1 in 6 people has a common mental illness at some point in their life (Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2000).
About 1% of the population experience schizophrenia at some point in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
About 1% of the population experience manic depression at some point in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
1 in 200 people have experienced a psychotic illness in the last year (Singleton, Psychiatric Morbidity, 2000).
The average age of onset of psychotic symptoms is 22 (Department of Health, 2001)
Deprived areas and rural districts have the highest levels of mental health problems and suicides (ONS, 2001).
People from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds are 3-5 times more likely than others to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia. (Mental Health Foundation, 1999)
About 25% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will make a full recovery; about 60% of people will have fluctuating symptoms; about 10-15% of people experience long term incapacity (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
35% of people with mental illness are unemployed but want to work (ONS, 2003), the highest want to work rate of any disability.
Only 1 in 4 employers said that they would knowingly employ someone with a history of mental illness (Manning et al, 1995).
Three quarters of employers say that it would be difficult or impossible to employ someone diagnosed with schizophrenia (DWP, 2003).
Less than 5% of people who kill a stranger have symptoms of mental illness (Department of Health, 2001).
People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violence (Walsh, 2003).
More than 1 in 4 people with severe mental illness report being shunned when seeking help (Rethink, 2003).
30% of GPs’ time is spent with people with mental health problems (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (Maudsley Monograph, 2002).
44% of people with mental health problems report discrimination from general practioners, such as physical health problems not being taken seriously (Mental Health Foundation, 2002).
Almost 80% of carers for someone with a severe mental illness say that caring has had an impact on own their mental health (Rethink, 2003).
Almost 80% of carers for someone with a severe mental illness say that caring has had an impact on their own physical health (Rethink, 2003).
Only 48% of mental health professionals know about local policies on sharing information with carers (Rethink/IoP, 2006).
Mental health problems cost the economy untold billions per year through care costs, economic losses and premature death. (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2003).
21% of people with schizophrenia have a dual diagnosis (Cantwell, 2003).
Up to half of people dependent on alcohol have a mental health problem (Turning Point, 2003).
People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die 10 years younger due to physical health problems (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2000) and have double the average rate of heart disease (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2006) and five times the average rate of diabetes (Department of Health, 2004).
People with severe mental illness smoke twice as much as average, do half as much exercise and eat less fruit and vegetables than average (Running on empty report, 2005).
Alien Boy Showtimes
April 23 - 5:30 PM
“Infuriating, tragic, heartbreaking and incendiary in equal measures... plays out like a horror film and leaves you absolutely breathless.”
~ AP Kryza, Willamette Week
The thought was hard to escape. If life had gone just a little bit differently—if the feds had waited to crack down on Portland cops for years of rough treatment of the mentally ill, if Occupy Portland hadn’t sprouted right when it did in 2011, if last year’s mayoral election hadn’t shaped up as a frantic fundraising race—Mike Reese might still be sitting down with me.But he wouldn’t be in uniform.We’d be a few blocks away from his spacious office on the 15th floor of downtown’s Central Precinct. We’d be on the third floor of city hall—in the mayor’s office.
That isn’t, of course, what came to pass. Reese, who became chief in May 2010, only briefly chased the job eventually won by Charlie Hales. He bowed out just early enough to keep things from being too awkward when Hales officially became, as of this month, Reese’s boss. And now? Reese says he wants to stay right where he is—joining, if Hales lets him, the ranks of Portland’s longest-tenured police chiefs.
That won’t be so easy. Though he could choose at any point to float off into a young retiree’s life of guitar practice, youth sports coaching, and running, Reese will instead guide the police bureau as it enters into its most tumultuous chapter in decades.
Federal reforms will force new limits in how officers use force, fire Tasers, and interact with mentally ill people—a potentially unsettling shift for the rank and file that’s already sparked tension with the police union, the Portland Police Association (PPA). Money is tight, raising the specter of job cuts. And police accountability groups, despite a palpable opening of the bureau under Reese, still rail at an institution they see as too insular and self-interested to ever create real change.
The chief talked about all of it during a wide-ranging interview earlier this month. Responses are slightly edited for length and clarity.
MERCURY: Let’s start with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement. The court process is obviously still unfolding, but the federal judge overseeing the agreement has also said the city and the feds are free to privately implement whatever they want while waiting for his blessing.
REESE: We’re moving forward on critical issues irrespective of what happens at the courthouse. We’re forming a behavioral health unit—selecting officers and creating an advisory board. We’re working on training for crisis intervention officers and the selection process for those folks. We’re going to move forward as quickly as possible, being mindful that there is a process. We want to get the advisory board in place and have them help us design some of the training.
I’ve met with the head of the [local chapter of] the National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI] and some of their constituents. We want Cascadia and Central City Concern and Transition Projects to be part of that, and other treatment providers, too.
How close is the crisis intervention team to launching?
We had 55 people apply. We’ll take everybody who meets the standards. So if we have 55 officers who want the job, and they have no performance issues and they’re hard-working and their supervisors think they’re right, we’ll train them all.
We want to move forward on the Taser policy. We want to make sure our officers are trained on recent court rulings and community expectations. We are at the final stages of getting feedback from the Portland Police Association and the Department of Justice. Then we’re going to start training on it. And our overall use of force policy? Same thing.
What are you hearing from PPA President Daryl Turner? He’s been critical of the process.
The PPA was frustrated that they weren’t at the table during our negotiations with the DOJ. But the DOJ was very clear that conversations were confidential and between the city and the Department of Justice. We recognize there might be labor contract implications, and that’s written into the agreement.
Some changes, like assigning sergeants to go out to do hands-on use of force investigations, happened months before the settlement took shape. But you told community groups you wanted to wait before tightening the bureau’s Taser policy. How did you draw that distinction?
With the Taser policy, we had a lot of conversations with community groups. So that took a while. And then there were some court cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that we were waiting for, to give us guidance on overall Taser policy. That happened probably in July or August. By then we knew the Department of Justice findings were going to come out. They were telling us it was going to be soon, so we said let’s wait on what happens with that before moving forward.
Both the Department of Justice and the police bureau sought a different model than the one we have. The DOJ had looked at other cities that had a single location to drop people off. We used to have that model. It worked very well for us, so we strongly advocated for it.
They have procedures against it. I can’t take anybody there.
[Asked for comment, Multnomah County spokesman David Austin clarifies that police are free to take people in crisis to the CATC, provided they call first to start the admissions process. “The police absolutely have access to the CATC and to other critical mental health services designed to help people in crisis. Because we’re all partners. This is a community issue, and we all have a stake in figuring out the best ways to serve anyone a mental health crisis.”]
The mayor has repeatedly stressed the need for a “culture change” in the bureau. What comes to mind when your new boss says that about an organization you’ve run for nearly three years?
He heard from a lot of folks in our community who want the Portland Police Bureau to be in sync with their values. You know, these are challenging times for police organizations around the country, because as crime has fallen, the work that officers do has fundamentally changed.
As I have said since I became chief, our officers have to have better relationships with social service providers than they do with the jail. Homelessness and drug addiction, poverty and mental health issues are not problems easily solved by society, much less law enforcement.
Absolutely. We had, I think, 41 people put in for it. I didn’t look at all 41 résumés. But I saw the list and thought it was a great group. We were hoping we would get nine to 12 people to participate. Obviously a group of 41 is hard to manage. But I told Bryan I don’t want nine or 12 happy people and another 29 who are pissed off at me.
Let’s take this opportunity to reimagine what we thought about the training advisory committee. So we’ll have three different subcommittees looking at defensive tactics, our patrol tactics, and looking at, maybe, firearms or Tasers. And you have a smaller executive committee. We would let people pick which area they were most interested in. I’m hoping everybody who put in will get to participate.
Let’s talk about your relationship with the PPA. Daryl Turner has said the DOJ reforms are already causing injuries, citing an unusual spike in hurt officers late last year. Is he correct?
I haven’t seen any of the recent injuries tied to the settlement agreement. One, the agreement hasn’t been finalized yet. It’s in the court process now. Certainly officers now are, I think, considering it. They want to know what our Taser policy will be, where it will end up. And our force policy, where will that end up. They want to be trained so they can be in sync with court rulings around Tasers and use of force. Those officer injuries occurred because we interacted with people who were violent and intent on hurting us and the community.
And you don’t foresee injuries being an issue when the settlement is finalized?
All those injuries came in a very short amount of time. We’ve had a couple of months since then. Things seem to be moving along as they always have. Use of force is down. We just had our most recent report for 2012, and force incidents have continued to drop. Our officers continue to be very thoughtful, and judicious, in how they approach their job. Force is very little of what we do. In a city of 600,000 people we use force on average twice a day to take someone into custody or enforce the law. It is a quarter of a percentage of all contacts. It’s only 3 percent of all arrests.
Daryl Turner also has come out and accused you—after Sam Adams challenged an arbitrator’s reinstatement of Ron Frashour, the officer who killed Aaron Campbell—of lying and conspiring in the case. He’s attacked Lieutenant Robert King, formerly your top spokesman and a co-author of Frashour’s training review, implying he wasn’t truthful during arbitration. What’s it like being in the same room with Turner?
Daryl and I get along very well. There’s always going to be tension between labor and management. He has a role to play. He has a bully pulpit as the elected union president. Some of it’s because we are in a contract year, so he’s positioning for a contract. You’ll have to ask Daryl why he’s messaging things that way. Certainly, just on a personal level, Daryl and I like each other. We get along very well.
Yes, but he’s also written them. He’s put them out in the union newsletter.
I disagree with his characterizations of the arbitration process. Certainly Robert King is one of the most respected people in this organization, a person of high integrity and ethics. I stand behind his work on the training review. Robert did an exceptional job. It’s interesting that no one is picking a part of the training review and saying it’s wrong. They’re going after the process. The training review, if you read it, is spot on. It is a very accurate reflection of the issues in play in the Frashour case.
You mentioned the media. You’re alluding to the fact that reporters may not shade things correctly.
I don’t mean that. I just mean that Daryl will say something, and different media sources pick that up. You know, controversy sells papers. I respect the fact you guys have a job to do, and a little tension between labor and management doesn’t hurt things.
We are both on the same page in terms of keeping our officers safe, and doing everything we can to train our officers. There is a process that gets us there. And that process, because of the federal investigation, was a little compressed. We tried to get the policies done quickly. We may have not followed the best process at times. At the end of the day, Daryl and I really agree that we want the members of the bureau to be safe and well trained. We both agree we have exceptional officers here.
Which reporters do that the most? I fully realize you might be looking in my direction.
The media can create a perception that government isn’t working. And it really matters that you get the story right. If we are doing something wrong, and you want to outline whether or not we’re doing our best work, I’m okay with that. But I don’t think it helps to create controversy just to create controversy. Does that make sense? I have a responsibility to this community. You have a responsibility, too. You have to provide balance. If it’s there.
Charlie Hales has told me he won’t declare—during the budget process—that the police automatically will suffer less than other bureaus. What does a 10 percent cut for the bureau look like?
Those are going to be difficult decisions for the city council. I really respect the fact that they have difficult decisions to make and balancing to do.
It can be counterproductive to community safety to close a community center—where kids have opportunities to play and interact in a positive fashion—just to save police jobs. Or to lay off firefighters to save police jobs.
And I respect the members of the council. They are good people, very thoughtful. We will provide them with information about the police bureau’s priorities, but We are not policing in a vacuum. We police in a community that has a lot of competing issues.
For example, our top priority with our school police officers is the safety of kids and staff and visitors. But our second priority is to help kids graduate. That has very little to do with our mission as a bureau, but everything to do with the future health of the city and long-term public safety issues. If we can get kids to graduate and become productive members of society, then they’re not in the criminal justice system. We’re all about looking at long-term ways to reduce people’s intersection with the criminal justice system.
It sounds like you’re at least contemplating the possibility of layoffs.
I don’t know if it’ll get to layoffs. We may have vacancies we don’t fill. There are some opportunities to look at other cuts. In the past we’ve paid for some functions at the county. The county may have to pick those up. We fund a couple of deputy district attorneys. We pay for identification techs who work in the jail. We’ve got the Hooper Detox Center and the CHIERS service. Those are all areas that elected officials can work through.
Some reports have come out, recently, charting racial disparities in police statistics. The most controversial looked at the bureau’s traffic and pedestrian stops. But a lot of people were heartened when, at a community meeting where those stats were revealed, officers actually said that yes, maybe, racism might be a factor in police work. Do you agree—and does that merit more introspection?
It does, and also the fact that there is a disparate impact on people of color throughout the criminal justice system—both as victims and as people who are incarcerated. We have to look at that impact, but it crosses so many different lines. You look at schools. Kids of color—there is a disparate impact in the discipline process there. You look at graduation rates. It’s everywhere in society.
It’s not just in law enforcement. And I really think it requires us to take a very frank look at everything we do with an equity lens.
The bureau is improving how it collects and tracks data. Will that lead to answers?
Yeah, I mean, certainly you want to look at that. Because that can help you question why it looks that way. But, um, you know, sometimes the answer is obvious. You look at gang violence right now. Some 75 percent of the victims in gang shootings are African-Americans. That is a disparate impact. Most of the gang problem in Portland involves African-American gangs. So we have to ask ourselves as a community why a young person of color sees more hope in joining a gang than staying in school. Certainly, because of the role we play in law enforcement, we need to be at the forefront of that discussion.
Only two people died last year as a result of officer-involved shootings. Other shootings obviously also happened, but that number is down. What’s changed?
With officer-involved shootings, again, we are a city of 600,000 people. They fluctuate. Last year we had six. Before that we had four. The year before that, six again. It goes up and down. They are such a small number that it’s hard to say it’s going this way or that for any specific reason. You have to look at larger trends.
Nationwide, if you look at us in terms of population, we are at the lower end of major cities in terms of shootings. If you just look at the metrics of it, the drop in our force numbers has been significant over the past five years. Not just officer-involved shootings but in broader categories where there’s enough data to actually get a sense that this is changing the culture of the organization.
I was reminded of something that emerged in the transcript of the Frashour arbitration hearing. You said, “We don’t have a right to shoot him. He never displayed a weapon. He didn’t take any offensive action for the officer.” That’s a strong standard others have taken umbrage with. Officers don’t think that’s realistic. It also could apply to some of the other police shootings last year. Is that the lens through which you see discipline?
All of these situations, you have to look at them individually. Specific to Aaron Campbell, and not any other incident, you had a young man who had not committed a crime, who had not threatened to harm anyone except himself, who hadn’t displayed a weapon, and who was running away from the officer. So all of that goes into the totality of the circumstances that I weigh when I look at whether that shooting was justified. My answers in arbitration were specific to that set of circumstances.
In other circumstances, we will look at those on an individual basis.
So if an officer is reading those remarks in the paper, on our blog, on the union newsletter, they shouldn’t assume that it applies to them?
Yeah, again, officers have a duty and a responsibility to protect themselves and the public from imminent danger. It’s hard to sit in hindsight and look at those incidents and judge them—but I have to. It’s my job. I respect that officers have to make split-second decisions. And I think we make really good decisions in the vast majority of cases. In the Campbell case, the officer didn’t make the best decision.
I’m just asking. Are you here to help him get on his feet? Or do you want to see this through longer than you actually have to be here?
I really believe that stability of leadership through this organizational change is critically important for the bureau and the community. I serve at the will of the mayor. I have a civilian boss, and I give him my best advice and I follow his direction.
But I would like to stay for a few more years, and the management team I have up here, I hope, can stay with me. I believe this is one of the longest tenures, since I’ve been a police officer, of any chief’s office.
It is two and a half years for all of us, and that’s a long time for a group of leaders to stay in place. I feel like I’ve got a team, with [Assistant Chief] Eric Hendricks and [civilian director of operations] Mike Kuykendall and [Assistant Chief] Larry O’Dea, who are just superb. I really appreciate the fact that they are willing to keep at it.
One last question. Will you run for political office again?
I have a great job.
[Laughter erupts. Reese's current spokesman, Sergeant Pete Simpson, chimes in with: "Did he ever run for political office before?" Reese replies: "Yeah, exactly!" Reese, in late 2011, had set up a fundraising committee to run for mayor and was reaching out to endorsers and donors, but decided against formally filing papers.]
We OPPOSE this change. From the launch of CIT in Portland until all officers were trained in response to the brutal death of James Chasse, families of persons with mental illness had to make due with the constant excuse, “We don’t have a CIT officer available.” Few if any of the police shootings of persons with mental illness in the last decade were situations where a specially trained officer could be brought to the scene. (Aaron Campbell is an exception, but he was identified by police as drunk and not mentally ill, so no mental health professional was consulted.)
The Portland Police Bureau’s earlier effort at satisfying the DOJ is a new ‘suicide’ crisis line, Lines for Life, duplicating and competing with an in-place, effective and paid-for system, the Multnomah County Crisis Line (503-988-4888). If there was any logic here, it escapes us. (MHAP, as usual, was not invited as a ‘stakeholder’).
PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU NEWS RELEASE Chief Mike Reese Changes Policies, Creates Crisis Intervention Team in Response to DOJ Investigation
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese
The Portland Police Bureau is making changes in response to the recent Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. These changes are in regard to crisis response during encounters with someone with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness, as well as policies involving force.
Crisis Intervention Team
Recently, Chief Mike Reese met with members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as well as other mental health stakeholders and families whose loved ones struggle with mental illness. The group discussed how officers respond to these situations, which are complex and unfold quickly. Arriving officers most often do not know if the person is suffering from a medical problem, mental health issue, drug and alcohol issues, or some combination of two or more. With that in mind, the Chief is creating a Crisis Intervention Team – a volunteer specialized team.
Under this new model, the Police Bureau will continue training all officers in CIT, but we will also have a team of officers, who receive enhanced training to ensure they have consistent updates related to resources and mental health and addictions systems issues. These officers will continue to work their normal patrol duties, but can dispatched to a call in progress where mental health issues are the primary reason for the call. If no crisis calls are waiting, CIT Officers will perform their regular duties. In addition, these officers will work in coordination with the Mobile Crisis Unit to identify individuals in our community who have frequent police contact due to their mental health and/or addiction issues.
The internal bureau position announcement was posted on Monday and will involve officers currently working a uniform assignment. They will be selected after November 15, 2012.
Changes to Directives
The Bureau is also making changes to three Directives that involve force: Taser, Application of Force and Use of Deadly Force.
The Bureau already has a higher standard than the federal standard when it comes to use of force. But the Bureau aspires to continual improvement: These draft Directives are in response to the DOJ, but also contain changes that bring the Bureau in line with its current training as well as best practices in policing.
The Bureau is asking the community for feedback on all three draft Directives. After reading the directive, there is a place for community members to provide comments.
A Multnomah County grand jury has found no criminal wrongdoing by two Portland police officers involved in a Sept. 29 shooting that wounded Joshua Stephen Baker.
Instead, the grand jury returned an indictment against Baker, 27, charging him with attempted murder with a firearm, first-degree assault with a firearm, felony elude, fourth-degree assault involving domestic violence and two counts of menacing.
The incident stemmed from a domestic violence assault at the Hathaway Apartments on Southeast 134th Avenue. A Good Samaritan had tried to intervene, but got shot by the suspect, authorities said.
According to Portland police, East Precinct officers were called to Hathaway Apartments, at 3320 Southeast 134th Ave., at 3:54 a.m. on Sept. 29. The officers who responded found 38-year-old Vadim V. Kobenko shot. He was transported to a local hospital.
But police pursued a suspect as he fled in a truck.
“After a short pursuit, the suspect crashed into a fence at 148th and NE San Rafael,” Lt. Robert King said in a prepared news release issued after the incident. “At the crash site, there was an officer-involved shooting.”
Portland officers Erik Strohmeyer, a 12-year bureau veteran, and Garry Britt, a 4-year bureau member, fired shots at Baker.
Portland police said Baker suffered non-life threatening injuries, was treated at a local hospital and then booked into jail.
Police did not say how many shots were fired, or where Baker was struck.
“Following the shooting,” King continued in a news release, “the suspect refused to comply with commands from uniform officers, and then SERT was activated.”
Officers from the Special Emergency Reaction Team took Baker into custody. A firearm was located at the scene, police said.
Kobenko, the man Baker is accused of shooting in Southeast Portland, was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
The grand jury also has indicted Baker on charges of strangulation involving domestic violence, fourth-degree assault and menacing in connection with incidents that occurred on July 1 and July 8, according to the district attorney’s office.
He’s being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center on $505,000 bail, according to jail records.
The Independent Police Review Division and investigators from the police bureau’s Internal Affairs Division both responded to the police shooting scene.
The Portland Police Association Tuesday morning argued that the city auditor’s review of witness testimony in the arbitration involving fired Officer Ron Frashour was not independent but marred by politics.
“We had requested an independent review of testimony of city witness testimony by a third-party,” wrote Officer Daryl Turner, association president, in response to the auditor’s report released five minutes to 5 p.m. on Monday.
“Instead, we received a review from the city’s own auditor who, prior to issuing her review, met privately with Mayor Adams and Chief Reese, but not with the PPA leadership,” Turner wrote, in prepared comments.
After the city auditor released her report, Mayor Sam Adams tweeted this message: “Based on the Auditor’s findings, I respectfully ask the Portland Police Association to cease their attacks on the character and integrity of member of the Portland Police Bureau, and to start focusing on the facts of this case.”
Using Mayor Sam Adams’ own words from the Twitter message, Turner Monday morning urged city commissioners to “focus on the facts of this case,” before considering whether to appeal a state panel’s ruling that orders the city to abide by an arbitrator’s award that Frashour be reinstated to the police force.
At 2 p.m. on Thursday, the City Council is set to consider a resolution to appeal the ruling by the state Employment Relations Board.
“The fact is, the PPA has always focused on the facts of Officer Frashour’s use of deadly force,” Turner wrote. “In contrast, the City – and Mayor Adams – have focused on politics, which deprived the community of facts that would allow them to understand why Officer Frashour justifiably used deadly force, and why every neutral party that has reviewed this case has agreed…”
The mayor and police chief fired Frashour in November 2010, finding his use of deadly force against Campbell on Jan. 29, 2010 was not justified because [Aaron] Campbell did not pose an immediate threat.
The union filed a grievance challenging the firing. Portland police trainers testified that Frashour acted consistent with his bureau training – contrary to Chief Mike Reese‘s testimony that Frashour did not acted as trained. Arbitrator Jane Wilkinson ordered the city to reinstate Frashour, finding the firing unjust.
Meanwhile, the police union called for an independent investigation of Lt. Robert King‘s testimony from the arbitration hearings.
King, who oversaw the training division’s review of Frashour’s shooting, testified before an arbitrator reviewing Frashour’s firing that the training division’s analysis was a “coordinated effort among bureau training instructors.” He testified that he discussed the shooting “extensively” with seven bureau instructors and showed them a draft of his review. The review, King testified, concluded that Frashour did not act according to his training.
But King broke down in tears under cross-examination after union attorney Will Aitchison on entered into evidence five drafts between May 12 and June 20, 2010, in which King found that Frashour had acted appropriately, before he suddenly concluded the opposite in his final June 21, 2010, review.
When grilled by the union attorney, King acknowledged that he did not ask any trainers to review the full investigative files of the shooting and included none of their opinions in his final review, according to a transcript of King’s testimony in late September 2011 obtained by The Oregonian.
Police union leaders called for an independent investigation of King’s testimony, saying the unusual turn of events suggested that Frashour’s firing was politically motivated. They pointed to the fact that the review was done by a new lieutenant who shut out the opinions of lead police trainers, and that the findings changed after the May 12, 2010, appointment of Chief Mike Reese.
City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, selected by the mayor to conduct an investigation, concluded that no police witnesses “appear to have violated” the bureau directive requiring truthfulness. The auditor also concluded there was no “documentary evidence” that King or others in the bureau, including the police chief, faced political pressure to fire Frashour.
“There is no indication in King’s testimony that he was untruthful about whether and the extent to which he consulted with training instructors in the process of developing” the training analysis of Frashour’s fatal shooting, the auditor wrote.
Police union attorney Anil Karia, who was present during one of the interviews of a police training instructor for the auditor’s review, stated his concerns to those conducting the interview:
According to a transcript of the testimony, Karia said:
So for the record, this is ANIL KARIA and on behalf of the PPA, I wanted to note two concerns or objections if you will, to this investigation. The first is that it appears that this particular investigation is retaliatory towards PPA members who testified at Officer Frashour’s labor arbitration. Secondly, it also appears that IPR is improperly using Internal Affairs to compel PPA members to this investigation, to make up for the fact that IPR lacks subpoena power over PPA members.
Reese, in his interview with the auditor’s investigators, said he believed that some of the bureau’s police trainers were improperly swayed by a Power [sic] presentation that the union attorney Aitchison presented to the bureau during a mitigation hearing in defense of Frashour before his termination.
“I believe that they – the PPA presented to our due process hearing a PowerPoint presentation that they then showed to the trainers, and it was not factually accurate,” Reese told investigators. “I think if they’re reviewing all of the material in a more sterile environment, without the filter of management or labor, that they may come to different conclusions.”
When asked if he knew how the bureau’s training division reviews of police shootings were to occur, the chief said he didn’t know.
Constantin Severe, the assistant director of the Independent Police Review Division who questioned the chief, asked, “So to your knowledge is there a standard operating procedure or directive that governs what a training analysis is supposed to consist of or how it’s supposed to be routed through the process in these cases?”
Reese said, “No, I don’t know. I’m sure the training has some protocols on it.”
Yet the city auditor found that at the time of Frashour’s shooting review, there were no established procedures for the training division’s analysis of the officer-involved shooting. She recommended the bureau adopt stringent standards that define the scope of the reviews, who conducts them and what to do if there are different conclusions by members of the training division.
Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea, in his interview, cited his concerns about what he thought were misguided trainers’ opinions of the Frashour shooting.
“I felt like what I heard was a..a rehearsed union story from some of the trainers, not individual opinions on here’s what I know, here’s what..how to apply this,” O’Dea said.
O’Dea did point out that the training review’s analysis of the Campbell shooting was handled differently, because the training division captain, then Bob Day, could not supervise it since he was the commander involved in the Campbell case. That’s why King. a lieutenant in the training division, was reporting to O’Dea, and emailing O’Dea drafts of his training analyses
Two Portland police officers were involved in a shooting early Saturday after responding to a call of shots fired at a Southeast Portland apartment building.
East Precinct officers were called to Hathaway Apartments, at 3320 Southeast 134th Ave., at 3:54 a.m. Saturday. The officers who responded found 38-year-old Vadim V. Kobenko shot. He was transported to a local hospital.
But police pursued a suspect as he fled in a truck.
“After a short pursuit, the suspect crashed into a fence at 148th and NE San Rafael,” Lt. Robert King said in a prepared news release. “At the crash site, there was an officer-involved shooting.”
Portland police on Monday identified the suspect arrested as 27-year-old Joshua Stephen Baker, who police say suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Police did not say what led up to the shooting, or how many shots were fired, or where Baker was struck.
“Following the shooting,” King continued in a news release, “the suspect refused to comply with commands from uniform officers, and then SERT was activated.”
Officers from the Special Emergency Reaction Team took Baker into custody. A firearm was located at the scene, police said.
Kobenko, the man Baker is accused of shooting in Southeast Portland, is hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
The two officers involved in the shooting are Erik Strohmeyer, a 12-year bureau veteran, and Garry Britt, a 4-year bureau member.
The Independent Police Review Division and investigators from the police bureau’s Internal Affairs Division both responded to the police shooting scene.
Baker was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center Monday afternoon after he was treated for injuries at a local hospital. Baker is accused of first-degree assault with a firearm, attempted murder with a firearm, and fourth-degree assault involving domestic violence.
King said the officers involved in the shooting have not been interviewed yet.
“Interviews are occurring this week and we will release more details when we are able to,” he said, in an e-mailed response to an Oregonian question.
Good morning. It is wonderful to be back here in Portland. I am honored to join Mayor Adams, Chief Reese, and my colleague U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall to report on the results of our investigation of the Portland Police Bureau, and to discuss the road ahead. Today is an important and exciting day for the people of Portland, and for the dedicated men and women of the Portland Police Bureau.
I would like to thank Mayor Adams and Chief Reese for their cooperation throughout this investigation. When we announced our investigation, Chief Reese observed that this is a “unique opportunity to be at the forefront of best practices.” You correctly noted that Portland is not the only city that is addressing the difficult issue of providing police services to people with mental illness. Mayor, you noted at our announcement that you were “humbled in the knowledge that we don’t have it all figured out.” Both the Mayor and the Chief expressed an understandable and well-founded pride in your police department, and pledged their complete cooperation. They delivered on that pledge, were consistently responsive to our document requests, maintained an open door and open file policy throughout our site visits, and have been very receptive to our feedback. I would also like to thank the officers of the Portland Police Bureau for their cooperation and feedback. Our job is to make your job safer and more rewarding. Finally, we are very grateful to the community. We held a town hall meeting, conducted scores of interviews, and listened and learned from so many community members. Your perspective was and continues to be critical, and we will continue to seek out your views.
As a result of the cooperation we received throughout the investigation, we made remarkable progress in record time. As U.S. Attorney Marshall pointed out, we have completed our review; we have diagnosed the problem; identified its root causes; and have reached a preliminary agreement with the city of Portland and PPB, which will remedy the problems and enhance both officer and public safety, while allowing PPB to be at the forefront of best practices.
As U.S. Attorney Marshall outlined, for more than a year, the Justice Department has been conducting an in-depth investigation of PPB’s use of force, with a particular focus on its interactions with people with mental illness or in mental health crisis. Our review was prompted in large part by the high number of officer involved shootings of people with mental illness. The investigation was driven by a single goal: to ensure that Portland is served by an effective, accountable police bureau that controls crime, respects the Constitution, and earns the trust of the public it protects.
Our investigation was exhaustive and was conducted by department attorneys, investigators and subject matter experts, including police practices experts and a psychiatrist who specializes in working with law enforcement to develop models for effective interaction with people with mental illness. We conducted a thorough review of use of force by PPB officers, which included reviewing thousands of pages of documents, and conducting extensive outreach to the community, through hundreds of interviews with community members, mental health service providers, city officials, PPB officers, supervisors and command staff. We looked at a range of police interactions, including encounters with people who have mental illness or were perceived to have mental illness. Let me focus on the problem we identified. Based on our review, we have concluded that, while most uses of force were lawful, there is reasonable cause to believe that PPB is engaged in a pattern or practice of using excessive force against people with mental illness, or those perceived to have mental illness. We found that encounters between PPB officers and persons living with mental illness too frequently result in a use of force, or in a higher level of force than necessary. We further found that, when dealing with people with mental illness, PPB officers use electronic control weapons, or tasers, in circumstances where the use of tasers was not justified, or deploy them more times than necessary. Finally, in situations where PPB officers arrest people with mental illness for low level offenses, we found that there is a pattern or practice of using more force than necessary in these circumstances.
It is important to reiterate that the challenges we identified here are not unique to Portland. Police work has transformed dramatically in recent years. One Portland officer described how years ago, encounters with people who have mental illness were few and far between. Today, it is a daily occurrence for most officers, and often occurs more than once per day. Communities across the United States are wrestling with how to deliver police services to people with mental illness. We have seen and are working on these issues in other communities and believe that the work we do here in Portland will serve as an important guidepost for communities facing similar challenges.
Let me next turn to root causes. We conclude that deficiencies in policy, training and supervision contribute to the problems we identified. These underlying deficiencies have existed for many years, and precede the tenure of Mayor Adams and Chief Reese. While they did not create the problems, they own the problems, and they have accepted ownership of both the problems and the solutions. They wasted no time in beginning the reform process. A number of critical reforms are already in place. When we presented our findings to them, we immediately pivoted to brainstorming and problem solving, even though they did not agree with everything we found.
As a result, we have reached a preliminary agreement with the city and PPB about the path forward. We have developed a blueprint for sustainable change that will enhance public safety and officer safety, ensure constitutional policing, and enhance public confidence in PPB. The blueprint, which we are in the process of memorializing into a binding, court enforceable agreement, will require PPB to do the following:
Develop state of the art policies and protocols for interacting with people who have mental illness or are perceived to have mental illness;
Dramatically expand its capacity to provide services to people with mental illness by expanding its mobile crisis unit, establish a mental health desk at the Bureau of Emergency Services so that 911 calls are properly funneled to the appropriate response team, and assist in leading efforts to increase community mental health treatment options, such as 24 hour walk-in centers and other facilities that expand options for police officers seeking to assist a person who is experiencing a mental health crisis;
Revamp and expand training related to crisis intervention and use of force;
Enhance usage of its early warning system to better identify officers whose actions may require review;
Ensure that effective supervisory and accountability systems are in place to review use of force; and
Create a mechanism for ensuring that community stakeholders and front-line officers have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on critical reforms.
Before we finalize any agreement, we want to go back to the community and hear from them again, and hear from other key stakeholders, including police officers. To all who have weighed in during this process, I recognize that this is your agreement; this is your department; this is your community, and we want to ensure that your voice is heard.
I am very excited about our blueprint, and look forward to hearing feedback from key stakeholders in the days ahead. Our goal is to complete our work in the next month.
I am acutely mindful of the fact that this agreement alone will not solve the problem in its entirety. Our findings take place against the backdrop of a statewide mental health infrastructure that has a number of key deficiencies. The absence of a comprehensive, community-based mental health infrastructure means that front line officers confronting a person experiencing a mental health crisis frequently have only two options: take the person to jail or the emergency room. In communities across the country, the largest mental health facility is the jail. That isn’t right. People in mental health crisis are sick, and generally don’t belong in jail. The largest mental health facility in a state or county shouldn’t be the jail. Officers must have additional options, and people in crisis must have additional options. We have worked successfully with other states, such as Delaware, to build a comprehensive community based mental health infrastructure. As the United States Attorney mentioned, we are working here in Oregon with state officials in a constructive, collaborative fashion on the development and implementation of a holistic, community based mental health infrastructure that, when implemented, will enhance both officer and public safety.
Our formal findings in this case are focused on PPB’s interactions with people who have mental illness. While the bulk of our investigation focused on this area, it was not limited to this area. A number of additional concerns were brought to our attention. While we did not make any formal findings regarding these additional concerns, it is impossible to ignore the tensions that exist between PPB and certain communities of color in Portland. Last year, Mayor Adams noted that one reason he welcomed our presence was his hope that this would lead to improved relations between PPB and Portland’s communities of color. We heard consistent and serious concerns from across the city that members this community, particularly the African American community, believe that they are subjected to bias stops and force based on their race. Although these tensions predate Chief Reese’s tenure, they persist to this day.
Our agreement with the city will begin to address these important issues in two ways. First, the new policies, procedures, training and accountability surrounding force will help ensure that unnecessary and unreasonable force is eliminated. Second, a community body will be created to monitor the agreement, collect feedback from the community and provide recommendations to PPB and the department. The mechanism for community engagement and input that we are creating as part of this resolution will not be limited to mental health issues. Rather, it is deliberately designed to create an opportunity for dialogue and action between PPB and communities of color.
Considerable work lies ahead. Change is not easy. Change requires time, persistence, partnership, a sound plan, resources, effective leadership and sustained community engagement. All the ingredients are here in Portland. We have made great progress. I am very confident that we will achieve Chief Reese’s goal of placing PPB at the forefront of best practices. Portland is a great community, and when these improvements are fully in place, it will be an even greater community.
The Department of Justice Reviews The Portland Police Bureau
September 13, 2012
When the Department of Justice announced a federal investigation into our officers’ use of force last year, I said that I welcomed the inquiry and noted that we had even asked for a best practices evaluation. What I said then holds true today: “We are humble in the knowledge that we don’t have it all figured out.”
In its year-long investigation, the Department of Justice has committed to rooting out the issues this City and its Police Bureau face, especially in dealing with a growing population facing mental health crises. I am grateful for the expertise brought to bear in its evaluation.
The Oregonian, September 14, 2012
Mayor Sam Adams’ Statement 9/13/12
Two years ago, community leaders, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and I asked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to review the Portland Police Bureau for bias, regardless of whether or not it is intentional, unconscious or institutional. Anything.
During this federal investigation, we opened our books, our doors and our minds.
Yesterday, I received a 42-page letter detailing the findings of their 14-month investigation.
It includes a critique of our financially-starved community-based mental health system. It states, “Our findings take place against a backdrop of a mental health infrastructure that has a number of key deficiencies…” with, “…insufficient options for adequate community based mental health services.”
Given our anemic community-based mental health system, I appreciate that the findings note that the already tough job of our police officers has gotten even tougher, with situations that “…often shifts to law enforcement agencies the burden of being first responders to individuals in mental health crisis.”
In my last budget, this local mental health system crisis was a key reason I did not cut sworn police or firefighter positions. My thanks to the hardworking officers of the Portland Police Bureau for working in a tough situation.
I am pleased that the findings state that, “…most uses of force we reviewed were constitutional…” that “…many of the systemic deficiencies discussed in this letter originated prior to the current PPB administration, which has been aggressive in pursuing reform.” I agree, we have a great improvement-minded Chief of Police in Mike Reese.
But the findings are blunt in its assessment that we get a failing grade dealing with the growing number of Portlanders who face serious mental illness and addiction. We occasionally use, “…unnecessary or unreasonable force during interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness.”
Without defensiveness or finger pointing, we all need to absorb the seriousness of this critique and the urgent need for change. We all need to take our portion of the responsibility to improve the situation.
We will improve and we will begin to do it quickly.
Some needed changes are already underway. Like our new Police Training Center and Citizen Advisory Council. Like the diverse classes of new police recruits, drug testing and officer evaluations. I have agreed in concept to others changes in the letter of agreement:
1 Use of Force: The City is committed to revise its use of force policies to ensure that officers have necessary guidance when encountering someone with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness. In particular, the City will enhance its policy guidance on the use of Electronic Control Weapons (ECW) and techniques to de-escalate encounters arising from non-criminally related well-being checks and arrests for low level offenses.
The Chief’s initiative to ensure that supervisors respond to the scene of uses of force will be continued and there will be meaningful use of force reviews through the chain of command. Training curricula will be reviewed and adjusted where appropriate to reflect the requirements of the agreement.
2 Crisis Intervention: PPB will continue to provide crisis intervention training to all officers. In addition, it will expand its Mobile Crisis Unit to ensure availability at all times and enhance non-law enforcement capacity to respond to persons in crisis that do not pose a public safety threat. Each Mobile Crisis Unit team will consist of one specially trained officer and one specially trained mental health worker from a local social services agency.
The City agrees to establish a mental health desk at Bureau of Emergency Communications (911) staffed by trained dispatchers to ensure that calls are properly dispatched. BOEC will also direct suicide prevention/mental health calls to the County Crisis Call Center or Lines for Life when on-site PPB response is not appropriate.
The City also agrees to lead efforts to increase community mental health treatment options, such as through the establishment of a 24 hour secure drop-off and walk-in center that will provide police officers more options when assisting persons experiencing a mental health crisis.
3 Early Intervention System: The City has a robust Early Intervention System (EIS) that can track officer specific information as well as unit level and trend data. The City will utilize the system to identify individual officers, supervisors, and units for non-punitive corrective action, and to assess gaps in policy, training, supervision and accountability.
4 Misconduct Investigation: Investigations of allegations of officer misconduct are effective and fair to the officer, complainant and community only if they can be completed in a timely manner. The City agrees to take necessary steps to expedite the investigations of those complaints while preserving the thoroughness and quality of investigations and community participation.
5 Community Engagement and Outreach: Community participation in the oversight of this agreement will be important to its success. A community body will be adopted to assess on an ongoing basis the implementation of this agreement, make recommendations to the parties on additional actions, and advise the Chief and Mayor on strategies to improve community relations. The body will also provide the community with information on the agreement, its implementation and receive comments and concerns. Membership will be representative of the many and diverse communities in Portland, including persons with mental illness, mental health providers, faith communities, minority, ethnic, and other community organizations, and student or youth organizations.
These reforms and new resources will propel the Portland Police Bureau further down the path as it becomes the best local peacekeeping agency in the nation.
I welcome your thoughts and ideas.
Sam Adams – Portland Mayor
Feds: Portland Police Bureau has pattern of excessive force
A U.S. Department of Justice investigation concluded that the Portland Police Bureau engages in “a pattern and practice of excessive use of force,” specifically when dealing with the mentally ill, U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall announced Thursday.
The investigation found such use of force violates the U.S. Constitution. Still, she said, the problems revealed in the probe are not unique to Portland and the vast majority of PPB’s use of force falls within constitutional limits.
The investigation was launched in June, 2011 to examine the use of deadly force against all citizens, with a specific look at the mentally ill.
The PPB had a “high number of officer-involved shootings, especially those involving people with mental illness,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez explained at a press conference Thursday.
The findings revealed that too often Tasers and other uses of force were used when they were not necessary, Perez said.
He said training deficiencies within the department helped lead to the civil rights issues, and department has wasted no time in beginning the process of improving.
The investigation followed several controversial police shootings, including the death of Aaron Campbell. The January 2010 incident sparked protests and one officer was fired for his use of deadly force.
Another high-profile case was the death of James Chasse, who died in PPB custody after an encounter with police in Old Town in September 2006. Officers said Chasse appeared to be urinating outdoors and when he tried to get away they tackled him. His autopsy revealed that Chasse suffered 26 rib fractures and a punctured lung.
Investigators said they would look for systemic problems within the PPB and would also meet with community leaders outside of the bureau.
A federal investigation has concluded the Portland Police Bureau has a pattern of excessive use of force, and a mental health advocate told KGW the findings should be seen as a positive step.
But he said the agreement between the Dept. of Justice and the bureau lacks the teeth to effect significant change.
Chris O’Connor is a local attorney and board member of the Mental Health Association of Portland.
He agrees with the conclusion that there is a lack of infrastructure to deal with people suffering from mental issues. But he does not agree that the suggested policy changes laid out Thursday–like expanding the city’s mobile crisis team–will reduce excessive use of force cases involving the mentally ill.
“At the end of the day, there’s still no power in the hands of civilians,” O’Connor said, “to remove dangerous officers or discipline in a meaningful way, those who are violating their own policies,”
O’Conner believes local governments need to redirect resources to provide mental health services up front, instead of arresting and incarcerating people suffering from them.
Report: Portland police using excessive force against mentally ill
Portland police officers use excessive force against people with mental illnesses, a U.S. Department of Justice report has found.
The Justice Department presented its findings in a press conference Thursday in downtown Portland. The investigation, which began in June of 2011, determined that the “Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has engaged in an unconstitutional pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness,” according to a press release.
The joint investigation by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon focused heavily on the police response to mental health situations. There was “reasonable cause to believe that PPB engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, in certain contexts,” the department said.
Specifically, the report found that officers are often utilizing Tasers for situations that do not justify their use, and furthermore, that they frequently Taser someone more times than necessary. It also found that officers will often use excessive force for what it termed “low level offenses.”
At Thursday’s press conference, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said that over the last three years, Portland police have used deadly force 12 times, 10 of which involved people with mental health issues. Perez cited longstanding training practices as the root cause of the problem.
“These underlying deficiencies have existed for many years, and precede the tenure of Mayor Adams and Chief Reese,” Perez said. “While they have not created the problem, they own the problem, and they have indeed accepted ownership of both the problems and the solutions that lie ahead.”
The Justice Department stated that the 42-page report was presented to Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, who were in attendance at Thursday’s press conference. A preliminary agreement has since been reached to make changes to PPB officer training, practices and supervision, the Justice Department said.
Perez disclosed that Portland police cooperated fully with the over one-year long investigation, maintaining what he called an “open door policy.”
In response to the report, Adams issued a statement that read, in part:
“The findings are blunt in its assessment that we get a failing grade dealing with the growing number of Portlanders who face serious mental illness and addiction… Without defensiveness or finger pointing, we all need to absorb the seriousness of this critique and the urgent need for change.”
The mayor laid out a series of changes that will be implemented, including setting up a mental health desk at the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) and expanding its Mobile Crisis Unit, which handles mental health calls.
Feds: Portland Police Bureau uses ‘excessive force’ with mentally ill
The Department of Justice said Thursday that the Portland Police Bureau violated the U.S. Constitution by engaging in a “pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness.”
The Justice Department opened their investigation in June 2011 after an 18 month period where Portland police officers were involved with eight shootings with mentally ill people.
“The findings are very blunt in their assessment that we get a failing grade for dealing with the growing number of Portlanders dealing with mental health issues,” said Mayor Sam Adams.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said investigators found a pattern of excessive force against both people with mental illnesses or people perceived to have mental issues. That includes using force that wasn’t justified or using more force than was necessary.
“We conclude that this pattern or practice results from deficiencies in policy, training and supervision,” the report said. “We recognize that many of the systemic deficiencies discussed in this letter originated prior to the current PPB administration, which has been aggressive in pursuing reform”
Perez said the Justice Department and the city have reached a preliminary agreement on improvements, such as increased training, expedited investigations and a new oversight committee.
Perez and U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall both sounded optimistic during a news conference about the report when they talked about how the city could fix problems moving forward.
“There is no city in America with a better track record of working together to find solutions to problems such as these,” Marshall said
Perez said Portland’s mayor and police chief cooperate
When looking at how Portland police officers used force, the report singled out stun gun use, saying officers frequently discharged them without justification or used them too many times on a given suspect.
The report also said officers too often used force for relatively minor offenses.
Federal officials also said Oregon’s statewide mental health system has “gaps in services” that often make the police the first responders when people are in a mental health crisis.
“Given the anemic community-based mental health system, I appreciate that the findings note that the already tough job of our police officers has gotten even tougher,” Adams said in an open letter to Portlanders about the findings.
The report found that officers often have the burden of being “first responders to individuals in mental health crisis.”
The police bureau said that between 2001 and 2011, the number of calls each year for people attempteing or threatening suicide has nearly doubled.
“As a law enforcement agency, over the last decade, we have had a dynamic shift from responding to criminal issues to responding to social disorder,” said police chief Mike Reese. “Unfortunately, our system has given officers less options to help people who are afflicted with mental health issues and sometimes concurrent drug and alcohol problems. We have not been adequately prepared for the changing circumstances in our community, related to mental health.”
Mayor Adams, Chief Reese and the federal officials behind the report said on Thursday they were committed to improving how the Portland Police Bureau deals with mentally ill people.
“Fundamentally I think we have to treat people with mental health crisis with compassion and empathy,” Reese said. “We can’t treat them the same way we do as someone that’s committed a bank robbery.”
To help achieve that, city and federal officials laid out a series of preliminary agreement of steps they city and police bureau will take. They include:
Establishing policies that give officers clear guidance when dealing with people who have a mental illness or who are perceived to have a mental illness. Specifically, the city will lay out techniques for officers to de-escalate encouters stemming from non-criminal welfare checks or for low-level offenses.
Having more specially-trained officers and civilians to deal with crisis situations
Having a system to identify gaps in policy, training and supervision
Expediting investigations about possible misconduct while still doing a thorough job
Creating a body to ensure community oversight of reforms
The City of Portland can be held legally responsible if these reforms are not implemented. The city and federal officials have to commit to a final agreement by October 12, 2012.
Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, said he disagrees with the Justice Department’s position that Portland officers engaged in a pattern of unreasonable force against the mentally ill.
He also pointed out the report says what officers have been saying for years: Oregon’s mental health infastructure is broken and leaves officers as “frontline responders to the mentally ill.”
“The equation is simple,” Turner said. “We need more officers to help address the increased demands placed on them by a broken mental health infastructure.”
Federal officials have conducted similar reviews in other states. Seattle officials recently reached a deal with the Department of Justice, agreeing to court oversight and independent monitoring of the city’s police department.
The issue of how police deal with the mentally ill has been a topic for years in Portland.
The DOJ announced its Portland investigation in the aftermath of the death of Aaron Campbell, an unarmed man who was fatally shot by officers who responded to a call that he was threatening suicide.
Another prominent case involved the death James Chasse Jr., a mentally ill man who died after he was chased and tackled by officers after he was said to have urinated in public in 2006.
Q&A: DOJ Critical Of Portland Police Over Use Of Force
The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that the Portland Police Bureau has “engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force against people with mental illness.”
OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil has been covering this issue and joins us in the studio now. Hello.
Kristian: Hi, Beth
Beth: This sounds pretty serious. Can you give us a little background?
Kristian: Absolutely. Last year, Mayor Sam Adams, Commissioner Dan Saltzman and many others called for a civil rights investigation into the police.
It came after a series high profile cases, like the shooting of Aaron Campbell, who was distraught over the death of his brother; and the death of James Chasse, who was mentally ill and died after being forcibly arrested.
So, the Department of Justice has now finished that investigation and delivered this report.
Beth: Apart from the finding that police use unreasonable force against people with mental illness, what else was in the report?
Kristian: Well it’s extensive and it found officers used stun guns when they weren’t justified – or stunned suspects repeatedly without reasonable cause.
One example in the report, involved a man who was screaming in his apartment. Police got a key and found him naked on the floor shouting for help. When he saw them, he leapt-up and ran towards them. But an officer immediately fired his stun gun. The man fell to the ground and when he attempted to get up, he was stunned three more times. Anyway, it turned out he was diabetic and experiencing a medical emergency.
So the report has several of those kinds of examples and it concludes that the police bureau acted unconstitutionally.
But I want to make it clear that the Justice Department did not to point to problems with individual officers. Instead, the Department found that there are key deficiencies in the mental health infrastructure which leave police as the line of last resort when dealing with the mentally ill. Here’s Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez.
Thomas Perez: “The challenges we identified in Portland, are not unique to Portland. Police work has transformed dramatically in recent years. I remember vividly a Portland police officers who described how, years ago, encounters with people who have mental illness were few and far between. Today that person pointed out, it is a daily occurrence.”
Beth: How have the police bureau and Mayor Sam Adams reacted?
Kristian: Well, the mayor said there’s a need for change and that the police bureau has already begun that change. He was also pleased the report highlighted the problems in Oregon’s mental health system.
Sam Adams: “Without defensiveness or finger pointing, we all need to absorb the seriousness of this critic and urgent need for change. We all need to take our portion of the responsibility to change the situation.”
Kristian: The chief of police, Mike Reese, took the report hard. He was sombre, but stressed that his agency has already entered into a preliminary agreement with the Department of Justice to rectify the situation.
He told me afterwards that his officers will be trained to look for the difference between a suspicious criminal and someone who is mentally ill or in crisis.
He said officers will be trained to de-escalate situations and check to see if someone is not taking commands because they’re being belligerent or because they’re having mental health problems.
Finally, he said he’s hoping for new tools, that will provide officers the information they need when they’re in a tricky situation.
Mike Reese: “There’s a lot of information that health care providers have, that we don’t have access too and in a moment of crisis I think we should access to that information if we’re going to provide a better service to that person. Conversely we have a lot of information we would be happy to share with mental health providers so that they know this person is interacting with police frequently. There are things we can do in terms of dispatch protocols. So when dispatchers take that 911 call from a citizen, and they ask, police, fire or medical, we want them to ask mental health.”
Beth: Finally, how are people in the mental health community reacting to this report.
Kristian: Good question. In a nutshell, they’re pleased. Derald Walker of Cascadia Behavioral Health says he hopes this will wind up helping the mentally ill.
Derald Walker:“I think sometimes unfortunately what has to happen in these situations is that the Department of Justice has to step in, render an opinion and almost force our system to provide the funding necessary to really get us up to where we should be.”
Beth: So, what’s next?
Kristian: Well, a series of public meetings will be organized for the next month. That’ll give Portland residents a chance to look at the preliminary agreement — and perhaps add their own recommendations.
Beth: Thank you Kristian.
Kristian: My pleasure.
Justice Dept.: Portland police use excessive force, particularly against mentally ill
The Portland Police Bureau has engaged in a “pattern and practice” of excessive use of force, particularly against mentally ill suspects, the U.S. Justice Department has concluded after a 14-month investigation.
U.S. Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall announced the findings at a news conference Thursday.
Marshall said the findings of the report were “grave and serious.”
The report found problems with Portland Police Bureau’s policies, training and supervision.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez pointed to deficiencies in Oregon’s statewide infrastructure for mental health. He added that it was impossible to ignore the “the tensions that exist” between police and communities of color in Portland.
The federal inquiry also found that Portland police have too frequently used Taser stun guns on suspects.
Officials at the news conference said that the Justice Department and the police bureau had reached a preliminary agreement to implement changes that address the problems highlighted in the report.
The agreement calls for community feedback and input on Portland police practices.
Mayor Sam Adams, who also attended the news conference along with Police Chief Mike Reese, said, “Without defensiveness or finger-pointing, we all need to absorb the seriousness of this critique.”
He said the police bureau already has begun making changes, citing the creation of a new training center and police training advisory council.
“There is an urgent need for change,” Adams said.
Reese reacted to the report by saying, “It’s disappointing to learn the Department of Justice believes you haven’t got it right.”
But he also said he sees room for bettering the way the bureau works.
“We need to react to people in mental health crisis with empathy and compassion,” Reese said. “We can’t treat them the same way we treat a bank robber.”
He said the bureau needs to forge better relationships with social services partners.
“We all agree this bureau and this community can improve the way we serve Portland’s vulnerable population,” Reese said.
Feds find cause to believe Portland police use excessive force on mentally ill
Federal civil rights investigators have found “reasonable cause” to believe that police in Portland, Oregon, use “unnecessary or unreasonable force” with persons who have mental illness, the U.S. Justice Department said.
The department’s civil rights division and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon issued a letter to Portland Mayor Sam Adams stating that local and federal authorities will “continue our collaborative relationship to craft sustainable remedies.”
In the 42-page letter, federal officials outline remedies that include training and new policies to investigate alleged police misconduct.
Investigators found cause to believe that the Portland Police Bureau engages in “a pattern or practice of using excessive force in encounters involving people with actual or perceived mental illness.”
“We found instances that support a pattern of dangerous uses of force against persons who posed little or no threat and who could not, as a result of their mental illness, comply with officers’ commands,” said the letter, which was signed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez and U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.
“We also found that PPB employs practices that escalate the use of force where there were clear earlier junctures when the force could have been avoided or minimized.”
One incident in December 2010 involved several officers who used “repeated closed-fist punches and repeated shocking of a subject who was to be placed on a mental health hold,” the letter said.
Adams, in a posting on his web page, vowed that the city and its Police Bureau would improve quickly, and listed a series of changes:
– The city will revise its use-of-force policies — particularly those regarding the use of stun guns — “to ensure that officers have necessary guidance when encountering someone with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness.”
– The police will expand their Mobile Crisis Unit — composed of an officer and a mental health worker — “to ensure availability at all times and enhance non-law enforcement capacity to respond to persons in crisis that do not pose a public safety threat.”
– The city will establish a mental health desk at its 911 calling center to ensure calls are properly dispatched.
– The city will lead efforts to boost community mental health treatment options, such as establishing a 24-hour secure drop-off and walk-in center, “that will provide police officers more options when assisting persons experiencing a mental health crisis.”
– The city will use an early intervention system to identify officers, supervisors and units “for non-punitive corrective action, and to assess gaps in policy, training, supervision and accountability.”
– The city will move to speed investigations of complaints about possible officer misconduct.
– A community body composed of representatives of a variety of groups will assess how well the agreement is being implemented, offer recommendations on additional steps, and advise the police chief and Adams on how to improve community relations.
Justice Department cites five instances to show Portland Police’s pattern of excessive force
The U.S. Department of Justice pointed to five instances from 2010 and 2011, taken from a “larger group of problematic cases” to show the Portland Police Bureau’s pattern of excessive force. These are summarized from Justice Department findings and police reports of the incidents:
May 14, 2010: Police were called to Old Town to investigate reports of a man wandering in the street, spitting on cars and talking to himself. They found Aaron Emanuel Ferguson who “raised his fists to the officer’s face in an effort to show the officer his hospital identification bracelet,” the Justice Department report states. Assistant Sgt. M. Delenikos shoved his fist away and saw Ferguson take “a fighting stance.” He ordered him to back up and then pepper-sprayed Ferguson, who walked backward toward the street. Delenikos warned him to sit or he would use a stun gun on him, but Ferguson didn’t sit down. Delenikos fired his Taser at him four times, claiming that Ferguson “turtled up” and wouldn’t extend his arms to be handcuffed.
Among several issues, the Justice Department report notes that “spitting on passing cars is a low-level offense, if an offense at all and does not warrant this degree of force.” The federal investigators wrote that the supervisor found the use of force to be permissible “and no attempt to even counsel the officer on better tactics was even offered.”
Aug. 15, 2010: Police entered a downtown apartment where they heard the occupant yelling for help and believed him to be suffering a medical emergency. Inside, they saw Anthony Charles Caviness lying naked on the floor. He was unarmed. Police say he leapt up and ran toward them. Officer Joshua Sparks fired his Taser without warning at Caviness’ chest and repeated the cycle three more times. After police handcuffed him, officers learned he was diabetic and suffering a medical emergency.
Federal investigators noted, among other things, that “though the officers may have felt threatened when the individual ran towards them, this threat is mitigated, at least in part, by the presence of three PPB officers facing a naked, unarmed individual.”
Dec. 26, 2010: Two officers were called to help mental health workers who wanted to evaluate Samuel Michael Serrill at an Old Town apartment building. Serrill followed officers’ orders to come out of his room, put his hands on his head and take a seat. Officers verified he had no weapons. After Serrill made incoherent statements, the mental health workers asked police to detain him. Officers grabbed for his arms, but Serrill rolled onto his stomach, hiding his arms under his body, according to the Justice Department report. Officer Chad Phifer warned him to show his arms and then applied his Taser to Serrill’s back. Phifer continued firing it several more times as the man tried to pull away. Phifer then punched Serrill in the ribs as many as six times while Officer Kevin Allen hit the man with a closed first to the back of his neck and shoulders. The officers fired the Taser at him another six times before handcuffing him and taking him to a mental health hospital.
Among other issues, the Justice Department investigators noted “the officers were there to perform a welfare check, not to arrest someone for committing a crime.”
May 15, 2011: Officer Richard Storm went to check on an unarmed man who was standing in the rain in Southeast Portland for more than an hour. They couldn’t communicate because of a language barrier and Storm went to call for help from a Spanish-speaking officer. When Storm stepped out of his car, Fausto Brambila-Naranjo “kicked at” the officer but did not make contact, the Justice Department report states. Storm grabbed his leg and threw him on the ground. As Brambila-Naranjo rolled onto his back, Storm punched him seven to 10 times in the face while the man tried to grab the officer’s hands to stop the blows. After learning Brambila-Naranjo’s name, Storm recalled he had been reported missing by a group home that was concerned about his diabetes, according to his police report. The Justice Department investigators noted that Brambila-Naranjo was acting in self-defense from being hit in the face: “The officer made no attempt to explain in his (report on use of force) why so many punches to the head were necessary to control the subject.”
May 17, 2011: Officers were called to a home where 42-year-old Joseph James Dowless allegedly threatened his mother and hit her in the head. Dowless had a history of mental illness. Officers were told that he had a sword in his room. Police went up to the son’s room after he ignored their orders to come downstairs. They opened his door and ordered him to stand and put his hands on his head. Although Dowless stood up, he wouldn’t put his hands on his head and moved toward the door, the Justice Departmentreport states. Officer Gedemynas Jakubauskas shot him with a beanbag round. Officer Kevin Wolf wrote in his police report that Dowless then refused to interlace his fingers, prompting Wolf to fire his Taser at Dowless’ back. This occurred, the Justice Department report noted, even though Dowless’ hands were clearly visible and officers didn’t see a sword or any other weapon in his possession. “There were less intrusive alternatives available than shooting the suspect with a bean bag gun” and Tasing him, the federal report said.
Portland police promise improved approach to mental illness after scathing Justice Department report
Facing an ultimatum from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Portland Police Bureau Thursday pledged to pair more officers with mental health experts, bring back a specialized team of experienced officers to respond to mental health calls and help reroute certain 911 calls to mental health providers.
These are some of the reforms that the bureau has agreed to make after federal justice officials announced they’ve found Portland police have engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force against people who suffer from or are perceived to suffer from mental illness.
Many of the Justice Department’s recommendations aren’t new. Community activists, mental health advocates, lawyers who have sued the police bureau, and even some Portland officers have urged the bureau to take similar actions for years, without much success.
“On paper all of the recommendations seem to make sense, and actually parrot lots of complaints that the community and people like me have been making for a long time,” said Tom Steenson, the attorney who represented the families of James P. Chasse Jr. and Aaron Campbell, two men who died in police custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez released the highly critical report of Portland police use of force after a 14-month-long federal investigation. Perez stood with U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall, Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese in a police bureau conference room at the downtown Justice Center.
Marshall called the findings “grave and serious.” Yet Marshall and Perez said they’re confident the city of Portland would embrace the necessary reforms to ensure people from Portland’s most vulnerable population and their families aren’t afraid to turn to police for help.
The bureau and the Justice Department aim to finalize a more-detailed agreement by Oct. 12, after seeking further community input. The agreement will be signed by a federal judge and could be enforced by the court. Federal justice investigators would provide continued oversight.
“While we have indeed identified serious deficiencies” Perez said, “we have reached a preliminary agreement to improve public safety and to ensure the Constitution is respected.”
Perez highlighted the considerable gaps in mental health care in the state and the high number of homeless people in Portland as conditions that have forced police to serve as first-responders to people suffering mental health crises.
Adams acknowledged the city and police “get a failing grade” in dealing with the mentally ill. He estimated the changes may cost “millions of dollars,” and suggested the city will be working with the county, mental health providers and also pursuing federal grant money to help pay for them.
“Without defensiveness or fingerpointing, we all need to absorb the seriousness of this critique and urgent need for change,” Adams said.
The police chief described his initial reaction as one of disappointment.
“It’s disappointing to learn the Department of Justice believes you haven’t got it right.” Reese said. But while defending his officers, he pledged to move ahead with the reforms.
“We all agree this bureau and this community can improve the way we serve Portland’s vulnerable population,” Reese said. He added, “What we’re talking about today is about process and systems, not about police officers…They’re not the ones to blame. I support them.”
The Justice Department found that Portland police:
too frequently use a higher level of force than necessary against people suffering from mental illness;
use Taser stun guns when their use is unnecessary or fire repeated Taser shocks against individuals that are unwarranted; and
use a higher level of force than justified for low-level offenses.
In a 42-page letter to the mayor, the federal officials found officers frequently escalate conflict, rush in to an encounter when they can hold back, and continue to use force even when the need for it has waned.
Portland police have used Taser stun guns without warning, fired multiple Taser stun gun cycles on a single person and failed to re-evaluate the stun gun’s use between cycles. Even when officers’ Taser use clearly violated existing bureau policy, the Taser deployments later “were approved by the chain of command,” the letter said.
“We found that PPB officers often do not adequately consider a person’s mental state before using force and that there is instead a pattern of responding inappropriately to persons in mental health crisis,” Perez’s letter said. “These practices engender fear and distrust in the Portland community, which ultimately impacts PPB’s ability to police effectively.”
The DOJ said that its expert found Portland officers seem to harbor greater fear of people with mental illness than do officers in other cities.
The federal agency found that the excessive force used by officers results from bureau “deficiencies in policy, training and supervision” that have existed for a long time. Supervisors have failed to hold officers accountable for excessive force, and the city’s process for reviewing police use of force complaints takes too long, is “byzantine” and “self-defeating,” the review found.
The city of Portland has paid out about $6 million in the last 20 years to settle lawsuits related to alleged police misconduct.
“While they have not created the problem” Perez said of the current police administration, “they own the problem.”
Justice officials recommended that Portland police immediately stop using the term “mentals,” which the investigators heard used in a police roll call presentation.
In a footnote, the Justice Department cited as callous the Portland police training division’s use of former Officer Chris Humphreys‘ controversial use of a beanbag shotgun against an unarmed 12-year-old girl as an “exemplary” model of how a less-lethal weapon is used. The federal justice officials informed bureau managers, and Reese then forbade the incident from being used in training.
The proposed settlement between the police and federal justice department calls for an array of changes in bureau policies and practices.
The bureau would revise its use of force policies so officers have “necessary guidance” when encountering someone with mental illness. Taser use would be restricted and officers would be directed to focus on de-escalating encounters. The bureau would expand its single Mobile Crisis Unit team, which pairs an officer with a Project Respond mental health expert, to provide 24-hour, 7-day-a-week coverage. A Mental Health Triage Desk would be created at the dispatch center so that mental health-related calls are properly routed to the appropriate agency.
Under the agreement, the city would also work with community mental health providers to try to open a 24-hour secure center where police could drop off people suffering with mental illness, which would give officers more options. Clients could also walk into the center.
Justice officials also urged the bureau to bring back scenario-based role-playing in its crisis intervention training. The report advocates training officers to go “hands on” to make an arrest after an initial use of less-lethal force, and called for the bureau to find a way to interview officers involved in shootings immediately afterward.
Derald Walker, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s chief executive officer, said many of the recommendations will take added resources. “Like so many thing, it’s all about the money,” Walker said. “It’s going to require a huge amount of political and public will to see that happen.”
Officer Daryl Turner, Portland Police Association president, said he disagreed with the federal agency’s conclusions. He called on the city to hire more officers to meet the requested reforms.
“As Chief Reese has said, the officers ‘are not to blame,’ ” Turner said, in a statement. “Nevertheless, we all can take comfort in at least two things – the USDOJ did not find a pattern and practice of unreasonable force against any particular race, nor did the USDOJ find a pattern and practice of unreasonable deadly force.”
Perez, at Thursday’s news conference, said there were obvious “tensions that exist between the Portland Police Bureau and communities of color.” Perez said he hoped a new community group set up to monitor the proposed bureau reforms will also work to address this problem, as well.
He urged the bureau to conduct a bureau-wide “intensive cultural sensitivity and competency training.”
“All citizens – especially our most vulnerable – must be able to trust the police,” Perez said.
Mental health in Oregon: State has more work to do
At the podium, Amanda Marshall, U.S. attorney for Oregon. Behind her (L to R): Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez; Portland Police Chief Mike Reese; Portland Mayor Sam Adams.
Six years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into Oregon’s mental health system. A lot has happened since then but advocates say a person in the throes of a mental health crisis may actually be worse off today.
That was crystal clear Thursday when the federal Justice Department released an investigation into the Portland Police Bureau that concluded the “absence of a comprehensive community mental health infrastructure” means police are shouldering the burden of being the first to respond to people in crisis. That, despite the fact that Oregon has a new, state-of-the-art mental hospital.
The Justice report, released Thursday, quotes one “high level” Portland Police officer who said he used to encounter people suffering mental health issues “a couple of times a month.” Now it’s “a couple of times a day.”
Everyone seems to agree that the Portland Police report focuses on fixing a short-term crisis but the state needs to continue to work toward long-term solutions.
There are a lot of people working to improve mental health care in Oregon, says Bob Joondeph, executive director for Disability Rights Oregon.
“But I would not say that we have a significant change in conditions on the ground,” he adds. “That may be even worse because there are fewer resources available now than there were a few years ago.”
Still, Joondeph and other advocates say they’re hopeful about national health care reforms, which broaden insurance coverage for more people, and about Oregon’s new coordinated care organizations, intended to focus on prevention and integrate physical and mental health care.
U.S. Justice Department officials are also waiting to see whether the health reforms will take care of their concerns.
In 2006, federal officials warned Oregon that conditions at the state mental hospital violated patients’ civil rights. The state built a $458.1 million hospital in Salem.
Then, in 2010, the Justice Department widened its inquiry, looking at whether Oregonians with mental illness were able to receive care in their communities rather than in a large hospital far from home.
Just as it appeared that federal officials were running out of patience with Oregon’s progress, Gov. John Kitzhaber persuaded them to give the state more time.
The Justice Department agreed.
“We want to be sure we get it right,” Thomas Perez, the department’s top civil rights lawyer said Thursday.
Dr. Bruce Goldberg, head of the Oregon Health Authority, said Oregon has added about 100 beds — community residential treatment or supported housing — in the past two years, Goldberg said.
“It’s good, but it’s not enough,” he acknowledged. “I think we need to do more … Part of the issue is we’ve been challenged as a state by our economic issues.”
Beckie Child, an advocate who has dealt personally with mental health issues, says she wants to see the state invest in housing and peer support for people in treatment.
“They’ve been talking at the 90,000-foot-level and not what it is like for folks on the ground,” she said.
The state is planning to build a new 174-bed hospital in Junction City, though patient advocates argue that it would be better to spend the money helping people get care in their communities.
“The Health Authority needs to talk about how it’s going to make an investment to keep people out of crisis,” said Chris Bouneff, executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Oregon.
Instead, Bouneff says, state officials are “fixated on a giant institution in Junction City.”
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, says the simple fact that Oregonians are talking more openly about mental health care is a sign of progress.
Several years ago, Courtney was taken into what he calls the “room of lost souls,” where thousands of corroding cans containing the ashes of former hospital patients had been stored and forgotten.
For him, that became a symbol of the state’s long-neglected mental health system.
“We’re moving in the right direction because the only direction we could move was up,” he said. “Are we going fast enough? No. Are we anywhere near where we should be? No.”
Portland officer apologizes for ‘knee-jerk’ message criticizing federal inquiry
Portland Police Officer John Hurlman was seated in his patrol car Thursday morning, listening to a local radio station’s coverage of a news conference at police headquarters. Federal justice department officials were about to unveil their findings after more than a yearlong review of Portland police use of force.
Hurlman sent a text message out to all officers on the patrol car’s mobile computer, alerting them to tune in.
Shortly after the U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall started to speak, another officer texted the news back to all: the U.S. Department of Justice had found that Portland police engage in a pattern and practice of excessive force against people suffering from mental illness.
Annoyed by the outcome, Hurlman said he typed back something like, “This is the same DOJ or people who created Waco and Ruby Ridge.”
The North Precinct officer was referring to two of the biggest federal law enforcement fiascoes in recent memory: the disastrous 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas. The other, the tragic 1992 encounter between the FBI and a band of white separatists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
Hurlman said he thought he had just responded to one officer but soon learned his message had popped up on all patrol officers’ mobile computers.
“It was kind of a knee-jerk reaction,” said the 21-year Portland police veteran. “In the current political climate, it wasn’t appropriate. On second-thought, I probably shouldn’t have done it.”
Yet Hurlman doesn’t hide his anger with the Justice Department’s ruling regarding Portland police.
“I was really annoyed at that moment, and, in fact, I think it’s nonsense,” he said Friday of the federal review. “Quite frankly, we’re being judged by people who don’t have much law enforcement experience.”
Hurlman said he was one of the original Portland officers to volunteer for crisis intervention training, before it became mandatory for all officers.
“We all know the lengths we go to to try to defuse these situations peacefully,” he said. “Nobody wants to go out and harm someone who is mentally ill.”
North Precinct Cmdr. Mike Leloff soon learned of the patrolwide message and called Hurlman into his office for a stern talk. Hurlman said Leloff appropriately, “chewed him out.”
As a result, Hurlman later Thursday texted an apology to all on his patrol car’s mobile computer.
He said it read something like this: “To those who received my earlier message, my remarks were unprofessional and insensitive. I apologize to anyone who received it.”
Portland Lt. Robert King said Friday, “The issue was addressed immediately by the Command Staff and the matter has been dealt with appropriately.”
Hurlman was back on patrol Friday, responding to emergency calls at North Precinct. He said he was advised to be careful about what he says and remain respectful.
A day after the federal report was made public, Hurlman added Friday, “People here are frustrated, to put it mildly.”
Portland Police Chief Responds To Federal Investigation
Last week, the federal Department of Justice released the results of a long-running investigation into how Portland Police officers use force. It that found a pattern of excessive force, especially with people with mental illness.
Monday, on OPB’s Think Out Loud, Police Chief Mike Reese discussed the findings and the future of his bureau.
Host Dave Miller asked Reese what the ideal role would be for police to play with someone with mental illness.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday morning are expected to announce the federal agency’s findings from a more than 14-month-long investigation into Portland police use of force.
Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division
The federal agency opened a civil rights investigation June 28, 2011, to determine whether the Portland Police Bureau engages in a “pattern or practice’’ of excessive force, particularly against people with mental illness.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez came to Portland last June to announce the federal inquiry. He said then that the review was prompted by a significant increase in police shootings during the prior 18 months, the majority involving people with mental illness.
Perez is back in town Thursday, set to announce the findings with U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall, Mayor Sam Adams and Mike Reese, chief of police, at 10:30 a.m. at the Justice Center, located at 1111 Southwest 2nd Avenue, in Room 14B.
Lt. Robert King, a police spokesman, declined to comment on the nature of the morning’s announcement.
The police investigation was to overlap with an ongoing federal investigation into Oregon’s mental health care system, federal officials said.
Special litigation attorneys in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have been evaluating bureau policies, procedures and practices, as well as specific officer-involved fatal shootings or deaths in custody.
In February, federal authorities held their first public forum in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood to hear citizens’ accounts of their interactions with Portland police officers. And in August 2011, Justice Department officials held individual interviews with community groups.
If violations are identified, the federal agency will recommend remedies and may monitor the Police Bureau until it’s satisfied the bureau has addressed the problems.
Since the inquiry began, Chief Mike Reese has made some changes in response to federal recommendations. He began to require sergeants immediately initiate investigations into officers’ use of force and assigned a new inspector to analyze data on such incidents, a gap identified by the Justice Department during the course of the inquiry. Just last week, the Portland police released its own 4-page statistical report on police use of force, showing a 35 percent decline between 2008 and 2011.
Earlier this year, Reese defended his officers’ use of force. He cited increasing calls involving suicidal people and decried the faltering safety net for those with mental illness.
Portland joined a growing number of police agencies, including Seattle, Newark, N.J. and New Orleans, that have been targeted for federal review in the last few years, under a 1994 law passed by Congress after the brutal beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
In Seattle, the federal agency announced this summer that a court-appointed monitor was to ensure that Seattle Police revise its use of force policies, and enhance its training, reporting, investigations and supervision of police use of force. The Justice Department found that Seattle police engaged in a “pattern or practice of excessive force,’’ but did not find a practice of discriminatory policing.
The federal inquiry in Portland – the first comprehensive federal investigation into the city’s police bureau- followed a string of controversial Portland officer-involved fatal shootings or deaths in police custody of people suffering from mental illness.
In February 2010, city officials, including former police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Mayor Sam Adams, had asked the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a full review of the Police Bureau after the Jan. 29, 2010 police fatal shooting of Campbell, an unarmed black man who was distraught following the death of his brother earlier that day.
Community leaders disturbed by the high-profile police shootings and deaths in custody also pressed for such an inquiry.
Among their concerns: the high profile September 2006 death in police custody of James P. Chasse Jr., a 42-year-old man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia; the fatal shooting of a 58-year-old homeless man Jack Dale Collins who emerged from a restroom at Hoyt Arboretum with an X-Acto knife; and the shooting of homeless veteran Thomas Higginbotham, who was shot 10 times after he emerged from a Southeast Portland car wash with a knife.
Meanwhile, the same posting said anyone who is chosen will have to sign a “nondisclosure agreement.” Lieutenant Robert King, a police bureau spokesman, told me he didn’t think the NDA was written yet, when I asked for a copy, but he also said he didn’t know exactly what it might try to limit.
These aren’t insignificant questions. If the group’s meetings are going to be private, and if the group’s members won’t be allowed to talk about their work with neighbors, reporters, and other advocates, then it’s fair to ask whether the council is going to be a meaningful tool for improving community-police relations or another piece of window-dressing filled with handpicked cheerleaders from, say, the Citizens Crime Commission.
Since then, I’ve heard from Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland, a longtime observer and critic of police training practices, especially concerning the bureau’s efforts to limit the use of deadly force against the mentally ill. Renaud emailed a strong warning about the chill an NDA would have on community dialogue and urged like-minded advocates to stay away if silence is really going to be part of the arrangement. I’ve also heard similar concerns raised by sources in city hall.
Advocates speak out AND carry the response to the community they represent. People who do one but not the other are simply self-appointed pretenders. They are not advocates.
You can’t communicate to the community you represent—you can’t be a community representative—when silenced by a non-disclosure agreement. The intention of a NDA is to silence actual advocates; requiring one from a community advisory council underlines that the PPB and the city are still in public relation/spin mode, obtuse and arrogant.
With a NDA we do not endorse this Training Council and would not encourage anyone to participate.
As always, I’ll update when I hear back. I hope, though, that the bureau and the mayor’s office are thinking hard about these concerns. Meetings should be open to the public. And the NDA should either be scrapped or crafted to be sufficiently and objectively narrow enough (not giving away state secrets, etc.) so as not to stifle a genuine community discussion about police training.
A police officer opened fire on a shooting suspect’s car causing it to slam into an apartment in north Portland Saturday, authorities said.
The Special Emergency Response Team was called to the scene and determined that the driver was dead, said Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau.
Police were looking for a dark colored car after the driver reportedly shot at another vehicle with five people inside near Southeast 122nd Avenue and Southeast Division at 12:30 p.m., King said.
Police were searching for two white male suspects in their 20s who were in the suspect car. Officers learned the car was at a convenience store near North Columbia Way and North Fessenden Street, King said.
Police conducted a high risk traffic stop, and one passenger got out and cooperated with officers, but the driver of the car pulled out onto North Fessenden Street, King said.
An officer then fired his weapon at the car, which then drove through an exterior wall and into an apartment, King said.
The apartment was unoccupied and no one was inured.
The white adult male driver was killed.
One person was taken into custody.
Police identify victim from officer-involved shooting
Billy Wayne Simms, 28, was killed by Officer Justin Clary in North Portland.
The deceased man from Saturday’s officer-involved shooting has been identified as 28-year-old Billy Wayne Simms.
The officer involved is Officer Justin Clary, a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau assigned to North Precinct.
Clary fatally wounded Simms in North Portland Saturday, just an hour after an occupant of the same car allegedly fired at a vehicle in southeast Portland.
Simms then smashed into the exterior wall of a nearby apartment, where he was found dead.
The incident began with officers responding to a call of a shooting at Southeast Division and 122nd Avenue.
Investigators learned that five people were in the car that was shot at on 122nd at Southeast Division. The car contained 47-year-old Paul Polen and four other occupants ranging in age from 14 to 23.
Investigators believe Simms shot at Polen and the other occupants before officers arrived on the scene. They have also learned that Simms is believed to be one of three suspects involved in an armed robbery of marijuana on July 23 from a residence located in the 10400 block of Southwest Division St.
The victim of the robbery gave officers the license plate of the suspect vehicle that matched Simms’ car.
Simms was identified again as a suspect again on July 20 by attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 at the McDonalds at 10050 S.W. Barbur Blvd.
Investigators have processed the suspect vehicle for evidence and found a handgun in the car.
The investigation is continuing, but the Multnomah County Districts Attorney’s Office will convene a Grand Jury. The Portland Police Bureau will also conduct an Internal Affairs Investigation following the Grand Jury.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Rico Beniga at 503-823-0457.
Police have identified the man killed by a Portland police officer Saturday afternoon as 28-year-old Billy Wayne Simms.
Police said an officer opened fire during a high risk stop in the parking lot of a 7-11 and Shell gas station on North Columbia Way and North Fessenden.
Lt. Robert King, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said Simms was wanted for an attempted shooting earlier in the day near Southeast Stark and 122nd. When officers spotted the car Simms had been driving, they tried to stop him and another suspect as they were leaving 7-11.
King said one of the men cooperated but Simms didn’t comply, instead officers say he drove away and was shot by Portland police officer Justin Clary, a 10-year veteran.After Clary fired, Simms crashed the car into an apartment building across the street. Simms was pronounced dead at the scene.
No one was home, but next door neighbor, Meka Curry, said she heard four or five shots then what felt like an earthquake.
“The shots came first then the car,” Curry said.
Investigators said five people were in the car Simms is accused of shooting at in Southeast Portland.
Simms family released a statement Sunday night saying:
After receiving several phone calls informing us our family member had been shot by the police, we rushed to the scene only to sit and wait for SEVEN HOURS before we were given confirmation that the deceased was, in fact, our family member Billy Simms. The lack of information from the Portland Police Bureau was very disrespectful to an entire family including nieces, nephews, and a younger brother who was receiving information through twitter and other media outlets. Other family sitting at the scene had to endure the unknown as they watched the body being pulled from the vehicle at a distance, still unsure if the victim was indeed related to us.
Investigators believe Simms was involved in an armed robbery of a marijuana grow at a home in the 10400 block of Southwest Division on July 23. Officers said three suspects stole marijuana plants from a man at gunpoint, firing a shot inside the house before leaving. The victim in the marijuana robbery gave police a vehicle description matching the vehicle Simms was driving Saturday afternoon when he was shot at 7-11.
Detectives believe Simms was also involved in an incident at McDonald’s, located at 10050 Southwest Barbur Boulevard, on July 20 when suspects tried to use counterfeit twenty dollar bills. Witnesses from McDonald’s also described the same vehicle Simms was driving Saturday.
Several North Portland streets were closed for more than nine hours Saturday as homicide investigators looked into the shooting. Police Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams were on scene Saturday afternoon.
Portland police officer placed on paid administrative leave after fatal shooting
The man whom a police officer fatally shot Saturday was believed to be involved in several recent crimes, Portland police said Sunday.
The dead man, Billy Wayne Simms, 28, of Portland, was shot by Justin Clary, a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau assigned to North Precinct.
Clary shot Simms in North Portland on Saturday as Simms was driving away from a 7-Eleven on North Fessenden Street. After Clary fired, the vehicle the wounded Simms was driving smashed into the exterior wall of a nearby apartment, where he was found dead.
Police aren’t saying whether Simms showed a gun or what threat he posed at the time. Lt. Robert King, a police spokesman, declined to say what prompted Clary to shoot.
The investigation is pending and Clary is on paid administrative leave, King said.
The incident began with officers responding to a call that the driver of one car had shot at another car at Southeast Division and 122nd Avenue.
Paul Polen, 47, and four others ranging in age from 14 to 23, were in the car that was fired on. They were not injured.
Investigators believe Simms shot at the car before officers arrived on the scene.
About an hour later, police learned that the car involved in that shooting was in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven. When the occupants of the vehicle came out of the store, Simms fled in the vehicle and was shot.
He is also believed to be one of three suspects involved in menacing with a gun about 12:20 p.m. Saturday at a residence in the 14100 block of Southeast Division. This was immediately before the shooting at 122nd and Division.
Police said Simms was thought to be one of three suspects involved in an armed robbery of marijuana July 23 from a growing operation at a residence in the 10400 block of Southeast Division Street, police said.
In that case officers learned that three suspects stole marijuana plants at gunpoint and one of the suspects fired a gun in the house before leaving. No one was injured.
The robbery victim gave officers the license plate of the suspect vehicle and it matched the car Simms was driving at the 7-Eleven.
And Simms was identified as a suspect when a man attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill July 20 at a McDonald’s at 10050 S.W. Barbur Blvd. In Portland.
After Saturday’s fatal shooting, investigators processed the suspect vehicle for evidence and found a handgun.
The Multnomah County district attorney’s office will convene a grand jury in the case.
The Portland Police Bureau also will conduct an internal affairs investigation into the shooting.
Detectives ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Rico Beniga at 503-823-0457.
Police identify man killed by officer in north Portland
Portland police have released the names of the people involved in Saturday’s deadly officer-involved shooting.
Police said 28-year-old Billy Wayne Simms was shot by Officer Justin Clary, who is a 10-year veteran of the police bureau.
Detectives spent all evening investigating a case of road rage that ended when they said Clary fatally shot Simms in north Portland.
Lt. Robert King, a spokesman with the Portland Police Bureau, reports that officers responded to the area of Southeast 122nd and Division at 12:28 p.m. to reports of shots fired in the area.
Police said Simms was the driver of a dark-colored car who shot a handgun at another car that had three innocent people in it as they traveled south on 122nd.
Police soon came across the car with Simms inside at a 7-11 parking lot in north Portland.
Investigators said officers confronted two men who had been in the car as they left the store.
“One suspect complied and was taken into custody, and one man got in the car, started it and drove out of the lot. In the course of the encounter, one officer fired his weapon,” said King in a news release.
The car ended up crossing Fessenden and crashing into an unoccupied unit in an apartment building.
“It felt like we had an earthquake right after that,” said Meka Curry, who was in the apartment next to the one that was hit.
After the car came to a stop, police called out the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) to assist with taking the suspect into custody.
Police said that after SERT made contact with Simms, paramedics determined he was already dead.
A spokesman said it was too early to tell if the suspect fired any shots at the officers or if he returned fire. Neighbors told FOX 12 that they heard multiple gunshots.
“I heard like six shots like three, ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ and then like, ‘Boom, boom, boom,’” said Mike Conway, who lives nearby.
The investigation continues.
‘They approach the situation like they’re trained to’
A driver was shot by police Saturday afternoon in a deadly officer-involved shooting.
The incident began in Southeast Portland and ended in North Portland, where a car crashed into an apartment building after an officer fired at the driver.
The driver was killed but until police could confirm that, they waited with guns drawn and activated their Special Emergency Response Team (SERT).
Police believed the man, and the car he was in, were involved in a shooting in Southeast Portland a couple of hours earlier.
“You basically have like innocent citizens in their car driving at 122nd and Stark and they’re shot at,” said Lt. Robert King, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau.
The investigation led police to the suspect vehicle parked in front of a 7-Eleven store in North Portland.
“They approach the situation like they’re trained to,” said King. “To conduct these high risk stops where they call people out and they have them at gunpoint. And one person did get out of the car and cooperate but it was the driver who backed out and pulled away.”
Witnesses said they then heard between four and eight shots. Police have not confirmed how many shots there were, but they did say that just one officer fired a weapon.
“They just unleashed on him,” said witness Robbie Mills. “Never seen anything like it in my life.”
The car ended up crashing into an unoccupied apartment. Right next door, in the same building, Meka Curry and her children felt the impact.
“It sounded like an earthquake,” Curry said. “That’s what we thought – that it sounded like an earthquake.”
Here’s the Portland Police Bureau’s account of what happened, including a correction that was later sent out:
Correction: Officers confronted two men who had been in the suspect car as they exited the Seven Eleven. One suspect complied and was taken into custody and one man got in the car, started it and drove out of the lot. In the course of the encounter, one officer fired his weapon.
On Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:28 p.m. Portland Police officers assigned to East Precinct responded to a call of a shooting at Southeast Division and 122nd Avenue. Initial information was that the driver of a dark colored car shot a handgun at another car that contained three people as they traveled south on 122nd Avenue. The suspect car was believed to be occupied with three white males in their twenties.
Officers learned through their investigation that the suspect car was in the area of Columbia and North Fessenden. Officers arrived in the area and saw the suspect car in the 7-Eleven parking lot. Because this car and its occupants had just shot at another car officers conducted a high risk traffic stop.
One passenger got out and cooperated with officers but the driver of the car pulled out of the lot and drove onto Fessenden. In the course of the stop one Portland Police Officer fired his weapon. Following the shot the car drove across Fessenden and through an exterior wall and into an apartment. The apartment was unoccupied and no one was injured.
After the car came to a stop in the apartment Officers called the SERT Team (Special Emergency Reaction Team) to the scene to assist in taking the suspect into custody. Once SERT made contact with the driver they had Portland Fire paramedics check the drivers condition and they learned he was deceased. The driver is a white adult male.
Supervisors on scene called the Police Bureau Homicide Detectives to the scene to conduct the officer-involved shooting investigation.
The Multnomah County District Attorneys Office and the Director on the Independent Police Review Division were on scene as well along with Police Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams.
The suspect who was shot dead was later identified as 28-year-old Billy Wayne Simms.
The incident was the second officer-involved shooting in the last week and a half. On July 17, police shot a 17-year-old boy in Southeast Portland. The teenager survived.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to Oregon law enforcement shooting at people in vehicles. Officers are trained to consider the back stop (who and what is around them) as they open fire and who might be injured by a stray bullet.
They are also trained to consider the big picture of the situation, which can include the type of person who is fleeing and whether that person would pose an imminent threat to the life of the officer or others in the area.
Firing at someone in a vehicle can be a sticky situation for police. For example, the 2003 shooting death of Kendra James prompted her family to sue the city for $10 million.
James was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a traffic violation in Northeast Portland near Interstate 5.
Officer Scott McCollister said he shot and killed her when she jumped in the driver’s seat and tried to get away. He said he feared he or another officer would be killed, although James was not armed.
Both a Multnomah County grand jury and a federal jury found that the officer’s actions were justified and her family lost the lawsuit.
McCollister returned to the force and received $18,000 in back pay for the six months that he was suspended without pay.
In 2004, Officer Jason Sery shot James Jahar Perez three times during a traffic stop in North Portland.
According to court testimony, Perez ignored police commands and reached into his pants pocket. Sery thought he was reaching for a gun. It turned out he wasn’t.
“I remember seeing him glance over, shift in his seat to move his leg and get better access to his pocket,” Sery testified at the time. “I remember his hand going deep in his pocket. I remember starting to scream ‘I’m going to shoot, I’m going to shoot – get your hand out, I’m going to shoot.’ ”
Sery was cleared of wrongdoing three times and four years later he joined the Beaverton Police Department as one of its police officers.
The City of Portland settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Perez’ family for $350,000.
Of course, those cases were different from this one. In this instance, the suspects were armed.
Family of the man shot and killed by police last weekend said they’re outraged over how officers dealt with the suspect and his relatives.
Police said Billy Simms, 28, was attempting to elude officers who were chasing him for allegedly firing a gun at a car with five occupants inside. An officer fired at Simms and he later died of gunshot wounds, according to Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau.
Family members said they sat at the scene and pleaded for information for seven hours, even watching a body bag taken away and wondering if it was Billy.
“During the seven hours we were not given any further information,” family members said in a written statement released to the media. “After demanding to speak to a sergeant or person in charge, a female officer approached our family still unable to inform us if in fact Billy was the involved party.”
Family members said they were finally informed that Billy was dead just before 1 a.m. They said he was a loving father of 4 who had recently completed rehabilitation, and did not deserve to be gunned down by police.
“Billy had been working hard to confront his demons and as recent as 6 months ago graduated from rehab, something we were all very proud of him for,” the family statement said. “Billy’s life could have been saved if Portland police thought of him as a person, not a felon.”
Investigators said Simms was suspected of menacing with a gun at a Southeast Portland home just before the alleged shooting. He was also suspected of trying to use counterfeit money at a Portland McDonald’s restaurant on July 20 and police believe he was involved in the robbery of a medical marijuana growing operation on July 23rd.
Issue of firing at moving cars examined in fatal shooting by Portland police
This impromptu memorial developed in North Portland near the spot where Billy Wayne Simms, 28, was fatally shot by police on Saturday.
The Portland Police Bureau will evaluate whether a North Precinct officer who on Saturday fatally shot a motorist who then crashed into an apartment building acted within bureau policy that restricts officers from shooting at moving vehicles.
The 3-year-old policy says that an officer “shall not” fire at someone who is in a moving vehicle unless at least one of the following conditions is met:
It’s necessary “to counter an active threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person, by a person in the vehicle, using means other than the vehicle.”
There are no other means available to avert or eliminate the threat.
Even if one of those conditions is met, officers are instructed before firing to consider the location, the surrounding vehicle and pedestrian traffic and the risk to innocent bystanders.
The officer, Justin Clary, a 10-year bureau veteran, is on paid administrative leave while an investigation continues.
On Monday, the fiancee of the man who was shot and killed, Billy Wayne Simms, 28, voiced concerns about the police shooting as a memorial grew at the scene.
“It could have been dealt with a totally different way,” said the fiancée, Jeannie Lovett, 38.
Portland police say they believed Simms had shot at another car in Southeast Portland on Saturday.
North Precinct police spotted the car Simms was thought to be driving, at the 7-Eleven at 6840 N. Fessenden St. Officers confronted two men as they left the convenience store. One man was taken into custody, police said, while Simms got into the car, started it and drove away.
“In the course of the encounter, one officer fired his weapon,” police said in a news release.
Police said Clary fatally wounded Simms, who then drove into a fenced yard and through a sliding glass door of a two-story apartment building. Police found him dead at the scene.
The Police Bureau has not said whether Simms showed a gun or what threat he posed at the time. Investigators processing the crime scene later found a handgun in the vehicle.
It remained unclear whether Clary shot Simms before or after he got behind the wheel of the car.
Lovett said she was upset by the way police handled the confrontation with Simms.
“Just because there was an assumption that he had a gun earlier, before the whole incident, didn’t mean that he had a gun at the time that he was caught at 7-Eleven,” she said.
Lovett said she and Simms had a 19-month-old daughter together and were picking a date to be married. Lovett said someone called her about the shooting on Saturday, and she arrived at the scene shortly afterward.
Police had said one suspect was in custody and one was dead. Lovett caught a glimpse of the man being arrested, and one thing became clear to her.
“It sure wasn’t Billy that was going to jail,” she said.
Janie Althaus, third from left, was among about 70 people who attended a candlelight vigil for Billy Wayne Sims II, 28, who was fatally shot by police on Saturday. Althaus is one of Simms’ sisters.
Meka Curry, who was home in a neighboring unit of the apartment that Simms ended up driving into, heard more than four gunshots. Then she felt the impact as the car rammed the tan building. Her boyfriend, six-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son were home with her, she said.
“I went straight into shock,” Curry said Monday, her eyes filling with tears. “We ended up on the floor, wondering ‘where should we be? Should we be on the floor? ‘ ”
Curry, who is studying to be a paramedic, said the shooting left her unnerved. “I feel like I’m going through post-traumatic shock,” she said. “I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I can’t study. I hear a car backfire and I think it’s happening again.”
Portland detectives are investigating the fatal shooting, and the case will be presented to a Multnomah County grand jury for review. That will be followed by a police internal affairs investigation to determine whether Clary followed bureau policy.
Many major police departments have set restrictions similar to Portland’s on firing at moving vehicles. Others have prohibited the practice. The Los Angeles Police Commission in 2005 adopted a policy that prohibits firing at moving vehicles unless officers are being fired upon or threatened with deadly force from someone within the vehicle. Boston, New York and Chicago also prohibit officers from firing into moving vehicles unless someone inside is shooting.
About 70 people attended a candlelight vigil for Simms late Monday near the spot where he was killed.
Lovett said that Simms, in addition to her child, had three other children with two women. The children are ages 6, 4, and 14 months.
Grand jury finds no criminal wrongdoing by officer who shot Simms
A Multnomah County grand jury on Friday found no criminal wrongdoing by Portland Police Officer Justin Clary in his July 28 fatal shooting of Billy Wayne Simms in North Portland.
Transcripts of the grand jury proceeding may be released by late next week, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.
Portland police say they believed Simms, 28, had shot at another car in Southeast Portland on July 28.
North Precinct police later in the day spotted the car Simms was thought to be driving, at the 7-Eleven at 6840 N. Fessenden St. Officers confronted two men as they left the convenience store. One man was taken into custody, police said, while Simms got into the car, started it and drove away.
“In the course of the encounter, one officer fired his weapon,” police said in a news release.
Police said Clary fired at Simms, who then drove into a fenced yard and through a sliding glass door of a two-story apartment building. Police found him dead at the scene.
The Police Bureau has not said whether Simms showed a gun or what threat he posed at the time. Investigators processing the crime scene later found a handgun in the vehicle.