days. Staton pledged the full cooperation of his staff (Oregonian, November 9).
On December 15, a jury awarded $500 to Michael Evans, a county jail inmate, saying Deputy
Richard Hathaway used excessive force when he punched Evans in the head in 2006 (Portland
Mercury , December 17).
Über-creepy Portland Police Captain Mark Kruger's high rank in Central Precinct drew his former
friend, Bob Seaver, to file formal complaints about Kruger's fascination with dressing up as Nazi
soldiers (PPR #32).
Kruger admitted to Willamette Week that he nailed a memorial
for WWII German soldiers to a tree in Rocky Butte park in NE Portland, and got married in a
town Hitler used for his headquarters--but it was just for the site's "natural beauty"
(WWeek, October 14).
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.