Here we go again. An unarmed person of color is shot to death while allegedly being taken into custody by the Portland police.
Close to 36 hours later, we're told hardly anything about what went down. According to the police, he was resisting arrest. The arrestable offense? Driving without a license. The cause for the traffic stop? Failing to signal before turning into a food market driveway.
Ever turn into a driveway without signalling? Ever forget to have your license on you when you drove a couple of blocks to the grocery store?
Two police officers were there. They apparently tried a stun gun. And then one of them fired several bullets into the man's torso.
This is so sad, and so maddening. The police tell us to be patient. Patient for what? I guess for the end of the mandatory three-day waiting period before the official interviews of the officer who fired the shots can begin. He and the other officer involved get 72 hours to collect their thoughts (including "pre-interviews" that aren't recorded) and present their side of the story. So don't expect much more detail until Wednesday or Thursday. By then the dead man will probably be ready for burial.
In those 72 hours, the suspicions that something is being covered up invariably grow and fester. This time around, everybody knows it's going to get very ugly indeed.
There was a rumor going around over the holidays that the mayor was going to reassign the various municipal bureaus among the city commissioners. She never did it, but it's not too late for her to go ahead with it. She really needs to take herself off the police bureau immediately.
Her top priorities for the remainder of her term, published the other day in The Oregonian, didn't include anything related to the police bureau. They didn't include anything about keeping this from being a miserable, tension-filled summer in this city.
But it's time for a revision of that stunningly shallow list. And agenda item no. 1 ought to be a new commissioner-in-charge for the police.
UPDATE, 1:17 p.m.: The mayor has called for a public inquest, which the police union will surely try to block. Meanwhile, African-American leaders are calling for an FBI investigation as well. Sounds good to me.
Do you think the Oregon Department of Justice might get involved? Don't make me laugh.
Also, today we learn that the 72-hour waiting period has been abandoned, at least in this case. If indeed the bureau has changed this highly controversial feature of its post-shooting procedures, you would have thought it would have done so with some public fanfare. But it didn't.
» Sad news gets sadder from Jack Bog's Blog
The guy who died in police custody in Portland over the weekend had reportedly been tasered by officers shortly before he died. Funny how that little detail has been slow to emerge. This is starting to sound like the deranged guy who recently bought th... [Read More]