People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Portland Cops Wound Man in First Shooting in 1.3
"Breaking News: On August 24, Portland police wounded a man in their first shooting in 466 days." Very few people likely noticed this message we included on the subscription return slip in People's Police Report #48, but because the incident occurred after our deadline, we're reporting more about it now. Officer Russ Corno (#26712) chased Osmar Lovaina-Bermudez to a shed near SE 172nd and Pine. Lovaina-Bermudez, 36, a suspected armed robber, allegedly "confronted" Corno, who shot and wounded him.
If this sounds familiar, it is because Corno is the same SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) officer who shot at Derek Coady in May, 2008, before Coady allegedly killed himself (PPR #45).
The fact that Corno is on the SERT team may make him more likely to be engaged in physical confrontations, but that both men were shot in outbuildings without witnesses by the same officer raises many questions.
Portland Copwatch asked some of these questions to Chief Rosie Sizer, Auditor Lavonne Griffin Valade, and "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR) Director Mary-Beth Baptista in an August 27 letter. We asked that the IPR launch an investigation into the shooting and Officer Corno's repeat behavior, since the IPR ordinance lists lack of diligent duty by the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigating an officer as one reason for IPR to conduct independent investigations. We also demanded that they reject a proposal drawn up by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) at the behest of former Auditor Gary Blackmer, which essentially left the outside expert agency doing very little analysis, leaving the Bureau to review its own shootings and deaths cases.
We're glad to report that the PARC recommendation was not only rejected, but pulled off the IPR's website. However, as far as we know, IPR is not investigating Corno or the shooting.
The 466 days between these two shootings marked the longest period without a Portland Police shooting since our inception in 1992--the previous long stretch was 351 days in 1995. Technically, Portland police were involved in at least three shootings, though. PPB was present when a railway officer shot George Hawkins on October 25, 2008 and Portland officers also shot and killed at least two dogs, on November 24, 2008 and April 13, 2009 (PPRs #46 and 47).
It's also worth noting that of the three "official" shootings in 2008 and 2009, Corno instigated two of them, and the third (of Jason Spoor, two days before Coady was shot) was by another repeat shooter, Officer Scott McCollister. McCollister was the officer who killed Kendra James at a traffic stop in 2003 (PPR #30).
Incidentally, Lovaina-Bermudez was released from the hospital and charged with armed robbery and other crimes, perhaps by the same grand jury that cleared officer Corno of any wrongdoing two days earlier (Portland Tribune on line, September 3). Police said they found a gun they thought belonged to him "a short distance" from where he was shot (Tribune on line, August 25). Fueling the right-wing support of the officer's actions, Lovaina-Bermudez was apparently previously placed on an immigration hold on January 22, 2009.
Other Oregon Shootings News:
Tillamook: On October 23, two Tillamook County deputies shot and killed Michael Elmo Shepherd, age 68, who allegedly was armed with a hatchet; the County District Attorney did not even send the case to a grand jury (Oregonian, November 3).
Wallowa: On October 7, Undersheriff Steve Rogers and Detective Neil Rogers of the Wallowa Sheriff's Office shot and killed Roy Bass Jr, 52, at a campground near the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Bass allegedly pointed a gun at forest service workers, and then at the police after they were called in. The grand jury found no wrongdoing (Oregonian, October 21).
Cornelius: On November 21, Washington County Deputies and Cornelius police shot and killed Shawn Schumacher, 28, who had shot and fatally wounded a random car passenger in Hillsboro, then continued firing his gun as he led police on a chase to Cornelius, where his car crashed into a van (Oregonian, November 22 and 23).
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.