Idea: Police Reform

Editor's Note: On February 6, we asked BlueOregon readers to suggest progressive ideas that the next Oregon Legislature should enact. Over the next several weeks, we'll post some of these ideas here - and ask you to discuss them. Good idea? Bad idea? Any suggestions?

From Garlynn:

Within the State of Oregon, no regular police officer would be allowed to carry a weapon with the potential to take a life. All law enforcement would be non-lethal. (I think we have the technology to allow this.) Due process should not be denied to any Oregon citizen just because some punk cop has a hair-trigger.

Also, cops should not be allowed to engage in traffic enforcement unless it's in a direct response to a citizen complaint. That is, no more taxing of low-income Oregonians by setting speed traps, pulling people over for "driving while black," etc. Only if a citizen calls in and says "people are regularly doubling the speed limit past my house, and I'm concerned for my children and pets" would an officer be dispatched to do targeted traffic enforcement.

Finally, cops would be required to use bicycles and foot patrols in urban areas for more than 50% of the force on patrol, with the rest of the force having vehicles available on radio dispatch.

I think that police harassment of low incomes and minorities in Oregon, needs to stop NOW.

Discuss.

[If you have your own original progressive idea to propose, do it here: "There oughta be a law."]

Comments

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Limiting the police officers to "non-lethal" force will put them at a distinct disadvantage to the criminals with guns. It will result in fewer, if any, dead suspects, and more dead cops. Is that what you want, Garlynn? Your proposal is, without qualification, the silliest public policy proposal I have ever read.

    I am reminded by the recent incidence in which two murder suspects fled California and drove to the Canadian Border, with American law enforcement in hot pursuit. The Canadian border police all had to run for cover and hide, because the bad guys engaged in a gun battle with American law enforcement, and the Canadians were unarmed.

    As for traffic enforcement by citizen request, I have to wonder how the dispatcher would respond to multiple neighborhoods clamoring for speed traps? We have limited enforcement capabilities, and every parent of kids on bikes would be dialing 911 begging for a speed trap to zap their next door neighbor. It is silly to suggest that DWB is a primary ticket writing motivation in Portland: we have many safeguards in place to prevent racial profiling.

    I like the idea of getting cops out of cars, but I would have exceptions for bad weather (say November to February), or at least make it voluntary during winter or when an officer is suffering from a health ailment.

  • (Show?)

    Ha! Let me guess. Garlynn recently got busted for speeding or running a red light. Instead of taking responsibility and admitting his/her mistake, s/he thinks it must be society's fault, or the fault of right wing pig cops.

    Hey, I've been there, I've been on the receiving end of a few tickets myself, and sometimes thought the cop was being punitive for no good reason other than to flaunt his power. Cops are human and sometimes this happens. It doesn't mean that all cops who sometimes make mistakes are always being racist pigs, as Garlynn implies.

    The policy "solutions" offered by Garlynn are a complete joke. The only thing they would guarantee would be a lot more speeding, a lot more deaths due to traffic accidents, and a lot more crime in general once the criminals figured out that the cops were powerless to stop them.

    The solution isn't to stop enforcing laws and let people get away with things. The solution is more effective training and education, for both cops and for anyone more at risk of becoming a criminal because of their socio-economic status.

  • jimevans (unverified)
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    The ideas expressed are not realistic, they are dreamy. COMMUNITY POLICING is the best answer. Police should know their territory. They should get out of their cars, and work at knowing the neighborhood and knowing the people. Trust is critical for effective police work. Police should move away from quotas for issuing tickets. Police issue most of their tickets from their cars, to get them out of their cars and into the neighborhood, quotas must be relaxed to encourage COMMUNITY POLICING.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    I recall a story from the first Constitutional Convention in days of yore...

    One of the anti-federalists demanded that there be a clause that limited the federal standing army to no more than 5,000 troops at a single time. Ben Franklin announced that he would support such a proposal -- so long as there was also a clause that prohibited any foreign invasion force of more than 3,000.

  • Garlynn (unverified)
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    For those of you who engage in personal attacks rather than debating substance... no, I haven't been pulled over recently, or otherwise had a recent encounter with the police. However, over my life I've witnessed many encounters with the police that have led me to believe that there are not enough checks and balances with regards to the existing system, and that the poor and minorities tend to suffer a disproportionate share of the suffering inflicted by out-of-control police forces.

    The proposal to eliminate lethal weapons is not dreaming; it's the current reality within Britain, our closest international ally, as well as other states (Japan, too, I believe). In both places, I believe that there is the equivalent to SWAT teams that have weapons and can be called out in the case of an extreme emergency, but the majority of the police ranks do not carry lethal force on their person. I completely reject the argument that this will leave our police officers vulnerable. They can always call for backup, while avoiding confrontation until backup arrives.

    In terms of walking around in "bad weather months": there is not bad weather, there's just inappropriate clothing. What happened to the beat cop, who walked his beat? In Portland, I'll ride my bicycle 12 months of the year. Why shouldn't the cops? How is a cop going to interact with the community, meet people, geet a feel for the street scene, from inside the police car?

    I'm not seeking to make victims of the police force with these reforms; I'm seeking to make them more effective, more responsive and able to serve the community as a whole, without wasting time on efforts that do nothing to build goodwill, to nothing to solve crimes with victims, but instead just waste resources on victimless crimes. Or even worse, kill citizens of the state without due process. There have been enough little boys murdered on front porches for any argument about cops needing weapons for self-defense to be complete bunk.

  • MJ (unverified)
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    Well I don't live in Portland. Not even close to it. I live in Eastern Oregon.

    Garlynn, you might check out this site. http://www.freemarketnews.com/Feedback.asp?nid=4426

    I have a friend in the UK. Yeah, this is true.

    Let the police keep their guns. We are definitley keeping ours!

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Mr. Woodsong states:

    "There have been enough little boys murdered on front porches for any argument about cops needing weapons for self-defense to be complete bunk."

    Name one little boy in Portland that was "murdered" by a cop? I've lived here 15 years, and I can think of a single incident where a child was shot (not murdered) by a Police Officer who was attempting to kill an armed felon who had broken into the child's home and taken the boy hostage. The Police Officer took a shot (through a window), and killed the child by accident. That is not murder: it's a horrible accident.

    Your allegation of "enough little boys" is complete bunk.

    And what doesn't constitute a "a weapon with the potential to take a life"? Wiffle balls?

  • J Hoffa (unverified)
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    Garlynn wrote:

    "The proposal to eliminate lethal weapons is not dreaming; it's the current reality within Britain, our closest international ally, as well as other states (Japan, too, I believe). In both places, I believe that there is the equivalent to SWAT teams that have weapons and can be called out in the case of an extreme emergency, but the majority of the police ranks do not carry lethal force on their person. I completely reject the argument that this will leave our police officers vulnerable. They can always call for backup, while avoiding confrontation until backup arrives."

    So the two unarmed female constables shot a couple of weeks ago when they walked into a robbery in England (one of whom died at the scene) should have just waited for backup? They never had a chance to even pull their radios and call for back up let alone their non-existent guns to protect themselves.

    Or suppose a cop responds to a domestic violence call, and one of the family members says they are going to shoot the other one and then the kids in the room down the hall. He/she then proceeds to shoot the other parent and the cop can hear him/her running down the hall to finish off the kids. Is the cop supposed to call for backup? Is the cop supposed to hope that his/her Taser/baton/mace will stop the assailant?

    Until you can guarantee 100% that people won't be violent then and only then can you advoate for no guns for cops, let alone anyone else.

  • theanalyst (unverified)
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    Garlynn writes: "I completely reject the argument that this will leave our police officers vulnerable. They can always call for backup, while avoiding confrontation until backup arrives."

    I think you have a gravely unrealistic view of the potential situations in which police officers can find themselves. First, when faced with a dangerous situation there is no time to call for backup. Second, unlike civilians, police do not have the luxury of withdrawing from unpleasant situations. Having unarmed police would be a good way of generating dead officers. I don't know what happens in other countries, but over here officers have to make felony arrests of some very dangerous people who really don't want to end up in prison.

    As an alternative to disarming officers, I would like to see them better-trained. In particular I would like to see them better able to handle mentally ill people. I would like to see them have more non-lethal options and equipment available. In other words, I want officers to be better able to respond intelligently and safely to a wider range of situations.

    But the bottom line is always the officer's safety, and that means that no matter the training or technology, some people posing a danger to the officer are going to wind up dead or wounded. The point is to keep those incidents as few as possible.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    I don't need police. I pack my own protection-legally. I only wish everyone in this country could be allowed to excersize their rights.

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Garlynn:

    We are still waiting for the names of all those little boys that were murdered on their front porch by Portland Police Officers.

    Similarly, I'd love to see your list of "weapons with(out) the potential to take a life." Any "less-than-lethal" weapon on the market has the potential to kill. None offers the same portability, realiability, accuracy, or stopping power as a handgun. Not one.

    Billy-clubs? They were banned by most departments because of choking deaths or head trauma.

    Mace? I'm guessing very few deaths have been directly attributed to pepper spray. But you don't want to have to get that close (15 feet or less) to an armed suspect.

    Tasers? They've been the target of dozens of lawsuits by the families of suspects who died after being tased. And they take a while to reload.

    Bean-bag rounds? Let's play cops and robbers: we can test your "non-lethal" hypothesis. You take a bullet proof vest and a bean bag shot-gun or taser; I'll take a 9mm Glock with 17 rounds. You have to put handcuffs on me to win. I have to shoot you in the legs or face.

    To serve and protect goes the motto, not "call for back-up and run like hell."

    Charlie Burr:

    I am trying to picture your smiling face trying to arrest a burly street kid for assaulting an elderly woman with a knife. Mmmmm. Can't picture it. Maybe if you weren't wearing a bow-tie in your B/O photograph. Drop the knife, or I'm calling for back-up.

    Did you read today's Oregonian? An OSP Officer was the victim of vehicular assault by a 25 year car thief/meth addict. If the officer had not drawn his weapon, he may have been run over.

    If you believe that taking guns away from cops is going to make this country a better place, then volunteer for a ride along on the night shift. Better yet, call up your local probation department and ask them if they're accepting job applications. Tell them you believe in using negotiation rather than the threat of violence, and you want to serve bench warrants and make felony arrests. It'll be fun.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    You've got to be kidding. This is absurd.

  • (Show?)

    Alice, sorry you don't like my bow tie, but this was Garylnn's post.

  • theanalyst (unverified)
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    I hate to say it, but this isn't a "progressive" idea. It's a bad idea -- the kind of idea that gives liberals a bad name, and rightly so.

    With respect to the use of lethal and non-lethal force, I'd like to hear what someone in law enforcement has to say. How about a guest column?

  • (Show?)

    Maybe we should institute an annual Blue Oregon Awards ceremony.

    This one gets "Least practical idea ever posted" well, except maybe for IRV, but that's off topic.

    Sure there's always room for imporvement, but, geeze........

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Drop the knife, or I'll take off my bow tie.

    Charlie: how'd you manage to remove your post? I've seen Kari edit posts in the past [always inside brackets], but I've never seen him erase one completely. You must have some real pull around here.

    Theanalyst is right: intellectual manure like this only benefits conservatives.

    Roll up the windows, kids: here come the liberals.

  • (Show?)

    I removed a couple of posts (one Alice, one Charlie) that were entirely about the presence of italics. I fixed the italics, and removed the two fix-it posts. (Other than spam and fix-it posts, I don't delete stuff.)

    And... just to clarify: I'm not the only one here who acts as an editor. Jesse Cornett and Jeff Alworth are our co-editors. Let's not minimize their contributions.

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Thanks for fixing the italics. Can you delete bow ties?

    JESSE and JEFF rule! Go team.

    I've got an idea: let's give every Police Officer a daily "sensitivity hour" and encourage them to relax, monitor their breathing, and imagine non-violent outcomes to the challenges they face. Herbal teas and incense will be available, and if a cop just feels like letting his/her hair down, cry rooms can be made available for privacy.

    If they decide they would prefer to complete their shift without a weapon, then so be it. A form of volunatary unilateral disarmament. We can probably even qualify for grant money from some Oregon based philanthropy. That's the ticket.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    Garlynn--Well, regardless of the merits of your proposal, you sure got all the righties worked up about it.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Alice, this quote of yours made me think of a campaign for sheriff many long years ago. I am trying to picture your smiling face trying to arrest a burly street kid for assaulting an elderly woman with a knife. Mmmmm. Can't picture it. Maybe if you weren't wearing a bow-tie in your B/O photograph. Drop the knife, or I'm calling for back-up.

    Sarcasm is not appealing in such a serious topic. But then maybe Alice is what a friend called a sarcat--sarcasm is the favorite form of expression.

    Most counties (my guess is that includes Clackamas and maybe also Washington?) have rural areas. A county sheriff candidate said something in this campaign appearance along the lines of "of course if there is a fight among lumberjacks out in the woods you would send out your most burly deputies to deal with that, but otherwise there are areas where women sometimes have better skills, such as in areas of conflict resolution or taking victim/ witness statements".

    That said, I am the granddaughter of a prosecutor who later became police commissioner in a major city. He was prosecutor during Prohibition. I grew up being being very security conscious (incl. that someone in the family should always know where everyone was and who they were with) and hearing that Grandpa went after gangsters. I also grew up realizing that adults got very scared if there was a gun in the house and it was found by children--accidents can happen.

    It is a dumb idea to disarm the police. HOWEVER, having said that, I think it is a smart idea (heard this somewhere, forget where) that if there is an officer involved shooting all the officers present at the scene are split up and are not allowed to talk to each other until they have given their individual official statements.

    Also, if there are inflammatory situations (as have happened in Portland and all large cities) there needs to be a public process after death or serious injury. Grand Jury is a process guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, but there is no reason there can't be a public inquest afterwards.

    I agree with theanalyst and Pat Ryan about the merit of this idea.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "I think that police harassment of low incomes and minorities in Oregon, needs to stop NOW."

    OK, then tell the police not to visit low-income areas and watch what happens to the crime rate there since this is were most criminal activiy happens.

    I am hoping Garlynn wrote this in jest.

  • (Show?)

    I think we should pull Garlynn over, rough him up a bit to show who's in charge, give him a ticket for not signaling 300 feet before changing lanes...and make clear that this is the wrong part of the blog world to spreadin' them kind of ideas around. We don't like them kinds of folk around here!

    Next time...well, let's just hope there won't be no next time.

  • (Show?)

    I'm curious why everyone thinks that Garlynn's concept for "nonlethal" law enforcement necessarily means that we'd be disarming cops.

    We should rather be talking about old-school stuff like tasers, rubber bullets, batons, pepper spray -- and new stuff like this (from Wired Magazine):

    Like a gun that shoots "sticky foam," for example. Originally developed by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque to protect nuclear facilities from terrorism, the coffee-colored liquid expands up to 50 times its original volume when mixed with air, turning into a harmless, taffylike goo that immobilizes its target on contact. Also being researched at Sandia: a "smart gun" with an electronic chip that prevents anyone except its owner from firing it, and an aqueous foam that can fill a room with soap-like bubbles, temporarily preventing occupants from seeing and hearing while still allowing them to move and breathe.

    Certainly, there are many more ideas in the works.

  • hoplite (unverified)
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    I felt compelled to respond to Garlynn's post: I am a retired "Murdering punk hair trigger cop." In 1997 I shot and killed a woman while on duty with an agency in the Metro area.

    Given Garlynn's obvious assumtions on social class as it relates to policing I think some backround is in order. I grew up on Welfare in SE Portland, my mother was confined to a wheelchair as a result of a car accident in 1964.

    In 1965 my father was sent to OSP, serving a mandatory 20 year sentance as a career criminal due to his 3rd felony conviction. His crime was fighting with police after he had shoplifted meat from a store in Curry County. He stole because he didn't have the money to feed his family. In those days, it simply didn't matter.

    Growing up, every one of my four older brothers had trouble with the law (up to & including bank robbery.) I thought it was just a matter of time until I was in the dock.

    But, in 1970, I happened to get interested in Sea Scouts, and became accquainted with a PPB Detective named Pat Kelly who was an advisor for the program. I stayed out of trouble because it was known that any trouble with the law would disqualify from participating in the program.

    In '75 I enlisted in the Marines for VA college benefits. In '77 I was selected for duty as a Marine Secuity Guard and posted to the American Embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel.

    I am proud of my (rather minor) footnote in history, that the day Anwar Saddat addressed the Israeli Knesset I was the bodyguard to the American Ambassador, Sam Lewis. That was a day...

    I was hired in 1980 & served in a variety of positions in the department, CSI officer, Feild Training Officer, Detective. On a quiet September morning in 1997 a sergeant friend of mine asked me to hold over from night shift for a position on days.

    I asked what district needed coverage and accepted because it was known as quiet distict on dayshift. 26 minutes into the shift we recieved a "shots fired" call.

    A woman, angry at being spurned by a man, had decided to kill her ex's new girl.After shooting her residence up (narrowly missing the intended victim) reloaded & left the residence, stating "I won't be taken alive." 2 minutes later I, with 3 other officers, confronted her on a sidewalk near the residence.

    Ignoring numerous orders to "freeze", she calmly reached into her purse, drew her weapon & began firing on us at a range of about 20 feet. We returned fire & killed her instantly. 16 rounds fired, 11 hits. I fired 6 timed, 4 hits, 2 deemed "fatal" in the post mortem.

    We sailed thru the Grand Jury, the civil case was dismissed (with prejudice) and we all got department Medals of Valor. 4 years later I started having panic attacks, flashbacks, and major sleep distubances.

    I asked for treatment & was refused, the Dept said that there simply "was nothing wrong" with me. In 2004, I had to leave the job because my PTSD had progressed to the point I could not trust myself in use of force.

    That is, if you (remotely)looked like a threat to me I was pretty much ready to kill you... I spent almost 2 years in this state, until I decided it was better to be unemployed rather than be procecuted for negligent homicide.

    With the help of a very fine attorney, I am about to stomp the hell out of my former employer in a Worker's Comp Aritration. The "Take Home" message here is that (Garlynn, Kari) sometimes people need to be killed, and you rarely see the aftermath.

    Tazers miss or get hung up in thick clothing, and sticky foam is a damned poor response to inbound copper jacketed round at 2500 feet per second.

    Hoplite

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Hoplite:

    Thanks for sharing and for your service to our community. You did the right thing that day in 1997. The deceased made a series of bad decisions, and it was her fault she was killed, not yours. You are certainly not a murderer in my eyes.

    I hope you win your arbitration, and I hope it costs your former employer a princely sum.

  • (Show?)

    hoplite (great alias)

    A rare chance to join Mr. Anderholt in thanking you for your service. And a wish for an eventual full recovery.

    Kari,

    Bottom line on Less-than-Lethal (LTL). One of two requirements need to be met to assure officer safety:

    You need to be able to deploy the LTL from beyond the effective range of the handgun held by the perpetrator;

    And/or you need it to take effect within about 2/10ths of a second so that said foam (or whatever) encased perpetrator can't light you up while we're waiting for the foam to dry.

    <hr/>

    I'm thinking that a lot of the new Sci-Fi tech may become useful for crowd control, which should fit in nicely to The New New World Order.

  • Angelo (unverified)
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    Gee. Sounds like someone recently got a ticket or two. It also seems like the writer is extremely out of touch with reality. Take a "Ride Along" with a Portland cop in NE Precinct on a Friday or Saturday night. I'm certain that on at least one ocassion, when the cop you're riding with stops to talk to a crime suspect, or generally suspicious character, you'll find yourself inadvertantly putting the cop car between you and the suspect "Just in case". Then try and visualize that officer doing his / her duty without a firearm close at hand.

    One ride along will make you realizw that the Police Officers world is much more dangerous than yours. And the cops would like to keep it that way.

  • Anne Dufay (unverified)
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    I think the question may be more complex than ideal for this forum. The responses fo far seem mired in simplistic magical thinking, as evidenced by how many people respond with "well, cops would be killed then". As if that would be something new, something that carrying guns, prevents. Several folks took this premise to the obvious logical conclusion -- we all need to carry guns, because otherwise none of us are safe.

    And, no one questions this? And, this is Blue Oregon?

    Many responders seem to imply that US criminals are somehow "badder" than the bad of other countries -- perhaps envisioning a bowler-hatter elderly pigeon-fancier contemplating shoplifting some pigeon food and up steps the beat Bobbie who says, "tut tut" and the guy puts the food back, and apologizes... To those folks I say, travel is very broadening.

    Anyway, all nit-picking aside, the question is interesting. Could we possibly ratchet down the gun mayhem so characteristic of our society by, as a start, restructuring our police force weaponry? Is it a chicken-and-egg thing -- could thinning the number of guns on the ground in the hands of cops, affect the vicious mix in any more than the obvious way folks on this thread envision?

    I don't know the answer, but I gotta question the assumption that US citizens are so genetically/culturally different than folks in other advanced western post-industrialized countries that we are simply doomed to forever have astronomically higher levels of murder, most by firearms, and so any effort to think creatively or differently is doomed to fail and should not even be considered. That we must just go on forever doing the same thing we do now, and expect, what, different results?

    As for those of you who doubt profiling and harassment are real and persistent, poisonous problems with real implications for the general safety and welfare, well, I have a gold mine/bridge/investment opportunity to sell to you. The question really isn’t whether these problems exist, but CAN we be creative and explore ideas to move farther in dealing with the problem, than we’ve been able to, to date. Judging by the response here, the answer is a big fat “no”. With a raspberry thrown in for good measure...

    I'm not saying this is the right solution, but I am saying we need to be a bit braver about considering alternatives to the status quo. It really isn't good enough.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with Anne. The status quo is not good. Both the knee jerk quality and the extreme nature of most of the responses here are a reflection of the problem as is the description "punk hair trigger cop" in the original post. Garlynn is writing about a real problem and we'd be well advised to recognize that rather than just jumping all over the proposed solutions even though many of them may be ill-conceived.

    We are horrendously polarized on this issue, so much so that reasonable discussion is very, very rare and a big part of that reality is a huge racial divide.

    It's such a problem that even those people here who are genuinely looking for solutions are mostly reduced to proposing pie-in-the-sky technical ones.

    Here are my personal opinions from a reasonably close observation over the last few years:

    1. Hair-trigger punks exist but are a very, very small percentage of the Portland Police Bureau--so small that if "hair trigger punks" were the problem it would be a vanishingly small problem.

    2. There are no technical solutions currently available that will allow police to use less lethal weapons at the level of safety currently provided them by guns.

    3. PPB pays reasonably well, is a decent place to work as police departments go, has dropped the requirement that cops need to live in the city, has dropped the education requirements from four years of college to two and still has problems recruiting enough officers. Taking away their guns at this point would make it impossible to have a police bureau in Portland.

    4. Too many guns on the street in the hands of people who should never touch them is a big problem and one that will not be solved by taking guns away from cops. There are many things we can learn from other countries but none of them have a second amendment and the history or the sheer quantity of guns that we have to deal with.

    5. Racial profiling happens. The evidence that it happens is overwhelming. If you aren't black and male, just talk to almost any perfectly upstanding citizen who is and compare his experience to yours. Even cops with the best of intentions do it, although almost all of them will argue that they don't. Some of the reasons for that are legitimate and some of them aren't. No matter why it happens, it's a big problem that it happens the way it does. You look at things differently if you are constantly pulled over by the police through no fault of your own and it's perfectly rational that you do. Ditto everything else in our society that is significantly shaped by racism. The social compact in this country is founded on the idea that the system should be fair and that wherever we fall short we are committed to continuing to push toward that ideal.

    6. Perception-altering drugs are a huge problem. Much bigger than most of us realize. That's an issue for those of us who are nice liberal, comfortable, middle-class people who think of drugs as something dabbled in by college students. It's also an issue for those of us whose life experience has led us to think that having multiple family members doing prison time for drugs is just how life inevitably works.

    7. Using drugs in quantities that significantly alter your perceptions and mood, even legal ones, puts your life and health at more risk than it would be if you didn't use them. Just being in public magnifies that risk, driving a car or carrying a gun under that influence multiplies the risk by orders of magnitude. If you are already a person who tends to have generally poor judgment, the multiplication is compounded yet again. If your drugs of choice are illegal, that multiplies the danger even further. This isn't "Refer Madness". It's just a fact of life. Like driving a car is a risk, driving a car at twice the legal speed is a bigger risk and driving a car with your eyes shut is a bigger risk yet.

    The bottom line from my perspective is that if we want cops to stop shooting people we will have to stop thinking that we can accomplish that only by changing the cops. I'm in favor of continuing to improve police training, continuing to improve police hiring and management practices and continuing to look for technical solutions to problems. However, I also think we need to get real about the consequences of our actions as citizens. We need to lose the attitude that all the responsibility is on the side of the police. I agree with jimevans that real solutions mostly lie in the community policing approach. Moving closer to reality needs to happen from both sides of the polarization.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    I see nothing "knee-jerk" or "extreme" in any of the above criticism's of Garlynn, with the exception of "Chris" suggesting that he doesn't need the police because he has a concealed weapon.

    Urban life would be decidely less safe if everybody was packing heat. Much more polite, but not any safer. Road rage would escalate too quickly, and armed cyclists would be shooting at the backs of buses and cars, instead of shouting at them.

    That said, Garylynn's suggestion is knee-jerk and extreme. The responses seem quite measured, by contrast.

    To suggest stripping Police Officers of "lethal weapons" will reduce gun violence is like suggesting women can reduce rape by wearing burkas. Armed Police Officers don't cause gun violence just as women in mini-skirts don't cause rape.

    Why would Garlynn Woodsong (who lives in the Bay Area) go trolling with "cops are murderers" vitriol at BlueOregon. Why not post at the DailyKos, or some other Cali-Blog? Maybe he feels safer here? Maybe he's afraid his ideas would have passed for mainstream in Berkeley? What fun is that.

  • (Show?)

    When a person proposes solutions to a problem and the reaction is mostly limited to heaping scorn on the proposed solutions, I consider that knee jerk. I also consider immediately going to ad hominem arguments, "the reason you think there's a problem must be that you just got a ticket", to be both knee jerk and extreme. I already agreed that the original post suffered from similar problems.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Garlynn's premise is false, offensive, and pollyannish. He probably knew as much when he wrote it.

    Disarming cops achieves nothing. Cops are not murderers. It's an insult to the men and women who protect our lives, our families, and our property to suggest otherwise. Garlynn suggested otherwise.

    Kari's ray-gun/silly-string/boom box proposals don't merit a response.

    A legitimate discussion of "solutions" to legitimate problems (race relations, alternate response protocols for mental illness, or escalation of force training) is not possible in this forum. First, because you lack a credible moderator.

    Secondly, because a legitimate discussion cannot begin with the premise (according to Garlynn) that cops "kill citizens of the state without due process." Garlynn poisoned the well with that (and other) comments. I would expect any active member of law enforcement to read that and click away. It's just too maddening to even try and talk to somebody who holds your profession in such low esteem.

    It would be like starting a discussion of public education with the comment: "statistics show that a number of teachers are dangerous pedophiles" And then asking, "what can we do to help teachers do a better job of educating our kids?" All the teachers are still thinking, "they just called us a bunch of pedophiles! I can't believe they said that, and now they want to tell us how THEY can help US." It poisons the well. You make a comment like that, and you lose your seat at the grown-ups table. As it should be.

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    Secondly, because a legitimate discussion cannot begin with the premise (according to Garlynn) that cops "kill citizens of the state without due process."

    I think technically cops do kill citizens of the state without due process. Due process is a requirement of our legal system. The police don't use the legal system to kill people.

    Technicalities aside, yes, it was certainly inflamatory of Garlynn to assert that police kill people illegitimately on a regular basis. But an inflamatory assertion does not constitute a premise. Many adults are capable of carrying on a discussion even if it was started by a person with an emotionally provocative style. I've been witness to some spectacularly good discussions that were started under much more difficult circumstances than this one.

    I think taking guns away from the police is unworkable and likely to stay that way for the forseeable future but some of Garlynn's ideas are headed in the right direction. You can find plenty of people in the PPB who will tell you that if we could put officers on the street on foot or on bicycles more often we'd be better off. More of that is happening these days although cost is a huge barrier to doing a whole lot of it. We have a hard time in Portland keeping enough officers in cars to meet basic call response requirements as it is.

    A legitimate discussion of "solutions" to legitimate problems (race relations, alternate response protocols for mental illness, or escalation of force training) is not possible in this forum.

    I don't agree that it's not possible to have decent discussions about those problems here. It isn't happening here because people here don't choose to make it happen, not because it can't happen in this forum.

  • (Show?)

    If I post a column about the hazards of sea monsters and sailing off of the edge of the earth, it's unlikely to evolve into a discussion on the complexities of 21st century cargo shipping.

    There's no real frame of reference for a reasonable discussion to occur.

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    No matter how kooky the proposed solutions look, I don't think "I feel harrassed and as though the lives of people in my community are at risk" is quite the equivalent of "the hazards of sea monsters and sailing off the end of the earth."

    The next time a Kendra James or a James Perez gets shot by the police in Portland, most of us will be sitting here having one of two polar opposite reactions utterly bemused that any human being could entertain whichever set of thoughts and feelings we aren't personally having. We will then express our bemusement as self-righteous indignation aimed at those horrible other people.

    In the words of the immortal Tom Lehrer, "It's American as apple pie." (Whatever did happen to National Brotherhood Week, anyway?)

  • Madam Hatter (unverified)
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    Doretta's right. Cops do kill citizens of the state without due process. The police don't use the legal system to kill people.

    Unfortunately that's the nature of the job, but it doesn't mean police should be allowed a pass on the whole legal system, on normal standards of accountability. Why is it that there is no transparency in the investigation of these - too frequent - incidents?

    Secret Grand Jury proceedings, in which the DA - who has several conflicts of interest - is given sole discretion on what witnesses are called, what evidence is produced, and what instructions are given to the jury, is not transparency.

    I live in Sandy, and am not well-versed on the trials and tribulations of the PPB. But I've become quite educated - unfortunately - on the way Sandy police and Clackamas County sheriffs do business of late.

    Alice was dying to hear about a "little boy murdered on a front porch". I don't know what Garlynn referred to there specifically, but have you ever heard of Fouad Kaady?

    He was neither a little boy, nor on a front porch, but this case is what inspired me to speak out about police use of deadly force - and the lack of accountability that follows.

    Fouad was a 27 year old from Gresham who, after his car caught fire, was involved in 3 car accidents before his car crashed burning into the woods by the side of the road. He escaped, but when next seen, he was walking - naked, burnt, bloody and intelligible. Several witnesses called 911 for medical attention for Fouad. They described him as "looking as if was painted in red" from the blood, and so badly burned that "the skin was hanging off his arms".

    When police arrived, Kaady was sitting catatonic by the road. The Sandy officer and the Clackamas County sheriff - rather than taking a moment to assess the situation - demanded Kaady lie face down on the hot tar in the road. When Kaady did not comply (likely because he was either so out of it or because half his body was severely burnt), cops decided to force compliance by dischargiing both their tasers fully into the severely injured young man.

    When the cops had originally pulled up to the scene, they arrived with shotguns drawn, leaving the cruiser door ajar. When they "transitioned to less-lethal force", i.e.: the tasers, the sheriff left his shotgun lying on the cruiser's hood.

    After discharging their tasers into Kaady, he leapt up in pain, and yanked the taser barbs from his skin, howling like an animal. (Do you wonder why?) He ran to the highest place in sight, as any injured animal instinctively does, to the roof of the cruiser. The cops shot a naked, unarmed and severely injured man seven times.

    At this point, it gets a little murky, thanks to the lack of transparency in the system. Cops reasons for fatally shooting Kaady have varied and evolved over time, though the overly-encompassing alibi given to law enforcement has always been the basis: "we were afraid for our lives".

    During the grand jury proceedings we were told that Kaady allegedly screamed "I'm going to kill you", which is what was given as sufficient justification. Though I don't know how a naked, unarmed, obviously injured man is much threat to two healthy, trained and fully armed men.

    But at least six witnesses - who were close enough to hear and see everything else - disputed the officer's testimony, saying they never heard Kaady syaing any such thing.

    Next, we were told that the cops were afraid of getting his blood on them, and thought they had to do whatever necessary to avoid it.

    Finally, and this didn't come out until the police review board had finished their report, we were told the cops were afraid Kaady would gain control of either of the shotguns - the one that was left on the hood - or the one that was left unsecured in the open cruiser.

    Unbelievably, the review board (which was for the CCSO only), deemed the sheriff had violated no policies or procedures. Not even the one that specifically states all firearms are to be secured at all times.

    How's this for a premise if Garlynn's is too much: If you don't know how to play with your toys, you can't have 'em.

    BTW - did you hear the one about the CCSO detective who had her purse - which contained her gun, badge, and ID - stolen from her car A SECOND TIME, this past Tuesday night?

    Or how about the SECOND CCSO deputy indicted last month. First one got popped for 4 armed robberies to feed his Oxycotin habit. Second got it for four counts of falsifying prescriptions.

    I don't hate all cops. Just the bad ones. And like the rest of humanity, there are bad ones. They're the ones who should draw your scorn. Not people frustrated by their actions.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Doretta:

    Police officers are charged with the protection of the innocent from the criminal, the dangerous, and the deranged ("to protect and serve"). In the pursuit of this mission, they are given the legal authority, training, and weapons to fulfill their mission while protecting their own safety.

    Frequently, the police are required to demand compliance from individuals who (by virture of their intoxication, mental state, or knowledge of their own culpability) refuse compliance. A suspect pulls over to the side of the road, and then stomps on the gas. A felon with an outstanding warrant is spotted by a P.O. and runs. A wife beater hears the police officer knocking on his door, and grabs his gun. A drunk driver starts a fight with the arresting officer.

    If you want the police to enforce the rule of law, you have two choices when a suspect refuses to comply with the officer's request.

    A). Give the officer the benefit of the doubt, and expect him/her to demand compliance (make the arrest, pursue the suspect in flight, or use escalation of force procedures to protect their own safety). That doesn't mean "anything goes", but it does assume the officer is acting lawfully, and is expected to demand compliance.

    B). Create a climate where the suspect's rights and protections are more important than compliance with the officer's request. This leads to de-policing. It will help the bad guys and hurt the rest of us.

    Ultimately, being a cop is just a paycheck. Our police officer's should not have to be shot at before discharging their firearm. Their rules of engagement should not require them to get dragged or run over by a fleeing suspect. Because if the criminals figure out the cops are afraid to use their weapons, the criminals will become emboldened.

    Perhaps future education efforts should be direct towards the criminals?

    Public Service Announcement: Our police officers have guns. They demand compliance with their lawful requests. If you do not comply, they will use force to demand compliance. This force may include the use of their weapons. If you are perceived as threatening by our police officers, they will use deadly force. Your compliance is appreciated.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Mad.Hatter:

    It sounds like a series of mistakes may have been committed, but is that all there is to the story? What about the reports that Mr. Kaady jumped on top of a female driver's car before encountering the police, or the fact that he kicked a would be rescuer in the chest? Was he smoking a cigarette while carrying a gas can inside a sedan? If so, the explosion inside his own car (and subsequent burns and head injuries he suffered) would be the result of his own negligence, right? If those injuries caused him to behave aggressively, is it any wonder the responding police officers were scared? What if the dispatcher failed to inform the officers the suspect had been injured in a car accident/fire?

    Reportedly, a Good Samaritan working as a surveyor in the area indicates the subject he attempted to help, who was standing naked in the woods near the flaming vehicle, and kicked him in the chest as he attempted to render aid.

    Additional information has been investigated where a female witness/victim reports this naked subject had advanced from Bluff Road and was running along SE 362. This female driver reports this subject had jumped, naked onto her moving vehicle and was pounding on the sunroof of this vehicle prior to his encounter with police. This encounter did not create any addition accidents or injuries to this female driver.

    I'm not blaming the victim, because I possess limited information. But a grand jury spent several days investigating the facts, and said the police officers committed no crime. I certainly feel sorry for the family members and friends of the deceased. If the facts are as lopsided as you seem to suggest, the civil lawsuit should prove very successful (which still won't heal the dead).

    Police Officers aren't perfect, and accidents will never be eliminated. But is it really fair to say that Mr. Kaady was murdered in cold blood? I certainly could not draw that conclusion based on the information I found on google.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    just found this article in the Sandy newspaper

    The Kaady Report Marcus Hathcock - 11/21/05 The Kaady report

    Many new revelations surrounding the police shooting of Fouad Kaady recently surfaced in a phonebook-size stack of case files released by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

    The sheriff’s office had kept quiet about details surrounding the incident until Oct. 24, when it released the stack of information compiled by the multi-jurisdictional Major Crimes Team. Much of that information was presented to the Clackamas County Grand Jury, which ultimately vindicated the officers of any criminal charges.

    Part I: Peculiar behavior While there is debate among witnesses and even Kaady’s friends over whether Kaady was on drugs or mentally disturbed or neither, many who testified agreed that the man was not acting like himself in the hours, days and even weeks before the events that led to his death.

    Shortly after the Sept. 8 shooting, one of Kaady’s closest friends for two years, Sarah Maness of Portland, told police that Kaady had suffered from depression several weeks before the incident. “He’s been pissed at everything,” she noted.

    Maness said she and friend Tarek Ibrahim had discussed how they were worried about Kaady. “He just wasn’t making sense, mentally,” she said. After she and Kaady had a minor falling out, Kaady told Maness not to call him for a month. She text-messaged his cell phone, to which he replied, “I told you not to call me for a month, so if you want to text back, I'll show you who evil fled is.”

    Maness said she didn’t understand what “evil fled” meant, but she and Ibrahim felt trouble was coming. “We knew in our hearts that something was going to happen. We felt it.”

    Kaady’s father, Rashid, said his son recently had broken up with a girlfriend, a woman known only as named Alexa from Colorado.

    Cousin Thomas Oreste said Kaady had a lot of stress piling up on him, noting that if possible financial problems, possible girlfriend problems and maybe some other less-obvious problem piled up, it was possible Kaady was depressed.

    A coworker, Mohammed Jamal, said Kaady had not acted strange in recent memory, just tired. Kaady’s sisters said he was happy overall with his life and the direction it was taking. Vania Kaady said her brother had just received his real estate license and was excited about selling real estate with his mother. The family also was eagerly anticipating a trip to Las Vegas for a cousin’s wedding. Kaady was scheduled to pick up his mother at the airport the evening of Sept. 8.

    Despite the concern of friends weeks earlier, no bizarre behavior was reported until about 6:30 a.m. Sept. 8, when Kaady was spotted driving recklessly in the Mt. Hood Community College parking lot. Witnesses claimed he was doing 360-degree turns and burnouts in his pickup before campus security took notice of him.

    Responding security officer Jefferson Potts said Kaady’s car had a strong smell of marijuana. When Potts approached Kaady to stop the vehicle from driving erratically in the parking lot, the pickup accelerated and drove over a 3-foot embankment. Potts said Kaady then drove along the top of the berm, proceeding eastbound on Stark before bottoming out on the edge of the pavement.

    He was next spotted at his father’s Gresham home, wearing a suit. Rashid said his son’s behavior didn’t strike him as odd.

    At about 9:47 a.m., Kaady bought two packs of cigarettes from the Hilton Haven drive-through tobacco store on 212th and Stark Street, a place he frequented.

    According to clerk Rudd McGarity, Kaady wasn’t acting like himself. He overpaid for his cigarettes with a jar filled with change and was not interested in getting the additional cash back.

    After paying, McGarity said, “He just looked at me a little frazzled.” He asked Kaady if he was OK, to which he replied, “No, I’m not OK.” McGarity said Kaady didn’t act like he was on drugs, but instead acted like “something major just happened to him, like he had the worst news of his life and had to go deal with it.” Kaady drove off without saying another word.

    Nearly three hours later, Kaady was spotted at the parking lot for Rick’s Custom Fencing at the corner of 202nd and Stark.

    James Blankenship of Rick’s Custom Fencing said he and some coworkers watched Kaady “fool around” in his pickup for about 10 minutes before taking off running, wearing only boxer shorts. “It was weird,” Blankenship recalled.

    Dave Lee Lucky of neighboring Gresham Towing said some Rick’s employees told him Kaady had run off flailing his arms.

    What happened next is at the heart of the debate over what caused the alleged hit-and-run accidents. Family members say Kaady’s pickup ran out of gas at Rick’s, a claim later substantiated by Gresham Towing.

    Kaady, the family says, ran to his father’s house to get a gas can and returned to Rick’s to find his car had been towed. He then took his mother’s blue Buick LeSabre and the gas can to search for the tow lot in the Sandy area.

    They said he ignited gasoline fumes coming from the can after he lit a cigarette in the car. The can burst open, setting him on fire and setting into motion a series of events that led to three collisions, a head injury and his death.

    But Gresham Towing stated that Kaady’s truck was not towed from Rick’s parking lot until mid-morning Saturday, Sept. 10 — two days after Kaady died.

    Part II: Collision course According to the Kaady family, Fouad drove his mother’s car to find a Sandy-area lot where his pickup was towed from Rick’s Custom Fencing in Gresham.

    The next person to see Kaady was Sandy resident Tiffany Stanko, who was on her way home from work, traveling on Bluff Road. As Stanko neared her home, she suddenly spotted the blue Buick LeSabre that Kaady was driving in her rear view mirror, coming up “really fast.”

    She said the car hit the back of her vehicle and continued to push her forward at 70 miles per hour. Stanko said she tried to keep her car pointed straight while being pushed, but eventually she began to turn sideways, sending her into a nearby ditch at about 40 miles per hour.

    Greg Elwell of Boring said he was stunned as he watched “the end of a horrible accident” in his rear view mirror. He sped up as he saw the LeSabre continue toward him in order to avoid a collision. Elwell said the hood of Kaady’s car was smashed up a couple feet, leaving only a few inches of windshield visibility.

    After the LeSabre struck Elwell’s car, he hit his brakes in order to slow Kaady down, since Elwell believed the driver was unconscious. Before long, he said the LeSabre pulled away, and Kaady gave Elwell a “thumbs up” as he passed.

    “He was out of control,” Elwell recalled, driving “completely crazy.”

    Kaady’s family maintains that Fouad’s erratic driving was caused by a dangerous situation inside the car. They said his pickup had run out of gas before it was towed, and that he had brought a gasoline can from his parents’ house to refuel the vehicle. Kaady lost control of his vehicle when he accidentally ignited the gas can’s fumes with a lit cigarette.

    Sheriff’s Detective Steve Hyson later reported that Kaady’s body had severe burns “about his upper torso, face, and into his scalp.” Sandy firefighter Brent Hergert said Kaady had burns from his mid-sternum up, which would have put the man’s health in “serious condition.”

    But the Oregon State Police Arson Investigation Team found there was no evidence to indicate that the LeSabre’s fire had started from inside the car. They did not find any remnants of a metal or plastic gas can in the car.

    In between the two collisions, Carol Vinnacombe said she saw Kaady pass her on Bluff Road.

    “He grabbed onto (his) steering wheel and looked really intensely. It seemed to me his eyes were wide, like he just had this wild look on his face,” she told police.

    Vinnacombe said she noticed smoke coming from the front of the car and underneath it but not from within it. She said she never saw flames.

    Before crashing into a forested area on Bluff Road near Hauglum Road, Kaady’s car left a trail of three grass fires, which, according to Sandy Fire Captain Art Blaisdell, were about 30 square feet in size and were about 30 feet apart by the time fire crews arrived to extinguish them.

    Fire Chief Gary McQueen said the fires were likely ignited because Kaady's car leaked fuel after the collision with Stanko.

    After Kaady’s car came to an abrupt stop in the woods, Sandy resident Tamara Sedgwick said she got out of her car and yelled to find out if Kaady was okay. She said a voice then answered back something like, “I’m here. I’ve known you all my life.”

    She said a man, later identified as Ronald Poirier, had gone into the woods to help Kaady but had come back after Kaady allegedly kicked him in the chest. After Poirier came out, Sedgwick said Kaady kept saying, “Yeah, come back in here. Come back in here; I’m hurt,” but not sincerely, in a “taunting” way.

    “He was yelling, almost screaming,” she recalled. “It wasn’t the voice of somebody who was in desperation and dying; more smart allecky. He was definitely not acting normal.”

    Witness Frayne Leigh McAtee of Edmonds, Wash., also said Kaady was screaming in the woods, like he was angry with someone.

    Poirier, a surveyor working in the area, said he immediately ran into the woods to check on Kaady after seeing his car crash. He said he found the man standing in the wooded area, totally naked, about 25 to 30 yards away from the roadway.

    He asked Kaady if he was okay, to which the man mimicked, “Are you okay?” in what Poirier said was a “sarcastic tone.” He said Kaady then ran at him, jumped up and kicked him hard in the center of his chest.

    Poirier said he grabbed Kaady’s foot and spun him down the ground before running out of the woods. He too said Kaady called out after him, saying, “Come on, come on, anytime.”

    Kaady’s family has alleged that Poirier had sought out Kaady after learning that he had caused the man’s niece, Stanko, to crash her car. According to Kaady’s cousin Zaki Kahl, Poirier came at Fouad with a bat and grabbed him. Kahl said Kaady kicked Poirier to defend himself.

    Poirier said he had no knowledge of his niece’s wreck until coming home after the incident, and no knowledge of the accident’s connection to the naked man until hours later.

    The group of people standing in front of the burning car told 9-1-1 operators that they heard what they thought was a gunshot from within the forest, but investigators never found a gun at the scene. McQueen said the sound likely came from the LeSabre’s tires exploding during the car fire.

    Nearly a dozen people called to report the car fire and the various brush fires that had started to grow. Sandy Police Officer Bergin and Sheriff’s deputy Willard were among those sent to the fire scene to protect Sandy firefighters tasked with extinguishing the blazes. Bergin blocked the road with his patrol car. With reports of a naked, possibly armed man in the woods, Deputy Willard took out his shotgun to give firefighters cover had they needed it.

    Meanwhile, after walking westward through the woods and the property of a nearby nursery, Kaady emerged on Southeast 362nd Avenue, bleeding and burned. He walked northbound on 362nd and quickly caught the attention of many in the area.

    Sherri Markham saw Kaady after her dog started barking at the man. Markham said Kaady appeared to have a “normal gait,” and that there was nothing odd about him, other than the fact that he was naked and bloody.

    The officers were advised that a state trooper had been flagged down by a woman who claimed a naked man was walking down Southeast 362nd Avenue. Bergin and Willard ran toward Bergin’s patrol vehicle. Willard hung on to his shotgun. The two headed north on Bluff Road as Kaady encountered more people on 362nd.

    Paul White was working in his front yard when Kaady passed him. “He wasn’t saying any words,” White recalled. “He was just making noises.” White said Kaady “looked pretty bad,” with a “good share of his body covered in blood.”

    Kaady came within 10 feet of White and grunted at him.

    “The look in his eyes was like a dazed look,” White said.

    The close encounter frightened White enough to prompt him to grab a stick for protection. “I didn’t even know what I was dealing with at the time.”

    As Kaady walked down the road, White said the man was “howling like a wolf and acting like an airplane. He was just acting goofy.”

    Herbert Lloyd was also outside his house when Kaady walked by. He described the man as “painted up all red, screaming, and trotting stark naked.”

    Elaine Thornlimb had followed Kaady in her SUV since the man emerged onto 362nd. She said Kaady waved at her and seemed unaware of his injuries. When dogs barked at him, she said he would bark back.

    Thornlimb trailed Kaady slowly while she called 9-1-1 to get the man medical help and motioned other would-be Good Samaritans away. Two different times during his northbound walk, Kaady turned around, jumped on Thornlimb’s vehicle and pounded on her sunroof. After the second time, he sat down on the road, cross-legged and growling.

    It was then that the patrol car carrying Bergin and Willard approached from the north.

    Part III: Confrontation Fouad Kaady already had been through a lot by the time police found him traveling northbound on Southeast 362nd Avenue. Witnesses said he drove erratically in the Mt. Hood Community College parking lot and appeared to have “lost everything” while at a drive-through cigarette shop.

    According to the Kaady family, Fouad drove his mother’s car to find a Sandy-area lot where his pickup was towed from Rick’s Custom Fencing in Gresham earlier that day. Once in the Sandy area, Kaady collided with two different cars, set three grass fires and crashed into a ditch on Bluff Road.

    After walking westward through the woods and the property of a nearby nursery, Kaady emerged on Southeast 362nd Avenue, naked, bleeding and burned. He walked northbound and quickly caught the attention of many in the area.

    Several witnesses testified that when Sandy Police Officer Bill Bergin and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Deputy David Willard pulled up to the naked hit-and-run suspect, they emerged from the squad car, guns drawn. One of Kaady’s hands was tucked into his lap.

    “He appeared to be just kind of catatonic,” Willard said, noting that Kaady was just sitting and rocking, not looking at anyone.

    For the next four to five minutes, the officers talked with Kaady, urging him to lie on his stomach, a command Kaady reportedly ignored. Family members say that Kaady did not want to put his burned flesh on the hot pavement, although police say they pointed to a grassy area.

    “We wanted to get him to lie on his stomach so that we could get him in restraints,” Bergin said. “That’s one of the safest ways to apprehend a cooperative subject.”

    Willard said he wasn’t going to let Kaady leave the scene but admitted he wasn’t sure how he was going to apprehend him, even if he complied. He thought, “I’m gonna wait until other officers get here before we do anything.”

    He said he did not want to touch Kaady at all due to the amount of blood that covered the man’s body. Willard was specifically concerned that by touching Kaady, he could contract hepatitis or AIDS.

    “Somebody needs to glove up before they touch this man,” Willard thought to himself.

    After it was clear to the police that Kaady wasn’t going to comply with their commands, Willard threatened him with a Taser — a nonlethal weapon that delivers 50,000 volts of electricity to a subject via two metal prongs.

    “Please don’t,” Kaady said to the police. He wearily begged but still did not comply with the officers’ commands. One of the witnesses closest to the incident, Ron Van Meter of Van Meter Nursery, said Kaady was growling at the officers and taunting them throughout the exchange.

    “He just kind of sat there and shook his head,” Bergin agreed, “and almost had like a grin (on) his face.” Bergin then sneaked behind Kaady and shot the Taser barbs into the suspect’s shoulder blades, which sent Kaady flat on his back.

    “He continued to move a little bit during the first shock,” Willard said, “which sort of surprised me.”

    Officers then told Kaady to roll on his stomach or he’d be shocked again. There was no response. Bergin delivered another shock through the barbs that were still in Kaady’s back.

    “At this point,” Bergin told investigators later, “he started laughing and giggling.”

    Kaady then sat up. Willard fired his Taser, but only one barb penetrated Kaady’s arm.

    Then, according to several witnesses, Kaady sprang up with a burst of energy. “He went nutso on them” all of the sudden, said witness Herbert Lloyd.

    “He came to life with a vigor of energy,” agreed Karl Neering, who was working at Van Meter Nursery about 50 feet away from the scene. He said Kaady soon realized that the Taser darts were causing him pain, and he physically removed them from his shoulder blades and arm.

    “He basically became wilder and wilder. I was afraid,” Neering said.

    At about that time, an ambulance arrived at the scene and parked a few hundred feet to the north of the incident. Paramedic Barbara Noland said that from the time Kaady sprang up, “he was wild and appeared to be out of control.”

    Willard said Kaady was still visibly being shocked when he got up. “I remembered thinking, ‘Oh, my God, I’m Tasing this guy and he’s getting up.’ And I started to get really scared about the kind of strength I was seeing.”

    Van Meter said he was concerned that Kaady was going to come and attack him and admitted that if he came any closer, he would have been forced to run him over to protect himself.

    Co-worker Pavel Androsov said the burst of energy sent Kaady running zig-zag toward the patrol car. Witness Robert Montgomery said Kaady “came at” the officers but noted, “He was either trying to get away or was trying to attack them.”

    The officers testified that it was the latter. Willard said Kaady ran away from the officers until the Taser darts came out of his body. “Then he turned and faced us,” he said.

    They alleged that Kaady had repeatedly yelled, “I’m going to kill you!” as he ran at them. No other witnesses reported that Kaady said that.

    Willard said Kaady began to chase him until the suspect leaped onto the trunk of the patrol car. He moved on top of the roof, waving his arms in the air.

    At that point, Willard thought to himself, “I’m going to need to shoot this man,” again stating that he did not want to come in contact with Kaady's blood. “I can’t let him touch me.”

    It wasn’t long until the officers realized that the shotgun Deputy Willard had brought was sitting on the hood of the patrol car, in plain view. The car’s driver’s side door was wide open, and the engine was running.

    Many witnesses said the next few moments happened extremely fast.

    Several witnesses said Kaady was just standing and/or jumping up and down on the patrol car and didn’t say that he was in attack stance. But police say Kaady readied himself to lunge at Willard and again threatened to kill the officers.

    Bergin said he was concerned that Kaady was about to attack the deputy to hurt him or steal his handgun. He was also worried that the suspect would try to get the shotgun on the hood of the car.

    Willard said he didn’t want Kaady to touch him for any reason and yelled, “Shoot!”

    He fired three very quick succession rounds at the center of Kaady’s chest. Bergin fired five shots. They shot to kill, assuming that the man was on drugs and that he could have possessed chemically enhanced strength. Toxicology reports, which could corroborate or disprove that theory, will not be released.

    Willard said after that after Kaady was hit three times, he exhibited what appeared to be a shocked, surprised look before he fell backward onto the pavement.

    The aftermath Witnesses have varying opinions on the police officers’ use of deadly force. Van Meter said the officers had no other alternative because the man was out of control.

    Montgomery said he felt the deadly force was unnecessary since Kaady was docile before being shot with the Taser. Montgomery said he knew police were scared by the way they were moving and acting.

    Noland said she was surprised the officers didn’t tackle Kaady since they had the chance when he was sitting on the ground.

    Witnesses Elaine Thornlimb and Paul White were also horrified at the incident’s end.

    Androsov noted that he thought the police shot Kaady too many times.

    A grand jury vindicated Bergin and Willard of any criminal charges, but Kaady supporters continue to protest the action. “Never forget Fouad” stickers have been distributed, and there has been talk of a civil suit against the county or a federal appeal of the grand jury decision. Kaady family attorney Shannon Connall was unavailable for comment as of press time.

    Although the police were not indicted and will not face criminal charges, both the Sandy Police Department and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office have vowed that internal shooter review boards will conduct additional investigations to determine whether policies and procedures were followed in the Kaady incident. Police are due to return the results of those investigations by Friday, Nov. 25.

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    Bruce,

    I concur with pretty much everything you said in the comment you addressed to me. I think we need to ratchet up the communication and education in both directions but particularly toward the community. There are issues and perspectives the police need to understand better but there is a big problem on the other side that goes significantly beyond criminals to include a large part of the citizenry.

    One basic thing that people need to understand better is that the responsibility to keep the peace is a fairly burdensome requirement. It requires a level of vigilance and energy that's well beyond what most of us are used to. Any encounter with a police officer when he's on duty out in the world needs to be taken with a level of seriousness beyond the norm of the usual casual encounter. It's a big mistake to behave in a way that pushes an officer into overload.

    I don't think we can get that message across just by making announcements. Citizen academies are great but they only reach a few dozen people a year and mostly they aren't the people who need the education the most. Those people do influence other people but I think it's still much too limited.

    I wonder if there isn't some sort of public education campaign involving real two-way communication with the police that might help. I'm thinking I should do some research on that subject to see if anyone else is doing such a thing. Anybody here have any pointers?

    On the police side, I think the police already understand that they need better training in dealing with mentally ill people. Another thing I've noticed is that police seem to be way overtrained to worry about catching diseases--it sounds like that may have been an issue in the Kaady incident. There is a real issue there and it's good they are trained in precautionary measures but in my experience they are concerned way out of proportion to the actual risk.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Doretta:

    Back to the Kaady case, if you were a cop, would you be willing to wrestle a screaming, bloody, naked, burn victim into compliance?

    I'm not suggesting the police shot him because they didn't want to get dirty or risk exposing themselves to bodily fluids. Rather, when any suspect (injured or not) is behaving erratically and refusing to comply, most protocols discourage the officer from closing the distance between themselves and the suspect. Maintain a safe distance is the mantra.

    This week's example of the police officer in Roseburg (who approached the 14 year old and snatched the handgun away from him) probably violated the department's own policy on how to deal with suspected perpetrators of gun violence who are (ostensibly) seeking suicide by cop. If you approach the suspect, you risk scaring them into shooting themselves, or turning the gun on the officer (it's much easier to hit a target at two feet than twenty feet).

    Mr. Kaady's alleged behavior and refusal to comply were dangerous in their own right: he was not acting like a burn victim, more like someone that was on a hallu-drug trip. If they had told the paramedics, "O.K., we've got him covered, you guys go ahead and treat his injuries now" would you reasonably expect them to approach Mr. Kaady? It reminds me of rioters shooting and throwing objects at the firefighters during the L.A. riots: it's a great strategy if you want your neighborhood to burn, less so if you want the fire department to put out the fires.

    In short, is it unreasonable to expect even the injured or the mentally ill to behave in a non-threatening manner if they wish to be treated by paramedics? If the suspect jumps on the roof of a patrol car (injured or not) how would you suggest they get him down? Maybe a "tranquilizer gun" would have been useful, but that carries inherent risks too. Maybe we could create a SWAT team of mental health/medical professionals that could respond to these kinds of incidents: perhaps they would be less concerned about their own safety than their "patient's" safety?

    Mental health training gives the officers additional tools to evaluate abnormal behaviors, but it does nothing to get the man off the roof of the patrol car. The training will not make the task of disarming a 14 year old murder suspect any easier. People are unpredictable.

    Our Police Officers (generally) don't have the lattitude of walking away from confrontation. We rely on them to defuse these unpredictable people/situations so that we don't have to: this will result in the use of deadly force on occasions. All the training in the world won't change that reality. On this basis, I think we have more to gain from public education than police training. If nothing else, the public will develop a greater understanding of how controlling their own behavior can prevent them from being perceived as threatening the police officer.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Chris, your a funny guy. Your reasoning that "people packing heat" would make things "less safe" is laughable at best and reaks of serious misunderstandings. Anyhow, this is not the thread for that discussion. However, I challenge you to "pack heat" so to speak (get a CHL) and then check your viewpoint on the world.

    Imagine where your only weapon is not 911. Imagine if you could defend your family-or yourself.

    If that were the case, fewer would care about disarming the police because you can't defend yourself either. Face it, disarming the cops is societies saying that "we have more power".

    And by the way, the U.K. is not as pretty as some would like to portray.

    If many of you are so concerned, head south the LA or Bakersfield where it is commonly said "two warning shots to the back".

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    Doretta, Bruce, and Madam Hatter,

    As a Sandy resident, I have followed the Kaady case closely. I am still pursuing this matter, and have had an LTE published in the Post on the topic and written a post here on Blue Oregon, called "The Guns of Clackamas County".

    Bruce, I've gotta go with Doretta on this one. The senior officer (Willard) had hostage negotiation training, yet he was the one that made a series of mistakes and misjudgements.

    1) Twice in the article (which is roughly chronological) He says that he didn't want to approach due to lack of rubber gloves. That was a real and totally pitiful and self serving argument.

    2) He (not the young Sandy officer) placed a loaded shotgun on the hood of his car and walked away from it, in direct contravention of police department guidelines.

    3) Kaady was unarmed and naked except for a pair of shorts.

    The cops could have easily kept an eye on Kaady until two hundred national guardsmen were called in (or whatever force Willard thought might be necessary to subdue a slightly built young man).

    <hr/>

    On this specific issue, there are good models of police departments that have put specific training and procedures in place. Dealing with people who are both unarmed and deranged, is rare but it needs to be handled differently than situations where the "perp" is armed with stick, knife, or gun.

  • Mr. T (unverified)
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    Chris: why do you refer to yourself in the third person?

    "Chris, your a funny guy."

    How do you know the people who disagreed with your post are not CHL permit holders? Most of us who are "packing heat" try not to advertise the fact, least of all on a blog.

    I've never heard another CHL owner suggest that carrying a handgun somehow renders them an island unto themself, without any necessity of recourse to law enforcement.

    What if you see a drunk driver getting into their car: are you going to step in front of the drunk man's bumper with your weapon drawn, or would you prefer to call 911 and report the license plate number and direction of travel? A 14 year old kid chucks a rock through your window? Are going to light him up when he reaches for another rock (I feared for my window's life) or call the Police?

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    I think we have more to gain from public education than police training.

    I agree with this on one level. I think we as a community and the police bureau already take police training seriously and are committed to continue to push to make it better. I think the public education side is much less clear and so there is potentially a lot of progress to be made there.

    I don't think that since sometimes use of deadly force may be necessary that means police training is an insignificant issue. (Not saying that you do either, I just want to make it clear.) When police shoot and kill someone that person ends up dead and their family, friends and community end up traumatized. I have no doubt that shooting and killing someone is a traumatic experience for the officers involved as well. We have a comment in this thread that gives us some idea of just how traumatic it can be even when the situation seems clear and the use of force probably the only option. Imagine what it must be like for officers who kill someone in a more ambiguous situation or who made significant mistakes that may have led to a shooting that may not have had to happen. I think we owe it to our officers at least as much as we owe it to the community to see that they have the best training it is possible for them to reasonably get in that area. Making sure they have the tools to make accurate assessments and choose the right courses of action has to be an ongoing priority.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Doretta:

    I agree with your last comment. I agree with most of the rest of your comments.

    Our primary point of disagreement is whether or not the current equilibrium (between the responsibility of the officer to enforce the law while protecting themselves vs. the suspects' rights and behavior) is acceptable. I believe this equilibrium (the status quo) is as good as we can reasonably expect. Sure, you can always do more, but inadequate police officer training is not the source of the problem.

    I believe the most liberal progressives (well represented by Garlynn) have erred on the side of assuming any police officer that fires his/her weapon is a "trigger happy punk cop" just itching to kill somebody. There is an undertone of xenophobia and racism which is rarely mentioned out loud, but provides the fuel for "community outrage" and the hundreds of websites devoted to fanning the flames of homicidal cop conspiracy theories.

    The philosophical pacifists who think we can employ better technology or training to eliminate both dead police officers and dead suspects presume a level of intellectual capacity that is easily eroded by drugs, alcohol, adrenalin, aberrant psychology, or criminal desperation. 99% of the time (or better), those erosions are affecting the suspects, not the police officers. When police officers are initiating deadly force without provocation (or abusing alcohol, drugs, etc), the other 99% of the police force owe it to themselves (and their reputation) to police the 1%.

    Having just rented the movie "Crash" you would think dirty cops are in the majority, and the unitiated rookies (who start out clean) are intimidated into silence by the bigoted brotherhood in blue until they too, become dirty.

    If that were ever true (in another time or place) it is certainly not true today, not in Portland, Oregon.

  • Alice (unverified)
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    March 21, 2006 Headline: Man dies after being shocked by police Taser Here's the KXL report

    here's the article from the Oregonian.

    Maybe we should arm them with butterfly nets instead?

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