Mental Health Association of Portland

Oregon's independent and impartial mental health advocate

Fired for driving drunk, Gresham officer fights back, alleging ADA violation

Posted by Jenny on 26th April 2013

By the Associated Press on AZCentral.com, April 26, 2013

ADAAn Oregon police officer fired for driving drunk in an unmarked police car while off-duty has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the city, the police chief and others, alleging his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit filed in Portland says the Gresham officer, Jason Servo, was suffering from alcoholism, a recognized disability under the act, and shouldn’t have been dismissed.

The suit also alleges Servo was denied due process, and the police union failed to represent him adequately.

“Just as with any type of disability or disease, they should have made some kind of effort to accommodate that, or some kind of effort to work with him, and not simply sever all ties,” said Shawn Kollie, one of Servo’s attorneys.

City Attorney David Ris and a police spokesman did not return phone messages seeking comment. Police Chief Craig Junginger was out of the office Friday.

Servo was arrested in January 2011 after he crashed into a ditch while off-duty. The lawsuit states that Servo, a detective who was the department’s lead firearms instructor, had taken the police vehicle to a firearms training session in the nearby city of Troutdale. Later, he joined fellow officers for dinner and drinks.

“This was a common practice among (Gresham) officers and had become an inherent part of the culture,” according to the suit filed late Thursday.

Servo was alone when his vehicle veered into a ditch. Though Servo refused to take breath or field sobriety tests, the Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy who arrested him later testified before the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training that Servo was probably one of the top 10 most intoxicated people he had arrested in almost 15 years of drunken-driving investigations.

Two months after the accident, Servo pleaded guilty to drunken driving and entered a diversion program. He fulfilled the program’s requirements and the DUI was dismissed.

Servo also voluntarily entered an in-patient program at a Serenity Lane drug-and-alcohol treatment center, where he was diagnosed as an alcoholic.

The lawsuit alleges the chief fired Servo to save money, ignoring the known disability of alcoholism.

“I know it sounds kind of like a conspiracy theorist’s claim,” Kollie said, “but we do believe there was a funding issue in the Gresham Police Department at the time.”

Separate from the lawsuit, Servo is appealing the standards-and-training agency’s decision to strip him of his police certification.

Servo is currently working as a private investigator.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Hubbard man shot in standoff is released from jail after police find no weapons

Posted by Jenny on 15th January 2013

By Rick Bella, The Oregonian, Jan. 15, 2013

A Hubbard-area man shot by police after a five-hour standoff was set to face an attempted murder charge Tuesday for allegedly pointing a gun at a deputy. But the charge was dropped after police could not find a weapon.

Authorities then canceled a court appearance scheduled for Paul Jeffrey Smith, 45, and he was released from the Clackamas County Jail.

“In the interest of justice, you can’t hold someone for long without arraigning them,” said Lt. James Rhodes, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “But I can say that while Mr. Smith was released from custody, this case is far from over, and we are continuing to investigate. At this point, we are considering a range of charges.”

Police were dispatched to Smith’s Hubbard-area house Sunday night after 9-1-1 calls saying Smith was heavily armed, suicidal and threatening to shoot other residents.

A SWAT team surrounded the house while hostage negotiators reached Smith by phone. “Mr. Smith told the negotiator he could see one of our officers and intended to shoot him,” Rhodes said.

So, when several deputies then spotted Smith at a second-story window, pointing what they believed to be a gun, one SWAT team member fired, hitting Smith in the arm. Smith retreated from the window and was taken into custody. After medical treatment, he was booked into the Clackamas County Jail.

Two subsequent searches of the house turned up no guns. Rhodes said it’s possible that the gun deputies saw was hidden very well or otherwise disposed of — or that Smith simulated pointing a gun. Detectives are re-interviewing residents of Smith’s house who told authorities that he was heavily armed. They also may seek another search warrant, Rhodes said.

 

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Suicidal Hubbard man shot, wounded, charged with attempted murder after five-hour standoff with SWAT team

Posted by Jenny on 15th January 2013

By Rick Bella, The Oregonian, Jan. 14, 2013

Paul Jeffrey Smith

Paul Jeffrey Smith

A tense, five-hour standoff with a heavily armed, suicidal Hubbard-area man ended early Monday when the man was shot by a Clackamas County SWAT team member.

The man, Paul Jeffrey Smith, was wounded in the arm. He was rushed by ambulance to Silverton Hospital, where he was treated and released — then immediately arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and menacing.

Lt. James Rhodes, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said Smith, 45, periodically approached windows on his home near South Meridian and Whiskey Hill roads, holding various weapons.

“The attempted murder charge stems from him pointing a firearm at a deputy with the intention to shoot,” Rhodes said. He said investigators have not determined whether Smith fired at deputies surrounding his house.

The standoff began shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, when emergency dispatchers received a report of an armed man making suicidal threats. A special weapons and tactics team and a hostage negotiating team were dispatched to the man’s home.

Rhodes said negotiators tried repeatedly to contact Smith, who refused to come out. Rhodes said negotiators also tried “loud-hailing” with megaphones.

“Repeated calls were made,” Rhodes said. “Whether they connected still has not been determined.”

Meanwhile, other residents of the property were safely evacuated.

Rhodes said a SWAT team member was placed on paid administrative leave, according to sheriff’s office protocol after officer-involved shootings. The shooting is under investigation by detectives from the sheriff’s office and other Clackamas County police agencies.

The SWAT team member’s name was not released.

Smith is being held without bail in the Clackamas County Jail, where he has been placed on suicide watch. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Clackamas County Circuit Court Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and menacing.

Rhodes said the menacing charge stems from a domestic dispute in Smith’s home.

Rhodes said the sheriff’s office is seeking information about Smith and the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s confidential tip line at 503-723-4949. Confidential text messages can be sent to CRIMES (274637 on a cell phone keypad), with the keyword “CCSO” as the first word in the message.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Officers describe difficulties in day-to-day crisis response

Posted by Jenny on 12th December 2012

By Andrea Damewood, Willamette Week, Dec. 12, 2012

Officer Casey Hettman

Officer Casey Hettman

It’s an otherwise slow Monday night, but Officer Casey Hettman is tense. He and two other Portland police officers move through a dingy hallway and flank the locked apartment door.

Behind the door is an agitated man who believes President Obama is ordering him to kill.

The cops have been summoned to the Helen M Swindells Apartments in Old Town by the man’s county social worker, who believes he’s become a risk to himself or others.

The social worker tells the cop the man inside suffers from mental illness. He wants cops to put the man on a mental-health hold and deliver him to a hospital for observation.

Oh, and one thing, the social worker says: He likes to fight cops.

The social worker knocks. The officers brace themselves. Nothing.

Hettman is thinking, What’s this guy doing? Maybe this guy is getting something to hurt us?

“It’s not until that door opens,” Hettman says later, “and you can see their hands, see their face.”

Hettman and the other officers are about to enter what are often the most critical moments between police and those in a mental-health crisis: the first 30 seconds of contact.

That’s when officers have to spot the warning signs of someone who may have lost touch with reality—the person’s motion, tone, level of aggression—and decide whether the threat to their own safety outweighs the needs of the person they’re supposed to be helping.

In the past, the choices a few Portland police officers have made in these pivotal few seconds prompted a U.S. Department of Justice investigation and a finding in September that cops have a “pattern and practice” of using excessive force against people with mental illness.

Portland quickly reached a settlement with the DOJ and scrambled to find $5.3 million to beef up social services, create a triage center, and expand units of officers trained to deal with the mentally ill.

Mayor-elect Charlie Hales and Police Chief Mike Reese (whom Hales plans to keep on the job) say they will also demand better investigation when cops do use their fists, baton, pepper spray, Taser or gun.

Beneath this tone of compliance runs an undercurrent of resistance and resentment. Reese, while talking about being a reformer, had earlier signaled he disagreed with the DOJ’s findings. And the Portland Police Association, the city’s police union, says the DOJ settlement threatens the safety of front-line officers.

And it’s simply hard to buck the decades-long attitude of police, says Mike Stafford, a former training coordinator at the state’s police academy. Stafford says police are trained to protect themselves first and face the consequences for their actions later.

“A common saying is, ‘It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six,’” he says.

Missing in this debate have been the voices of the officers themselves.

Over the past several weeks, WW has ridden with officers on patrol, watched how they deal with people with mental illness, and talked to them at length about what the proposed changes will mean.

Some say a fundamental cultural shift in the bureau’s attitudes about the use of force is inevitable. But many others echo the union’s view that the DOJ settlement means greater risk to officers.

“The DOJ appears to be willing to sacrifice police lives,” Officer Kevin Macho, who patrols the East Precinct, tells WW. “A Portland officer, I believe, is going to get killed because of hesitation.”

In fact, all the plans and money that will be spent may overshadow a central truth: Some officers are simply more adept and flexible than others in their approach to people with mental illness. They’re the ones less willing to default to using force. In other words, they get the problem.

The question facing the city is whether the new DOJ-imposed strategy will keep officers who don’t get it away from those with mental illness.

Officer Brad Yakots

Officer Brad Yakots

The door of the apartment in the Swindells opens, and Hettman and his partner, Brad Yakots, see why it took so long for the man inside to respond: He’s using a walker.

The cops loosen their tight shoulders a little. They tell him they are taking him for a mental-health hold, and it requires putting him in handcuffs. “Can I have a cigarette first?” the man asks.

Yakots says sure. Hettman and the third officer, James Escobar, guide the cuffed man down the hall. It’s a slow shuffle, and the man’s pants slide down his hips. He complains, so Yakots—28, with a runner’s build and close-cropped red hair—hikes them back up for him. They put the man in a patrol car. He never gets his smoke.

Later that day, the officers say most incidents with people suffering from mental illness go without incident.

“This guy has a walker and is probably not much of a threat,” says Hettman, 31, who is tall and still lives up to his college nickname of “Skinny.”

“But what if he has a gun or a knife and wants to kill me? We’re constantly having to make split-second decisions.”

With Oregon’s broken mental-health system, Portland’s police are often de facto front-line social workers. Police estimate they come into contact with 1234s (their dispatch code for person in crisis) more than 34,000 times a year, although they lack a good way to track such calls.

The DOJ settlement calls for reinstituting a team of officers whose first duty is to deal with the mentally ill.

Portland gives all officers crisis intervention training, or CIT. But the voluntary CIT team is supposed to put the best-trained cops between the mentally ill and typical beat officers, and it may include Yakots and Hettman.

The two have been partners for 2½ years—a rarity, given that most patrol officers work alone. In that time, they’ve made 921 arrests and used force 12 times.

Their number of arrests is high by department standards. But their use of force is low—just over 1 percent. Overall, Portland officers used force in 3.86 percent of arrests in 2011.

“Your tongue is the biggest tool in dealing with people in crisis,” Yakots says as the car drives near Central Precinct. “Casey and I have different strengths, and we deal well with people who aren’t playing with a full deck that day.”

That’s part of the reason Yakots and Hettman signed up for the latest version of a crisis intervention team.

Details of how large the CIT squad will be, and how much more training its members will get are still being worked out, Reese says. But the team will surely get far more than the 40 hours of standard mental-health training every line officer gets each year.

The Police Bureau declined to give WW a list of officers who applied for the CIT squad, but it says 56 cops, or about 15 percent of the department’s 365 patrol officers, signed up.

Portland had the state’s first CIT program, from 1995 to 2006. A small band of officers who had volunteered handled as many crisis cases as possible. The unit had some success, but high-profile deaths still occurred when no officer from the CIT team was on the scene or available.

James Chasse

James Chasse

That includes Jose Mejia Poot, a day laborer who was on a mental-health hold when an officer gunned him down inside the BHC-Pacific Gateway Hospital in Sellwood in 2001. CIT officers had already calmed Poot earlier that day, but hospital staff called when Poot got out of a secured area. Poot, who could not speak English, tore off a strip of an aluminum door frame and threatened staff. CIT cops weren’t available a second time, and the two officers who showed up shot him dead.

CIT officers also weren’t on hand for the death of James Chasse in 2006. Chasse was a mentally ill man police chased and knocked down in the Pearl District, believing he had urinated in the street. An autopsy showed he had 26 broken bones, including 16 of his ribs, some of which punctured a lung. The city later paid Chasse’s family $1.6 million to settle a wrongful death case.

In response, then-Mayor Tom Potter required all officers to get 40 hours of annual crisis intervention training—but then did away with a dedicated CIT team.

Chris Bouneff, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Oregon, says the DOJ’s demand that Portland reinstate the CIT team is a positive sign.

Having officers with advanced mental-health training will help, he says, but it will require one important thing: that the CIT squad is big enough to respond whenever needed.

“There are officers who just don’t think it’s necessary,” Bouneff says. “You don’t want those officers dealing with people in a mental-health crisis.”

In the past, many officers didn’t see CIT as a way to get ahead in the bureau. Now, Yakots and Hettman say, they see it as an essential skill set for a cop.

“Attitudes will change,” Hettman says, “and the more senior people and the holdouts, they won’t have a choice but to change.”

Officer Herb Miller, 47, was a truck driver and National Guardsman before joining the Portland Police Bureau 15 years ago. He’s spent most of his time on the force dealing with the mentally ill, as one of the original members of the CIT unit and then spending a year on the bureau’s Mobile Crisis Unit. That assignment—limited to a year—ended in June.

Brad Yakots (L) and Casey Hettman (R) with unidentified person

Brad Yakots (L) and Casey Hettman (R) with unidentified person

The MCU is supposed to help people with mental illness who show up frequently on cops’ radar, before they have another confrontation with officers. The mobile unit consists of one sworn officer and a social worker with Project Respond, which is run by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, a private mental-health agency.

The DOJ settlement calls for expanding the availability of the unit. It doesn’t involve any extra training, but the bureau says the close on-the-ground work provides a wealth of knowledge.

Miller found a special draw to both the crisis intervention team and the mobile unit: Both his nephew and niece committed suicide.

“Somehow, with my training and experience, if I can help prevent that tragedy for someone else’s family, that would be rewarding,” Miller says.

Yet his time on the MCU was often frustrating. He and his partner tracked one man with mental problems who they knew had a gun. But under the law, the MCU team can’t force anyone into treatment, and can’t arrest anyone until they become a danger to themselves or others.

Last October, the man locked himself in his apartment and was pointing his gun out the window at people in the street. The situation ended peacefully, but only after it turned into a lengthy negotiation and an evacuation of the building.

“We had done all of that work ahead of time,” Miller says. “We still weren’t able to intervene and prevent the incident from happening. I saw the whole trajectory of the way it went, and we couldn’t intervene until he crossed the line.

“I had no more control or power than a regular officer.”

PPB officersBecause of his experience, Miller says he signed up for the CIT this time around out of a sense of obligation.

But the price of keeping beat cops apart from the mentally ill may be the psychological toll it takes on the officers who specialize in crisis intervention.

Hettman, during his first week as an officer, watched a woman he was trying to help jump from the Fremont Bridge to the pavement below; he heard her hit the ground. “That was my rude awakening to the mental-health issue,” he says.

Miller couldn’t save a man who jumped from the Vista Bridge. “Things like that get to you,” he says. “You have to compartmentalize it and leave it at work.”

And for these front-line teams, the psychological toll can mount.

“Going in as a CIT officer, they’re going in with a sense of, ‘OK I’ve been trained to help these people,’” says John Nicoletti, whose Denver-based firm, Nicoletti-Flater Associates, specializes in police psychology.

“When that doesn’t work, especially when it’s a traumatic ending like a suicide, you get the combination of the trauma, and second-guessing of what you could have done differently.”

Officers say that since the DOJ started its investigation in June 2011, they’ve been increasingly reluctant to use force, even when they think they should. The bureau says it was shifting its culture before that: Statistics show use of force has declined 33 percent since 2008.

But some cops say the DOJ report has created a chilling—and dangerous— effect.

During one ride-along WW took with police, three officers responded to a domestic-violence call at an apartment near Southeast Glisan Street and 106th Avenue. A pregnant woman was hurt, but she insisted she had fallen and that her boyfriend—with face tattoos and a bad attitude—hadn’t pushed her.

The angry boyfriend was bigger than the officers. In the end, they didn’t need to make an arrest—despite their fears they might have to use force to do it.

“I thought for a minute we would have to go hands-on,” one officer, Michael Roberts, says.

“I was just thinking about the Taser,” says another, Josh Silverman.

“I’m too scared to Taser now,” Roberts answers. “You gotta go hands-on.”

Silverman, 28, has been a cop for three years (he is a former WW intern) and says his academy training put an enormous emphasis on officers protecting themselves—be it with less-than-lethal weapons, or by going “hands-on,” using holds and other physical tactics to gain control.

“When you get out of the academy,” he says, “you think there are ninjas waiting around every corner to attack you.”

If there is a chilling effect from the DOJ stalling the use of force, some critics say it’s good—if only because police training has instilled too much paranoia among officers.

“There are people who walk the streets all the time thinking someone is going to hurt them,” says Dan Handelman, director of Portland Copwatch. “And they’re the ones we call mentally ill.”

Eriks Gabliks, director of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, says the police academy’s 16-week course has increased its role-playing scenarios on how to better communicate and diffuse situations. And as of Jan. 1, all cops-in-training will get 15 hours of mental and behavioral health training, up from 12.

The FBI, which tracks officer deaths nationwide, doesn’t keep statistics on at what point in an encounter an officer is killed. It also doesn’t track the mental health of those who kill cops intentionally.

The FBI does say that 72 American law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2011. Two were in Oregon, including one Eugene officer shot by a woman with severe mental illness.

Officer Macho, from the East Precinct, counters that he’s got a pinkie finger and a thumb that no longer fully function because he was afraid to use the appropriate level of force to end a volatile arrest. He tore the tendons of his pinkie chasing down and arresting a juvenile vandal; he tweaked the thumb when he says he was attempting to keep a man from punching him. In both cases, he says that four years ago, he would have used a Taser.

“With what’s come down from the Department of Justice, the public’s the real loser on this because there are many times when the officer feels like he’s got to choose between career survival and actually jumping in when he would have in the past.”

The DOJ report, Macho says, was a “hack job”—noting the report found fault with five cases out of thousands of arrests.

“What percentage of human beings get it as right as often as we do?” Macho asks.

Bouneff, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says the Clackamas and Marion county sheriff’s departments both have good reputations for the way they handle people in mental crises.

Both agencies started crisis intervention training in 2005, without an outside mandate, such as the one the DOJ has imposed on the Portland police.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts added crisis intervention training only one month after taking office. “[Roberts] had identified there was a need for better training related to mental-health issues for deputies,” says department spokesman Sgt. Adam Phillips.

Clackamas doesn’t have a CIT team—Phillips says the county is too spread out to reliably dispatch a team. In Marion County, all deputies have received crisis intervention training, and those who want it can get advanced training.

“Voluntary programs around the country are really the most successful,” says Deputy Kevin Rau, formerly the Marion County Sheriff’s Department’s training coordinator.

What will success look like in Portland? The DOJ settlement calls for a series of quantitative measurements to see if the Portland police are making improvements: for example, use of force against those with real or perceived mental illness; the number of officers who frequently use force; the rate of Taser use; and complaints against cops.

Hales says he’s also looking at a more subjective measure, what he calls a more “modern and humane” police force.

“Are people that you talk to about the Police Bureau ready to call when there’s a problem on their street?” Hales says. “Or are they wary about calling?”

Yakots and Hettman can’t help but notice the irony in one recent call.

They were the first on the scene Nov. 26 after neighbors called police to a downtown apartment complex, where an 81-year-old man was hallucinating that cops were being shot and killed in his hallway. He was swinging a hatchet and had already chopped through a fire door to reach the imaginary police officers who had been shot.

The cops drew their guns. “He’s trying to save police officers,” Yakots recalls, “and we might actually wind up having to hurt the guy.”

They didn’t. They gave him clear commands, and he let them cuff him for a mental-health hold. He’s since been committed and could be in a mental-health facility for as long as six months.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

What happened to Michael Justin Evans

Posted by admin2 on 15th August 2012

Summary: On August 15, 2012 Michael Justin Evans was shot and killed by Gladstone police officers in front of his home. Police knew Evans was a person with a mental illness.

Man dead in officer-involved shooting in Gladstone

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The incident took place about 10:30 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairfield Street.

Gladstone police have said little about the shooting so far. Officers were responding to a report of a domestic disturbance when the shooting took place.

The department asked the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team to investigate the shooting.


Gladstone man killed by police had mental health problem, friend says

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The man fatally shot by police late Tuesday has been identified by a family friend as Michael Justin Evans.

Evans had mental health and substance abuse problems, said Michelle Darnell, 46, the longtime girlfriend of Evans’ father. Darnell lives in Gladstone, not far from where Evans was shot in an encounter with police.

Darnell said Evans’ father, Dean Evans, left home late Tuesday to smoke a cigarette with his son. When he arrived, she said, “all that commotion was going on.”

“The cops shot my son!” he told her in a phone call from the scene on West Fairfield Street. “The cops shot my son.”

Said Darnell: “He was freaking out, which is understandable.”

She said Michael Evans lived with his maternal grandmother. She said he was out of work.

Darnell and Dean Evans were smoking cigarettes about 10:30 p.m. when they heard what sounded like four gunshots in the neighborhood.

Jennifer Lee, Michael Evans’ next-door neighbor, thought she heard three gunshots from her living room, where she sleeps with her son. She said police later told her it was four.

“I thought he was a nice kid,” she said. “My husband would loan him tools when he needed it.”

The neighborhood was quiet early this morning. An orange outline of a body was spray-painted on the front lawn of the house where Evans lived.

Another longtime friend said Evans joined AA at age 14, and had a long list of arrests. Jim Reynolds, 22, said police had been to Evans’ house dozens of times.

“They all knew his first, middle and last name,” Reynolds said. “They knew he was a mentally ill kid.”

Reynolds said Evans’ confrontations are usually “intense,” but not violent.

“I don’t know why they had to shoot him four times,” Reynolds said.


1 dead after Gladstone police respond to domestic disturbance

From KGW.com, August 15, 2012

A man was shot and died after police officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers were dispatched to the 300 block of W. Fairfield. The name of the dead man, 23, was not released because relatives have not been notified.

Gladstone police asked the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team to investigate the shooting. No other information was released.

A neighbor who lives a few houses down from the shooting scene said he heard five shots fired. A second heard four shots.

A man who said he was the father of the deceased told KGW that he had some issues but should not have been shot dead by police.


Father of man killed by police: ‘He had some problems’

From KATU.com, August 15, 2012

A 23-year-old man is dead after an officer-involved shooting Tuesday night, according to the Gladstone Police Department.

Police said they responded to the 300 block of West Fairfield by Beatrice on a domestic disturbance call just after 10:30 p.m. They said shortly after their arrival shots were fired and the man was killed.

Dean Michael Evans, who identified himself as the victim’s father, told KATU News shortly after the shooting that his son was depressed and talked of dying by suicide-by-cop prior to the shooting.

“He had depression. He had some problems. But he didn’t deserve this,” Evans said. “I just don’t see my son causing this kind of a problem, where they had to shoot him.”

Evans said his son had a knife and was just looking for his phone when he was shot.

He said he didn’t think police had to shoot and kill his son and said they could have just shot him in the leg or some other non-vital area. Evans said he did not know specifically what led to the shooting when he spoke to KATU News.

He said he was on his way over to visit his son before the shooting.

One neighbor, Liz Nass, told KATU News “we heard four loud bangs” and a friend said it sounded like gunshots. Moments later, she said they saw several cars rushing to the sxcene.

Deputies with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Gladstone Police Department were on scene investigating the shooting Wednesday morning but cleared the scene at about 6 a.m.


Friends and neighbors, police records of Gladstone man shot by police paint conflicting pictures

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

Jim Reynolds showed up just after 7 a.m. to examine the orange spray-painted outline of the body of his lifelong friend Michael Justin Evans of Gladstone.

He parked at the end of the quiet block, filled with families and vacant homes, and walked to the house Evans shared with his maternal grandmother.

Reynolds looked calm, staring at the outline in the front yard, but his voice sounded angry when he saw the bloody patch of grass in the neck area of the outline.

“I don’t know why they had to shoot him four times,” Reynolds said, bitterly.

Gladstone Police responded to a domestic disturbance call before 11 p.m. Tuesday. Evans, 23, confronted officers with a knife, said Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde.

Two police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team. The officers’ names were not released.

Reynolds, 22, said he and Evans became friends at the age of 6. Evans struggled with mental illness and addiction his whole life, according to friends and neighbors. Reynolds said he joined Alcoholics Anonymous at 14.

“He’s been begging for help for many, many years,” Reynolds said.

Evans has a long list of run-ins and police often showed up at the house on the 300 block of West Fairfield Street in Gladstone. Reynolds said police were there just a couple of days ago because Evans was suspected of drug possession.

But Reynolds refused to believe Evans was a threat.

“Of course he’d come out screaming and yelling, but he’s harmless,” Reynolds said.

Next-door neighbor Jennifer Lee said Evans was a nice kid, and she was surprised by what happened.

“My husband would loan him tools when he needed it,” she said.

The porch light of the house was still on as the sun rose, illuminating Reynolds’ hat lightly as he stared at orange-and-blood-stained grass.

“It’s so young,” Reynolds said. “And (he’s) been begging for help for 10 years.”

However, Evans had a history of domestic disturbances and several previous run-ins with the law.

A Clackamas County judge issued a restraining order against him in March after his girlfriend, Chelsey Lynn Stoughton, 22, of Gladstone petitioned the court.

Meanwhile, when he was killed, Evans still was on probation from 2011 convictions for attempting to elude a police officer, a Class C felony, and reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor. Evans served seven days in jail as part of his sentence.

He also was on probation from contempt-of-court conviction last month.

Evans was cited for contempt of court in June, but the charge was dismissed.


Gladstone Police: Man killed by officer had knife

From KOIN.com, August 16, 2012

A 23-year-old man was killed late Tuesday night after police responded to a domestic disturbance. By Wednesday, Gladstone Police were saying the man who died was armed with a knife, which led to shots being fired by officers.

The timeline

The officer-involved shooting happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairview in Gladstone, emergency dispatchers said.

Specific details of the shooting were not immediately released, but a spokesperson for the police department issued a statement early Wednesday morning that said:

“On 08/14/12 at about 10:31 pm officers responded to the 300 block of W. Fairfield for a domestic disturbance. Shortly thereafter shots were fired. A 23 year old male is deceased and his identification is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Clackamas County Major Crimes Team is conducting the investigation at the request of the Gladstone Police Department. No further details will be released at this time do to the nature of the ongoing investigation.”

A man who identified himself as the father of the young man shot and killed told a KOIN-TV his son was depressed and may have wanted to be killed by officers.

The man said that he was visiting his son to check on him.

Police said the case will eventually be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review. This is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.

Around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, the Gladstone Police Department released the following statement:

“The investigation by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team continues regarding the officer-involved shooting in Gladstone last night around 10:35 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairfield. Witness accounts report the decedent was armed with a knife.

“Two Gladstone police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy. As the investigation continues, we hope to have an updated press release this afternoon.”

By the time of KOIN’s noon newscast Aug. 15, the following information had become clear:

Family and friends of 23 year old Michael Justin Evans say he was a troubled young man with a) a history of mental health issues and b) run-ins with police. Evans was shot and killed by Gladstone police Tuesday night, after they responded to reports of a domestic disturbance. Police and witnesses say he had a knife in his hand.

“It’s very sad,” said his father Dean Evans. “He was my oldest son, [and I] didn’t get a chance to talk to him since Thursday.”

Police are still not saying much about the circumstances leading up to the shooting. However, friends of Evans wonder if shooting and killing his son was warranted.

“To me, there could have been another way to handle it,” said David LaFore, a friend of the victim. “You know, I don’t care whether he had a knife or not.”

Meanwhile, a next door neighbor — who didn’t want to be identified — says one of the bullets hit the wall of her home, on the other side of her daughter’s bedroom.

“That’s my five-year-old daughter,” she points out, “and there’s a bullet hole in the side of our house that could have easily hit her.”

A memorial grows outside the home as the investigation into what happened continues.

Again, both Gladstone officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.


Gladstone man killed in police confrontation had history of addiction, mental illness, menacing behavior

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The knife-wielding man shot and killed Tuesday in a confrontation with Gladstone police had a history of erratic, menacing behavior, addiction and attempted suicide.

Michael Justin Evans, 23, was fatally shot by one of two Gladstone police officers dispatched around 10:30 p.m. to investigate a report that Evans was tearing apart the home he shared with his grandmother, Judie K. Reich, in the 300 block of West Fairfield Street.

On Wednesday, the orange spray-paint outline of his body remained on the sun-burned front lawn where he died.

Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde said one of the officers “fired multiple rounds and Mr. Evans died at the scene.” No other details were released.

The two officers, Steve Mixson and Christopher Spore, have been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team.

Those who know Evans said he led a troubled life gripped by mental illness and substance abuse, occasionally twisting him into someone unrecognizable.

According to Clackamas County 9-1-1 records, police were dispatched to his home 10 times in the past 20 months to investigate domestic disturbances, criminal mischief, noise complaints, suicide attempts and threats.

A former girlfriend filed for a restraining order against Evans five months ago, describing him as emotionally unstable.

“He has mental problems and cannot control himself,” Chelsey Lynn Stoughton, 22, wrote in her petition. “I am very scared because he is so unpredictable.”

Stoughton alleged that at various times, beginning in the fall of 2011, Evans stalked her, punched her, pushed her against a wall, held her by the throat, threatened to rape her in her sleep and threatened to kill them both by crashing their car.

“Mike takes medication that alters his thinking and at the time (of an assault) was on methadone because of heroin addiction,” Stoughton wrote.

She said Evans attempted suicide several times.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Stoughton declined to comment.

When he was killed, Evans still was on probation from 2011 convictions for attempting to elude a police officer, a Class C felony, and reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor. Evans served seven days in jail as part of his sentence.

He also was on probation from a conviction last month for contempt of court.

A neighbor said Evans often drove too fast through the neighborhood, tearing around sharp turns at 50 mph without checking for children, the elderly or pets.

“It was scary sometimes,” he said.

Michelle Darnell, 46, said she and Dean Evans — Michael Evans’ father — were smoking cigarettes at her nearby home about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when they heard what sounded like four gunshots. Dean Evans then went over to his son’s nearby home.

He arrived to find “all this commotion” and called Darnell, yelling, “The cops shot my son! The cops shot my son!”

“He was freaking out, which is understandable,” Darnell said.

Evans’ case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving police and the mentally ill in recent years.

Officers dispatched to his home should have been advised of Evans’ history of attempted suicide and mental illness, but Gladstone police declined to provide a detailed accounting of events leading up to the shooting. They also declined to provide information about mental health protocols and training the department provides.

But in cases where an armed person confronts officers, force escalates quickly.

Sgt. Adam Phillips, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said officers’ first obligation is to prevent threats from getting out of hand.

“Our loose rule of thumb is that a person, from a dead stop, can cover 21 feet in about 1 1/2 seconds,” he said. “That doesn’t give you much time to react.”


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Families of women killed by off-duty Clackamas deputy file $8 million lawsuit

Posted by admin2 on 10th February 2012

Jeffrey Grahn

Jeffrey Grahn

By Steve Mayes, The Oregonian , Feb. 9, 2012

The families of two women murdered by an off-duty Clackamas County sheriff’s sergeant filed an $8 million lawsuit Thursday, alleging that the county, Sheriff Craig Roberts and two of his top aides knew the man was dangerously unstable but failed to intervene.

Roberts and other defendants knew Sgt. Jeffrey A. Grahn presented a threat to his wife, Charlotte, and that he was emotionally unsteady, angry, depressed and had substance-abuse problems, according to the wrongful-death lawsuit filed in Multnomah County.

On Feb. 12, 2010, Grahn confronted Charlotte Grahn and two of her friends, Victoria Schulmerich and Kathleen Hoffmeister, at the M&M Restaurant & Lounge.

Ashley Grahn holds her brother, Kyle, during a 2010 remembrance for their mother, Charlotte.  (Photo: Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian)

Ashley Grahn holds her brother, Kyle, during a 2010 remembrance for their mother, Charlotte. (Photo: Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian)

Grahn, who was legally drunk, entered the Gresham bar, argued with his wife and threw a drink in Schulmerich’s face. He then grabbed Charlotte Grahn by her hair, pulled her outside and shot her in the head with a Glock .40-caliber pistol. He returned to the bar with his gun drawn and killed Schulmerich and Hoffmeister with shots to the head.

Grahn again went outside and, standing next to his wife’s body, committed suicide.

The Schulmerich and Hoffmeister families each are seeking $3.5 million for loss of companionship and the women’s pain and suffering. The families are asking almost $1 million more in lost earnings and expenses.

The family of Charlotte Grahn has not filed a lawsuit and has until 5 p.m. Friday to do so.

 

A year before the killings, the Sheriff’s Office received reports that Grahn was abusive and potentially explosive and asked the Portland Police Bureau to investigate.

Victoria Schulmerich

Victoria Schulmerich

“The Sheriff’s Office knew that Grahn was violent, abusive, and out of control. They were specifically warned that he was likely to kill his wife, his family, and himself. Nonetheless, the Sheriff’s Office intervened to prevent the Portland Police from sending their investigation of Grahn to the Clackamas County District Attorney. Now, four people are dead,” said Greg Kafoury of Kafoury & McDougal law firm, which represents the Hoffmeister estate.

Kathleen Hoffmeister

Kathleen Hoffmeister

If the case goes to trial, it will shed light on how the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies handle domestic violence issues involving their employees. Roberts and Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote or his second-in-command could be called to testify.

Charlotte Grahn

Charlotte Grahn

The DA’s office maintains it should be advised of domestic violence incidents  involving sheriff’s deputies.

The county received a copy of the lawsuit Thursday afternoon but declined to address the allegations. “At the insistence of the county counsel, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will offer no specific comments in the matter of former employee Jeffrey A. Grahn,” Sgt. James Rhodes, sheriff’s spokesman, said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the victims of this tragedy, their families and all those affected.”

According to police reports obtained by The Oregonian, Charlotte Grahn allegedly told one of her husband’s co-workers, a deputy, that she was the victim of domestic violence but the deputy did not report the incident.

The reports also show that a couple — both law enforcement officers and long-time friends of the Grahns — told the Sheriff’s Office they had serious concerns about Jeffrey Grahn’s behavior. The friends and Charlotte Grahn’s sister “fear .. that they will receive a phone call one day that Jeffrey has killed everybody in his family then himself,” according to a report written by Undersheriff Dave Kirby in April 2009, 10 months before the shootings. One of the friends said Grahn had “gone off the deep end” and drinks “like there’s no tomorrow,” Kirby noted.

Charlotte Grahn told an investigator that Jeffrey Grahn exhibited signs of depression and suicidal behavior and was worried that if it became known he had obtained a prescription for anti-depressants, it could affect his employment.

Portland police investigators said Grahn was depressed, angry, drinking heavily and occasionally suicidal.

Portland police routinely enlist help from the district attorney’s office when investigating domestic violence involving officers and requested that the Clackamas County District Attorney be brought in.

Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. Graham Phalen, who is assigned to the internal affairs unit, asked investigators to “hold off” on contacting the district attorney’s office, according to a memo written by one of the Portland investigators. Phalen also was named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the Schulmerich and Hoffmeister families.

Phalen concluded that the evidence did not support criminal charges against Grahn.

 WATCH:

 

 

 

 

READ:

Charlotte Grahn

Charlotte Grahn

Two dead, two injured in Gresham bar shooting – KATU.com, Feb. 12, 2010

Police: Gresham bar was shot up by an officer – KATU.com, Feb. 13, 2010

Brother-in-law describes gunman as ‘control freak’ – KGW.com, Feb. 13, 2010

Deputy’s shooting rampage sparks damage control – KATU.com, Feb. 13, 2010

Off-duty Ore. cop kills self, wife, one other – PoliceOne.com, Feb. 15, 2010

Clackamas deputy, wife appeared to be reconciling before fatal shooting – The Oregonian, Feb. 15, 2010

Charlotte Grahn expressed fear before murder-suicide, relative says – The Oregonian, Feb. 15, 2010

Before his own burst of violence, Clackamas deputy worked in trauma intervention – The Oregonian, Feb. 16, 2010

Victoria Schulmerich

Victoria Schulmerich

Separate services planned for husband, wife killed in murder-suicide – The Oregonian, Feb. 17, 2010

Domestic-abuse allegation preceded Clackamas deputy’s murder-suicide – The Oregonian, Feb. 19, 2010

The secret that’s still hidden away – The Oregonian, Feb. 21, 2010

Woman injured in shooting at Gresham’s M&M Lounge in critical condition – The Oregonian, Feb. 24, 2010

Victoria Schulmerich, victim in Gresham shooting, succumbs to injuries – The Oregonian, Feb. 25, 2010

Third victim shot by off-duty deputy in Gresham dies – KGW.com, Feb. 25, 2010

Documents: Friends, family worried for safety of wife killed by deputy – KGW.com, Feb. 26, 2010

Sister of shooting victim Charlotte Grahn warned police of murder-suicide threat – The Oregonian, Feb. 26, 2010

Gresham police release report on M&M Lounge murder-suicide – The Oregonian, Feb. 28, 2010

Kathleen Hoffmeister

Kathleen Hoffmeister

Gresham bar where off-duty Sgt. killed 3 women, self plans Sunday fundraiser – The Oregonian, March 12, 2010

Memorial for woman murdered in Gresham – KGW.com, March 15, 2010

Murder victim’s kids thank supporters – KGW.com, March 15, 2010

Clackamas deputy was intoxicated before murder-suicide in Gresham – The Oregonian, March 18, 2010

Clackamas sheriff’s office prevented DA from helping investigate deputy, memo says – The Oregonian, May 21, 2010

Today’s headlines: Clackamas County authorities had multiple complaints about cop who shot wife, friends and self – The Oregonian, May 22, 2010

Football camp set at Barlow to benefit shooting victims’ families – The Oregonian, July 15, 2010

Husband seeks compensation in Clackamas sergeant’s murder-suicide – The Oregonian, July 28, 2010

Clackamas County commissioners will appoint a special committee to review Sheriff’s Office personnel policies – The Oregonian, Aug. 31, 2010

The M&M Lounge, where the shooting took place.  (Photo: KATU)

The M&M Lounge, where the shooting took place. (Photo: KATU)

Clackamas declares October Domestic Violence Awareness Month – The Oregonian, Sept. 30, 2010

Clackamas sheriff promises zero tolerance of domestic violence – The Oregonian, Jan. 11, 2011

Clackamas sheriff reaffirms order against domestic violence; pledges to improve hiring, training, discipline – The Oregonian, Jan. 21, 2011

Lawsuit seeks $8M in murders by Ore. sergeant – The Columbian (Clark County, WA), Feb. 9, 2012

Lawsuit filed by victims’ families seeks $8M in murders by Clackamas County, Ore., sergeant – The Republic (Columbus, Indiana), Feb. 10, 2012

Witness who watched deputy shooting spree: ‘It was just so surreal’ – KATU.com, Feb. 13, 2010

Veteran cop revealed as gunman in murder/suicide – Salem-News.com, Feb. 14, 2010

Clackamas County commissioners accept ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on domestic violence – The Oregonian, Feb. 15, 2011

Family ‘devastated’ by Gresham murder-suicide – The Outlook, Feb. 16, 2010

Message regarding the recent tragedy from Steve Hyson

Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation newsletter

Feb. 18, 2010

Beloved citizens of Clackamas County and all of Oregon,

On Friday, February 12thone of our CCPOA members, Jeffrey Grahn committed an incomprehensible act when he took the life of his wife, Charlotte, and the life of Kathleen Hoffmeister, and the critical wounding of Victoria Schulmerich.  On behalf of all CCPOA members I wanted to express my deepest sorrow for the family members of all victims’.  I want the public to know that Jeff Grahn’s actions in no way are condoned by the members of CCPOA and the Sheriff’s Office.

As CCPOA President I worked to found the Clackamas County Peace Officer’s Benevolent Foundation.  One of the core mission’s of the Benevolent Foundation is to assist at risk youth and victims of crimes.  The Benevolent Foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of police officer’s from several agencies as well as police administrators, and citizens from the public.  The Benevolent Foundation has worked diligently to provide assistance to people and to other charitable organizations.  Some of the projects we support have included; Orphan Relief, The Madonna Center, Special Olympics, The Children’s Center of Oregon City, The Lot Whitcomb Fields Project and many other charitable programs.  The Benevolent Foundation has also reached out to help people including the support of Jake French who suffered a disabling injury to aid in his recovery.  The Benevolent Foundation is also proud to fund a program known as Shop with a Cop where we provided financial support at Christmas time to assist children affected by poverty and crime.

Today, the Benevolent Foundations Board of Directors approved $10,000 to assist the families of all the victims affected by this incident.  The Benevolent Foundation has established the Charlotte Grahn Memorial Fund and opened a bank account at Wells Fargo to collect donations which will help support all the victim’s families of this dread incident.  You can make donations directly to the Clackamas County Peace Officer’s Benevolent Foundation, or at any branch of Wells Fargo.

For more information on the Benevolent Foundation, please visit our website at www.ccpobf.org.

As President of the Clackamas County Peace Officer’s Association, I assure you that we have sworn our lives to protect and serve you.  CCPOA has been very proactive in working to help build positive relationships with the community where we live, and to whom we serve.  Please do not let the actions of this one person, who was acting on his own, to negatively impact our valued and trusted relationship.

Sincerely,

Steve Hyson

CCPOA President

CCPO Benevolent Foundation President

 

A shooting victim is rushed to a waiting ambulance. (Photo: KATU)

A shooting victim is rushed to a waiting ambulance. (Photo: KATU)

 

The M&M Restaurant in Gresham. (Photo: Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian)

The M&M Restaurant in Gresham. (Photo: Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian)

 

After the shooting, what appears to be a bullet hole in a front window of the M&M Lounge.  (Photo: Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian)

After the shooting, what appears to be a bullet hole in a front window of the M&M Lounge. (Photo: Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian)

 

Front page of The Oregonian, May 22, 2010

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »