The Guns of Clackamas County

Pat Ryan

In the past couple of months Clackamas County cops have been busy busy busy. We may need to ready ourselves for an appropriation of liquid cooled weapons, as there seems to be a very real danger of gun barrels melting down from prolonged use.

On December 22nd, they answered a call in Mollala and were confronted by an armed Joseph La Marsh on the front steps of his parents home. Mr. LaMarsh, who had apparently been threatening to kill his father, was shot and is now resting comfortably in the hospital with a stomach wound.

December 15th found our intrepid marksmen called to a home near Damascus, where they were apparently forced to light up a suspect that had been vexing both Gresham and Clackamas County cops for several days. Mr. Graham apparently had a history of carjacking, assault, and successful escapes from arresting officers; and had served a long prison term for violent crimes. Anyhow, Mr. Graham, like Mr. Marsh, appeared not to be a big reader of news articles as he is alleged to have attempted to grab a rifle held by one of the arresting officers. He was shot and killed by Sergeant Tutmark while resisting arrest. The Sergeant had also had the misfortune of being involved in a "suicide by police" incident in Estacada in 2002. In that case, police shot an armed Kenneth Gerde, and were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a grand jury, although how many shots were fired and where they hit the deceased was never revealed by the sheriff's Office.

And so it goes. Excrement Occurs. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi and all of that. There are plenty of people that richly deserve to be assisted off of this mortal coil in a Hail of Hollow Points, and we have oversight to assure that the law enforcement personnel designated by these perps to pay the Ferryman, don't wind up having their careers and lives destroyed by said punks. Sometimes, though, we have to look closely at the various actions and reactions out there on the mean streets of the county, which brings us to the depressing case of Fouad Kaady who shuffled off of this mortal coil, right here in Sandy once again with the assistance of law enforcement personnel.

Mr. Kaady's odyssey has been chronicled by the new editor at The Sandy Post the intrepid Marcus Hathcock. He was able to interview a variety of witnesses including the Sandy and Clackamas officers involved.

The bottom line on this one seems to be that a young man with no history of illegal activity, had a single incomprehensible day of sliding into insanity and death. He had wrecked at least three cars, started a couple of brush fires in the process, injuring and burning himself so that according to Mr. Hathcock's account, by the time the officers confronted him, he was on foot, naked, bloody, and so badly burned that flaps of skin were slouhging off of his torso and arms. Oh, yeah, and very obviously unarmed.

It is here that things get a bit hinky for our intrepid centurions. They get out of their squad car and Clackamas County officer Willard inexplicably lays his loaded shotgun on the hood of his cruiser.

They then approach Kaady try to restrain him, tase him repeatedly, to no apparent effect, and when Kaady starts jumping around and pulling the taser barbs out of his naked shoulders, Willard has an epiphany. From The Post's Hathcock:

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.

Wait for it...........................And again further into the confrontation:

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.

So there you have it. A veteran cop, with a history of tactical training has now come to the conclusion (which apparently made sense to the grand jury), that lacking rubber gloves, law enforcement had no choice but to light the boy up.

So in this season of giving lets offer the Clakcamas County cops a case or two of gloves to ditributed to the boys in the squad cars.

Let's also ask Sheriff Roberts to send his boys to training. they can learn from Portland police officer Paul Ware who has a history of hostage negotiation and dealing with mentally ill suspects. Officer Ware was the Man of the Hour this year at the Capitol when he disarmed a distraught knife weilding man in Senate chambers.They could also check with the PD in Vancouver BC who have identified symptoms and instituted a whole set of procedures around this type of rare but predictable police/citizen encounter.

The official report on the incident has been delayed by Sheriff Roberts, and I take that as a potentially good sign. What we need as citizens of the county, is not retribution or the ruining of careers. No, we need assurance that police porcedures will be changed so that the police will have effective tools and training availabe when confronting the deranged, especially when they are unarmed.

  • lew nassa (unverified)

    Great job, Pat! Someone has to curb these killers, before they kill everyone who has a seizure, mental problem, or just an attitude. When are we going to stop relying on the "grand" jury to make the decisions that should be born by elected officials, like the D.A.? What the hell do we need a D.A. for, if he cannot decide in cases of aggregious wrongdoing. and take these killers to court?

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    It's really fucked up what these guys get way with. For instance, my
    lifelong friend and roommate at the time of his death.


  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Police work is certainly high stress, and it's difficult to argue that cops should not have guns, but their are too many instances of police killing people who are not an imminent threat, and not only in Clackamas County. Statistically, construction and logging are more dangerous occupations than law enforcement, but police seem to be the only ones who kill a large number of people in the line of work [well, there are physicians, but that's another story].

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Beware the homonyn!

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    If you raise and train attack dogs, the leash is your responsibility. Police mangement invented a subcategory hunter/killer groups in PDs all over the US decades ago. These guys have a different mission than the police rank and file, and consequently need different oversight.

    You've gotta wonder how the Dobermann-on-the-roof winds up in a decision making role regarding the life or death of the suspect.


    The Kaady case is very different, but the responsibility has to rise up through the chain of command in both instances.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

  • Brian (unverified)

    Yes, I too am appalled by police decisions to shoot unarmed people when other alternatives were available. After the Kaady shooting I wrote on my weblog that police need more martial arts training:

    I've studied the martial arts for quite a few years. I'm no expert in unarmed combat, but I do know that a couple of police officers should be able to handle a single deranged, unarmed man. As I said in the post, they might get hurt a bit. And as you noted, they might get some blood on them.

    However, wouldn't either of those alternatives be better than sentencing a man to death just for looking threatening?

  • mh (unverified)

    i still cant beleive that they have killed such a man.... so was no reason at all to kill someone that had was unarmed... there had to be other ways to handle it in other way than to KILL HIM its sad that we have people like those cops protecting us in the WRONG WAY.. they really need alot more traing then that. they put fouads family in a shock... the main point is that they killed and INOCENT MAN....

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