What Happened at the Hoyt Arboretum

Hoyt Arboretum

Hoyt Arboretum

It may be months or years, if ever, before we learn what happened at the Hoyt Arboretum on March 22, 2010.

Remember – the key witness is Jason Walters, a veteran police officer, but also the shooter and therefore an extremely biased witness to a potential crime.

And remember – many of the reported facts about what happened to James Chasse and to Aaron Campbell turned out to be false.

What we can piece together from news reports and some witnesses is the following.

Jason Walters and perhaps a partner officer were called to the Hoyt Arboretum office on the afternoon of March 22. Someone complained about a middle-aged white male who was drunk.

Soon after 3 PM Jason Walters shot this man four times with our bullets. One of the bullets tore through a vital conduit and the man bleed to death at the scene.

Was crime being committed? Perhaps trespassing. Was the dead man threatening someone? No indication of a threat is described by anyone but Jason Walters through his impulsive spokesman, police union president Scott Westerman. Was the dead man wanted for crime elsewhere? We don’t know – no name has been released. (James Chasse’s name was in the media within 48 hours. Aaron Campbell’s name was revealed first in the Oregonian within 22 hours.)

The police have proven ineffective at policing themselves. The politicians sit on their hands. The oversight process is toothless. The reform process is stifled.

So what can you do?

1. Stop calling the police unnecessarily. Unless there is obvious threat to life or limb there are other solutions.
2. Be an advocate for public housing and mental health + addiction treatment. This means working with others to apply direct pressure on politicians, at the city, county and state, to fund services.
3. Public administration by litigation is stupid. Encourage stupid people to remove themselves from public policy discussions.
4. No justice no peace. That’s not a mindless chant, it’s a formula which protects our vital social contract.

Over time we’ll know more about what happened at the Hoyt Arboretum. But not today. Be safe out there.