This post will collect the initial press clippings from the Portland Police shooting on June 30 & July 1, 2011.
PRESS RELEASE, Portland Police Bureau – Portland Police Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting in SW Portland – June 30, 2011
PRESS RELEASE, Portland Police Bureau – Update on Today’s Officer-Involved Shooting – June 30, 2011
PRESS RELEASE, Portland Police Bureau – Press Conference on Officer-Involved Shooting Today at 12:30 p.m. – July 1, 2011
PRESS RELEASE, Portland Police Bureau – Officer Involved Update (News Release from Today’s News Conference) – July 1, 2011
Man accidentally shot by Portland officer had struggled with mental illness
The police commissioner and chief both promised the shooting would be aggressively investigated, and the incident would become a teaching moment for officers in training.
“I want to be very clear about this. The loading of lethal rounds in a less-lethal shotgun is a terrible mistake,” Reese said. “We don’t know how it occurred, but we know it should not have happened.”
Police identified the victim as William Kyle Monroe, 20, of Bremerton, Wash. He was hit in the hip with five pellets and was in critical condition at OHSU Hospital Friday, police said.
Washington court records suggest that Monroe had been struggling with mental illness. Monroe was accused of third-degree assault in June 2010 in Snohomish County in connection with an assault on medical staff in a mental health unit of Valley General Hospital in Monroe, Wash. The charge was dismissed when he was civilly committed to Western State Hospital on July 2, 2010.
Central Precinct Officer Dane Reister, a 15-year bureau veteran, was carrying a clearly-marked, less-lethal shotgun, but it was loaded with five live rounds. He fired four rounds, and a fifth ejected, police said. Each of the shotgun rounds contain nine .32-caliber-sized pellets. In total, 36 pellets were fired.
Reister was one of three officers responding to a 9-1-1 call about a man who had been “possibly harassing” children at Lair Hill Park, police said. A second caller said the man had left the park, had a pocket knife concealed in his sleeve and was acting in a “peculiar manner.”Portland police spotted Monroe at the corner of Southwest Pennoyer Street and Naito Parkway. Witnesses said Monroe ran from the officers. Police would only say that Monroe did not follow police commands, but did not say what those commands were, or what Monroe was doing when he was shot. Monroe was found with a knife, but police did not say if he had threatened anyone.
“At this point we don’t know what occurred specifically there … that’s part of the investigative process. We will be interviewing all the officers and witnesses over the next few days,” Reese said.
Less-lethal weapons are used to subdue someone who is aggressively physically resisting, or is armed, or potentially armed.
Rustin Nesse, who lives directly across the street from where the shooting occurred, said he first heard a man screaming and looked out toward Southwest Naito Parkway. He saw a man dressed in black running south along the parkway, on a path behind the Caro Amico Italian restaurant.
“I heard the guy yelling ‘help me’ and ‘no.’
“He was running up Naito, and I saw a police car drive up,” Nesse said. He said he thought he heard officers yelling ‘freeze’ or ‘hold it!’
“Then, I heard pow, pow, pow, pow.” Neese said he was surprised no detective knocked on his door Thursday. When he went up to an officer Thursday, he said he was told police had talked to enough witnesses.
Reese said as soon as the officers realized Monroe was wounded, they provided medical care and called an ambulance.
Police have been in contact with Monroe’s family. His father lives in Hillsboro. Monroe’s Facebook page says he worked for Michaels store in Tanasbourne since May. It said he graduated from Washington’s Klahowya Secondary School in 2009 and took courses at Portland Community College.
The chief said he spoke to Reister Thursday night, and relayed he felt horrible.
“It was human error that caused this tragedy,” Reese said. “We are human.”
Adams echoed the chief’s remorse. “This was a tragic mistake. We’re very fortunate the individual wasn’t hurt worse.”The less-lethal shotgun’s stocks and pump grips are conspicuously painted orange, and marked “less lethal” to differentiate them from standard shotguns. The lethal rounds are red and blue; while the less-lethal rounds are yellow and clear.
Officers are instructed to inspect each round when they load the less-lethal weapons at the beginning of their shifts. The weapons are unloaded at the end of the shifts, and returned to their precinct armory.
Reese said the bureau’s policy is very clear. “You cannot carry live rounds on your person when you are carrying the less lethal shotgun.”
Training officers instruct police not to carry live ammunition with the less-lethal ammunition. “They’re to remain separate,” Reese said.
Police say lethal rounds in less than lethal shotgun was “a terrible mistake.” Police say lethal rounds in less than lethal shotgun was “a terrible mistake.” Chief Mike Reese of the Portland Police Bureau said the wounding of William K. Monroe Thursday should not have happened, and the bureau is reviewing the incident and its training practices. Watch video
However, it’s not uncommon for officers to carry a mix of live rounds and bean-bag shotgun rounds in their duty bags kept in the trunk of their patrol cars. There’s no specific directive that prevents that, police said.
Reister was certified to carry the less-lethal shotgun in December 2002, and required to qualify on the firearm three times a year, Training Cmdr. Robert Day said. Police did not say if Reister loaded his own shotgun.
The Portland Police Association called the shooting unfortunate. “We stand in support of Officer (Dane) Reister as he goes through this difficult process in regards to yesterday’s incident. As the PPA, we look forward to a positive resolution to this unfortunate occurrence.”
Two other officers, Stuart Palmiter, a 19-year veteran, and Dean Haley, a 25-year veteran, witnessed the shooting, as well as an 18-year-old who was on a ride-along in Palmiter’s car.
Day said the firing of live rounds from a shotgun causes more significant recoil, compared to less-lethal beanbag rounds. Police would expect that officers can tell the difference, however in a dynamic situation that may be difficult, Day said.
Jack Levin, a criminology professor and co-director of Northeastern University’s Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, said when police carry live and less-lethal ammunition together, “there’s more potential for trouble,” but said officers are human and make mistakes.
“It’s a mistake that had dire consequences, and the department has to take all precautions.”
Geoffrey Alpert, a criminology and criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina, said the mistake is avoidable. “I am sure it was ‘human error,’ not intentional –but that is not a justification,” Alpert said. “Safeguards may be in place by policy, but not practice. I would say it is an error of supervision, management and accountability. If officers were trained to anticipate the potential problems and were “checked” or supervised to make sure they did what they were supposed to do – it would reduce the chance of it occurring again.”
Chief: Portland police shooting ammo error ‘a terrible mistake’
Mayor Sam Adams said Friday that the mistaken use of lethal rounds instead of beanbag rounds in a Thursday officer-involved shooting was “a tragic mistake” and he wished a speedy recovery to the man who was shot.
Chief Michael Reese the incident was “a terrible tragedy.” He said he spoke with the officer involved last night “and he certainly feels horrible.” Reese said his thoughts and prayers go out to the man who was shot.
The two spoke at a press conference a day after police responded to a call of a drunk man with a knife harrassing children in a park.
Adams also said the comments Friday were part of a bureau effort he instituted to have more transparency in communicating with citizens. A mistake was made, and that information should be made clear.
Reese identified the man who was shot as William Kyle Monroe, 20, who was listed in critical condition as OHSU. He was hit with five pellets in the hip.
The shooting was in the 3600 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard. Dispatchers said the first 9-1-1 call came in around 9:55 a.m. about an intoxicated man harassing children at a summer camp in Lair Hill Park.
Other calls said the man had a knife concealed up a sleeve, and that he had left the park.
Officers encountered a man several blocks away at Naito and Curry and one officer fired what was thought to be beanbag rounds.
Lethal rounds are red and blue and less lethal rounds are yellow and clear in color. Officers are required to also do a safety check and load the weapon at the beginning of their shift, according to police spokesman Lt. Robert King.
At the press conference, police displayed to the two shotguns police use. Both are the same make. Both use the same size of shells, whether beanbag or lethal. The bean bag shotgun has a bright orange stock and pump lever. The orange stock has the words ‘Less Lethal’ on it.
The officer who fired the rounds is a 15-year bureau veteran and was placed on paid administrative leave. He was not identified by the bureau.
On Friday, the Portland Police Association union issued a statement that read “We stand in support of Officer (Dane) Reister as he goes through this difficult process in regards to yesterday’s incident. As the PPA, we look forward to a positive resolutioni to this unfortunate occurence.”
Police shoot, wound man in Southwest Portland
Detectives are investigating the officer-involved shooting in the 3600 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard. There was a massive response that included dozens of officers, detectives, lawyers, police union reps, the police chief and even the mayor.
Dispatchers said the first 9-1-1 call came in around 9:55 a.m. about an intoxicated man harassing children at a playground in the area, another caller said he had a knife.
The children were attending a camp event at Lair Hill Park, police said. Officers encountered a man several blocks away at Naito and Curry and fired one shot, police said.
Spokesman Lt. Robert King said one man was struck with a non-life threatening wound. Detectives were interviewing several witnesses at the scene.
“You know, [it sounded like] bam, bam, bam. It didn’t sound like fireworks, thinking back at it,” witness Michael Irvine told KGW.
Mayor Sam Adams and an attorney for the police bureau both showed up to the scene around noon.
Police have confirmed that there was an officer-involved shooting. But they have not yet clarified whether anyone was wounded. Officers said that early reports indicated only one round was fired.
King said Southwest Naito Parkway in the area was blocked in both directions, along with the area around Barbur.
Paramedics said the suspect was bleeding from the leg, from a gunshot wound, and taken to Oregon Health and Science University for treatment. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Police have not yet released the suspect’s identity or details on what prompted police to open fire.
The roadway was closed during the investigation, but re-opened before the evening commute.
Suspect shot after reports he was harassing kids
From KATU.com, June 30, 2011
Update: Police said Thursday evening that they had fired at the man five times with what they thought was a less than lethal beanbag gun. But after they took the man into custody, they discovered he had actually been shot with actual shotgun rounds.
A suspect who was reportedly harassing children at a park and then was spotted somewhere else with a knife was shot by police Thursday morning after officers responded to 911 calls.
The incident happened in the 3600 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard.
According to police, a 911 call came in around 10 a.m. about a man who was at Lair Hill Park acting intoxicated and harassing some children who were there. The man took off and that’s when police got a second call from a nearby area on a report of a man with a knife.
Details about the confrontation between the suspect and police have not been released but police did say they fired one shot, although witnesses reported hearing three or four shots fired. Both Police Chief Michael Reese and Mayor Sam Adams were at the scene early on.
The suspect was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His identity has not yet been released.
Portland police ammo mix-up under investigation
Portland police say they accidentally used lethal shotgun shells instead of beanbag rounds when they shot a man five times in southwest Portland yesterday.
Officers were called to Lair Hill Park after getting a report of an intoxicated man who was harassing children. They confronted the man, who decided to run up an embankment toward Barbur Boulevard.
Police gave chase, and because they say the man was not complying with their demands, he was shot in the hip by 5 shotgun pellets.
The officer thought he was firing less-lethal bean bag rounds when he pulled the trigger, but the gun had mistakenly been loaded with real ammunition, police say.
The man was rushed to a hospital to be treated for his injuries. The wounded man, whose name has not been released, is expected to survive the shooting.
Lt. Robert King says the ammo mix-up is under investigation.
“Training protocols require the officers who are certified in this weapon to visually inspect each round,” King said in a police bureau statement. “Lethal rounds are red and blue and less lethal rounds are yellow and clear in color.”
The officer who fired the shots is a 15-year veteran and is on paid administrative leave per Bureau policy.
Earlier, witnesses reported to police that the man may have been armed with a pocketknife, but police have not said whether he was, in fact, armed.
Portland officers started carrying less-lethal bean bag shotguns in the mid 1990s. In a statement, the police bureau said an incident like this has never happened prior to today.
The Portland Police Bureau is already under a federal investigation over their use of force. The Department of Justice is looking into whether the bureau’s practices and policies comply with civil rights laws.
The DOJ investigators are pouring through the case patterns and training programs for Portland officers, paying close attention to situations related to people with mental illnesses. Earlier this month, Mayor Sam Adams and police chief Mike Reese said they requested the investigation.
Police investigate officer-involved shooting in Southwest Portland
A man was shot by Portland police, who were responding to reports of a knife-wielding subject in Southwest Portland early Thursday morning.
Just before 10 a.m., a person called 9-1-1 to report that a man, who appeared to be intoxicated, was harassing kids and the caller at Lair Hill Park, where a camp was ongoing.
As police responded, another call came in that a man was armed with a knife. Portland officers located the man near SW Naito Parkway and Curry, where at least one shot was fired by police.
Nearby resident Zachary Reite said he saw several officers whiz by.
“I just saw someone point then all the cops hopped the curb and ran right to the restaurant,” he said.
Reite was surprised when he found out the suspect was shot by gunfire. He thought police fired bean bags at the man, who he described as an “older guy.”
Police spokesman Robert King briefed reporters and offered very few details about how the shooting unfolded, but did say the suspect’s wounds appeared to be non-life-threatening.
Both Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese were on scene.
The area of Naito Parkway near the incident could be closed off until 5 p.m.
Portland officer shoots man in Southwest Portland with live round, not less-lethal beanbag
From The Oregonian, June 30, 2011 A Central Precinct officer mistakenly shot a suspect with a live round instead of a less-lethal beanbag on Thursday morning. The man had reportedly been acting in an intimidating manner at a Southwest Portland park. Callers told police the man appeared intoxicated and armed with a knife.
The officer thought he was firing less-lethal beanbags at the suspect, who was not complying with police commands. In fact, the beanbag shotgun had been loaded with lethal shotgun rounds, Portland police said at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The suspect was hit by five pellets in the hip and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening wounds, police said.
“We are just at the beginning stages of this investigation,” says Chief Michael Reese. “Our training protocols are designed to prevent this from happening. I have instructed supervisors to immediately remind every less lethal beanbag shotgun operator to visually inspect each round as they are loaded into the weapon and review less lethal beanbag shotgun training protocols.”
The officer who shot the rounds, a 15-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
The shooting occurred about seven blocks south of Lair Hill Park, in a grassy area behind Caro Amico Italian Restaurant, where Southwest Naito Parkway meets Barbur Boulevard.
Police earlier said one round was fired, striking the man in the leg. He was taken to OHSU Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said.
It was the second officer-involved shooting this year, and comes just weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was beginning a federal inquiry into the bureau’s use of force, particularly against those with mental illness.
There was an immediate and significant response to the scene from law enforcement and City Hall, including Mayor Sam Adams, Multnomah County’s chief deputy district attorney Norm Frink, deputy city attorney Dave Woboril, the police bureau’s Assistant Chief Eric Hendricks, Central Precinct Cmdr. Vince Jarmer and Detective Division Cmdr. Ed Brumfield.
Under a new agreement with the police bureau, Constantin Severe, the deputy director of the Independent Police Review Division, also responded to the scene, accompanied by the police director of services, Mike Kuykendall. Multiple private attorneys also arrived for Portland officers involved.
Police shoot and wound a man after responding to a disturbance call in the Lair Hill Neigborhood of Southwest Portland Police shoot and wound a man after responding to a disturbance call in the Lair Hill Neigborhood of Southwest Portland Central Precinct officers of the Portland Police Bureau responded to a disturbance call at a day camp near Lair Hill Park Thursday. Additional calls said the man was armed with a knife. The suspect was shot once. His condition is unknown, but he is expected to survive
Police said a caller at 9:55 a.m. reported that an intoxicated man was acting in a harassing manner at Lair Hill Park, where children were attending a private day camp led by a teacher from the nearby Cedarwood Waldorf School. A second caller to police reported that the man had a knife, according to Lt. Robert King.
Witnesses said they heard a confrontation behind Caro Amico Restaurant, police yelling commands and multiple shots fired. One man said he thought he saw one of the bureau’s new shoulder-fired Taser shotguns.
Jay Smith was driving north on Southwest Barbur Boulevard shortly before 11 a.m. when he noticed about three officers standing in the lawn behind the restaurant. “They were spread out with their guns out,” Smith said. “I saw a guy had run out from under the overpass, across Naito Parkway over to Caro Amico’s parking area.”
The man, described as in his 20s and wearing black shorts, “was running frantically,” Smith added. Smith said homeless people often sleep under the overpass just east of the Italian restaurant.
Laura Jones, who lives in the basement of a house at the corner of Southwest Pennoyer Street and Naito Parkway, estimated the shooting occurred around 10:40 a.m. Jones said her husband was outside exchanging pleasantries with a stranger when she saw a Portland police officer armed with a rifle approach. Her husband came inside. They heard police yelling commands in a serious tone and then heard at least two shots fired.
Nate Weaver, 25, who was asleep in his Southwest Naito Parkway apartment, was awakened by the shooting, hearing three to four shots. “I just heard some yelling and then heard some pops,” he said.
The Portland officer who fired the shot was not named, but other officers said he was a 15-year bureau veteran. Police also did not say if any less-lethal weapons were fired, or if the man shot was threatening police with the knife.
A parent at Lair Hill Park said later Thursday morning that the strange man had approached an adult in the park, but had not bothered any of the children, who were moved elsewhere.
Police shoot man near Barbur Boulevard
UPDATE • Lethal round apparently accidentally used
From the Portland Tribune, June 30, 2011
Portland police apparently accidentally shot a man with a lethal shotgun round instead of a less-than-lethal beanbag one Thursday morning.
The man, who has not yet been identified, is recovering in an area hospital. Police are investigating how the lethal round was used when police supposedly intended to shoot him with a less-than-lethal one. Police say he was hit with five pellets in the hip area.
Both lethal and less-than-lethal rounds can be shot from the same shotguns. According to a statement issued by the police bureau late Thursday afternoon, officers are suppose to visual inspect each round before they load the. Lethal rounds are yellow and clear in color, while less-than-lethal rounds are red and blue.
Police said the shooting occurred at about 9:55 a.m. after officers from the Central Precinct were called to Lair Hill Park, 3037 S.W. Second Ave., when children in a camp there had been approached by an intoxicated man reportedly armed with a knife.
When officers arrived, the man ran from the area. Neighbors said they saw four or five police officers chasing the man across Barbur Boulevard near the Caro Amico Italian Restaurant on Barbur Boulevard. The officers had their guns drawn during the chase, witnesses said.
One witness said the man was confronted by officers when he ran into a parking area that was blocked by high walls and blackberry bushes. A neighbor heard one gunshot. Others reported two or three shots being fired.
Members of the East County Major Crimes Team are investigating the shooting. Names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released.
The shooting happened near the tunnel where Naito Parkway turns into Barbur Boulevard. The road was closed in both directions near Pennoyer Street through the afternoon.
Scenes From 2011’s Fourth Police Shooting
So we’re still waiting for a more definitive initial accounting of today’s non-lethal police shooting—the fourth shooting so far this year, and the ninth out of 10 since January 2010 involving someone battling some form of mental illness.
But after talking to neighbors and more witnesses, we do know a bit more than we did earlier this afternoon when I called in our last dispatch to Sarah [perhaps Mirk?]. But first! A recap of the bare bones of that report for anyone who didn’t read that post: Cops were called when a man was reported bothering children attending a day camp at Lair Hill Park in Southwest, with one caller reporting the man had a knife. The man was chased to a grassy spot behind Caro Amico, an Italian restaurant whose front entrance is up on SW Barbur but with parking down the hill on Naito. The man was shot by what cops say, so far, was one round. He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Update 5:40 PM: KGW is reporting, according to an interview paramedics, that the man was bleeding from a gunshot wound to his leg and and was taken uphill to Oregon Health and Science University for treatment.
Contrary to what one witness, Jay Smith, suggested, the man does not appear to have climbed from beneath an underpass along Naito east of Caro Amico. A camper down in the underpass—the underbelly of an entrance ramp leading from Barbur to northbound Naito—said no one matching the description of the man who was shot (long hair, black shorts, and a T-shirt) had been crashing there or had even run through there.
The camper said he heard someone scramble down from the road above onto Naito and then run toward Caro Amico.
“There was some yelling and screaming,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “I caught a glimpse of him running by and then all of a sudden blam-blam-blam-blam”—four or five gunshots.That was nearly the same count offered by a neighbor near SW Gibbs and Naito, who also said she heard four shots not long after seeing a man wearing black shorts running south on SW First toward Caro Amico. First dead-ends into Barbur past the restaurant.
Daniel Serrano, who moved into a home on Naito two years ago, said he also heard four or five gunshots “after some arguing.” Then, “before I knew it, there were a bunch of cops going by.”
Serrano said the man might have been camping not near Barbur and Naito but inside a pedestrian tunnel where Highway 26 crosses under Naito. The tunnel was empty when I checked it out, but had urine puddles, plastic spoons on the floor, and a plastic carton of nonperishable foodstuffs near its western entrance.
Serrano said a man who might have been the guy who was shot, matching the description given by Smith and the other unidentified neighbor—wearing black and with long, messy hair—had recently been appeared in the area and been seen in the tunnel. The tunnel, he says, is a a popular nighttime crash spot in the summer months.
Pat O’Hearn, another neighbor, also said homeless people camp in the neighborhood’s overpasses and tunnels but that there’s hardly any issues.
“It’s pretty mild,” O’Hearn said.
Meanwhile, up at Lair Hill Park, parents and officials at nearby Cedarwood school, having summer classes, were mostly mum about reports that the man who was shot was bothering children. Officials from the Portland parks bureau said the children were participating in a private summer camp put on by one of the school’s teachers.
An administrator who declined to give her name, and who later asked reporters to leave the school building, said the children at the park were ushered into the school building about when police were called.
Also significant: This was the first police shooting since the police bureau agreed to allow the Independent Police Review office to send representatives to shooting scenes, and then to any and all bureau briefings on a shooting. Constantin Severe, assistant director of the IPR office, was on hand and seen with the bureau’s civilian director of services, Mike Kuykendall.
The shooting is also the first since the federal Department of Justice launched its probe into whether the police bureau, through use of force, has routinely violated the civil rights of the mentally ill. That question was on the mind of observers who noted the roll-out of detectives, commanders, and civilian managers and city leaders, although spokesman Lieutenant Robert King said the bureau always brings in “all the resources that are necessary.” In truth, nearly the entire cast of characters out at the scene today, for a non-fatal shooting, were also at the scenes of other recent shootings.
Officer in Shotgun Shooting Was Involved in Previous Videotaped Incident
The Central Precinct officer cops say mistakenly fired five shotgun rounds instead of beanbags at a man disobeying police orders Thursday was involved in a 2008 incident where a video camera recorded him aggressively rousting suspected drug dealers.
The officer, Dane Reister, also ticketed the cameraman, though the Multnomah County district attorney’s office declined to prosecute him. Reister and another officer had stopped two men next to the Portland Art Museum when Mike Tabor, who considered himself an independent journalist, began filming.
Here’s how a 2008 Oregonian article described the encounter:
The videotaping incident that netted Tabor a ticket unfolded when he spotted officers Dane Reister and Nicholas Ragona stopping two men on March 25 next to the Portland Art Museum.
On the nine-minute video, one of the officers can be heard accusing one man of being a drug dealer and the other a drug buyer.
The officer repeatedly asks one of the men for his ID and to allow himself to be patted down. At one point, the officer—identified by Tabor as Reister—tells the man to back away. And when the man takes a step back, Reister takes two or three steps forward and shoves the man in the chest.
“That bugged me,” said Tabor. “It really looked like intimidation—bully-type stuff.”
After patting the man down, the officers let both men go. Then Reister walks over to Tabor, asks him whether the camera was also recording sound, and when Tabor says yes, tells Tabor to hand over the camera. “I was just totally surprised,” Tabor said.
Tabor began to walk to Central Precinct to file a complaint. The officers pulled up in their patrol car and asked what he was doing and then said they would meet him in the lobby. Tabor claims that after he waited about 20 minutes, the officers returned his camera and handed him a ticket.
After Thursday’s shooting, Reister, a 15-year veteran of the bureau, was placed on leave, which is standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting. The suspect, who police say Reister hit with five pellets, was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening wounds.
As of this morning, police said detectives had yet to identify the man but described him in a news release as reportedly intoxicated and armed with a pocketknife.
Mayor Sam Adams, Police Chief Michael Reese and Training Division Commander Robert Day are set to appear at a 12:30 press conference at the Justice Center to address the shooting.
Here’s Tabor’s video:
Many Questions Remain After Press Conference for Police Shotgun Shooting
After a Friday afternoon press conference with Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese, plenty remains unclear about why a Central Precinct officer on Thursday shot a 20-year-old man with a gun that under police rules should never carry lethal ammunition.Police bureau managers suggested Officer Dane Reister violated several safeguards when he fired four live rounds from a bright-orange shotgun with the words “less lethal” on the side of the gun. At least one round struck William Kyle Monroe, leaving him with five pellet wounds in his hip area and in critical condition at a local hospital.
Cops said they do not believe they have had prior contact with Monroe.
Reese and Adams apologized to Monroe for the shooting. That move represented a significant departure from the previous administration of Chief Rosie Sizer, who was criticized for failing to admit when police were at fault. Reese called the shooting “human error.”
Here are some details that emerged at the 12:30 press conference:
- • Lethal shotgun rounds and beanbag rounds look different. The beanbag rounds are yellow and clear, and the lethal rounds are blue and red. “[Officers] are to look and verify each time the weapon is loaded that they are carrying a yellow beanbag round,” said Training Division Commander Bob Day.
- • Lethal rounds aren’t supposed to come anywhere near the less-lethal guns used to fire beanbags, Day said. Reese said specific officers certified to carry less-lethal guns aren’t allowed to carry live shotgun rounds on them or in their cars if they are carrying the beanbag weapon.
- • The beanbag weapons are stored at a weapon locker at the precinct, Day said. When officers check them out, they are required to visually confirm the guns are empty, then load the guns inside their police car.
- • The less-lethal guns, purchased by the department in 1997, are Remington Model 870 shotguns. Aside from distinct orange markings, that’s the same type as the black shotguns meant for lethal force. But shooting beanbag rounds feels different from shooting live rounds because beanbags cause less recoil, Day said. He added Reister may not have noticed the difference under tense circumstances. Beanbags rounds are sometimes visible after they are fired, but again, Day said Reister may not have noticed.
- • Police said Monroe was carrying a pocketknife but declined to say whether he threatened officers, saying it’s too early in the investigation. Police also said it’s also too early to reveal how many times Monroe was shot. Although he was reportedly struck with five pellets, it remains unclear whether those came from the same round, police said.
- • Initial reports that Monroe was intoxicated may be incorrect. Police do not know if Monroe was intoxicated, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the department. Police used the phrase “apparently intoxicated” in news release Wednesday, but that phrase was absent from a press release handed out at the conference, replaced with “acting in a peculiar manner.”
- • Cops said the officers contacted Monroe before talking with witnesses at the park because Monroe had already fled.
- • Initial reports that five rounds fired were incorrect, police said. Reister fired four rounds, police said Friday, and a fifth round was ejected as he pumped the shotgun.
• Reister was trained to use the non-lethal shotgun in 2002, Reese said. The department requires officers to retrain with the weapons three times a year. Because of the incident on Thursday, the department will move up the next round of training, meaning about 220 officers that use the 115 less-lethal shotguns will undergo a 10-hour training course in the next few weeks.
- • Officers are taught to use the beanbag weapons if there is aggressive resistance, of if a suspect is armed or potentially armed. But it’s the “totality” of the circumstances that department will weigh, Day said. Officers are also told to fire beanbags from no more than 60 feet, and Day said it’s too early to say how far Reister was from Monroe when he fired at him.
- • An 18-year-old civilian was riding along with Officer Stuart Palmiter, who along with Officer Dean Halley witnessed the shooting.
- • Reese’s apology: “Using lethal rounds in a less-lethal shotgun was a terrible mistake. We don’t know how it occurred yet.”
- • And Adams: “I’d like to to apologize to the person who was injured by this mistake.”
- • Reese said he spoke to Reister on Thursday night. “He certainly feels horrible about this,” Reese said.
The Independent Police Review Division will likely release more information in the next two weeks, Simpson said.
Police say ammo mix-up, ‘terrible mistake’
Portland police admitted Friday they made a grave mistake when an officer shot a man with live ammunition yesterday instead of the beanbag rounds he meant to fire.
Police Chief Mike Reese apologized during a news conference but said the Bureau is still investigating how the officer loaded the wrong rounds into a gun that is clearly marked “less lethal.”
“Using lethal rounds in a less-lethal shotgun was a terrible mistake,” he said. “We don’t know how it occurred yet. We have an investigation in process that will answer those questions. But we know it should not have happened. … I spoke with the officer involved last night, and he certainly feels horrible about this, our thoughts and prayers are with the injured man and his family.”
Police responded to a 9-1-1 call Thursday morning to the 3600 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard after reports that a man was harassing children at Lair Hill Park, was acting intoxicated and was armed with a knife. Police said the suspect, 20-year-old William Kyle Monroe, fled from police up an embankment and wouldn’t respond to commands to surrender.
That’s when Officer Dane Reister, a 15-year veteran, fired his less-lethal gun four times that was supposed to be loaded with beanbags. It wasn’t. At least one was a live shotgun round. Monroe was hit by five shotgun pellets in the hip, according to police.
Monroe is at OHSU in critical but stable condition, according to police. He is expected to survive.
“I praise the good work of the Police Bureau, but I also said when I took over as police commissioner we would be more forthright when we make mistakes and this was a tragic mistake,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams who was also at the news conference. “We are very fortunate that the individual wasn’t hurt worse.”
During the news conference, Portland police showed the media the difference between their shotguns. Reister, who was not at the news conference, was carrying an orange shotgun that says “less-lethal” on it. Those guns are only to be loaded with yellow beanbag rounds.
Reister was also involved in another high-profile case in 2008 involving a video camera. He seized a man’s camera after the man recorded police searching two other men outside the Portland Art Museum.
The city attorney’s office later said it would give officers a refresher course on people’s rights to videotape in public. Now the Police Bureau will be giving its officers more training on handling its beanbag shotguns.
Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, issued a statement Friday afternoon saying, “We stand in support of Officer Reister as he goes through this difficult process. As the PPA, we look forward to a positive resolution to this unfortunate occurrence.”
Police are supposed to load and unload the beanbag rounds at the beginning and end of each shift, and they’re not supposed carry any lethal rounds on their bodies at all when carrying the beanbag gun.