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Friday, March 26, 2010

Arboretum killing: Not everybody's buying it

Compared to some of the senseless killings at the hands of Portland police in recent years, this week's killing of a disturbed drunk in Washington Park doesn't seem so atrocious. But some people have higher standards than that.

Comments (33)

Even though the officer missed his target (center mass), the lethal wound was to his hip.

So much for the fallacy of "shooting to wound."

Sometimes cops do have to shoot knife wielding assailants...this doesn't sound like one of those situations. The 58 year old intoxicated homeless gentleman would have to be one big bad nasty dude for one to have been "in fear of their life" when encountering him while wielding an Exacto razor blade knife. Police in England and Japan patrol without firearms and are trained to deal with out of control people with batons, etc. One does not have to train at high levels of the martial arts to deal with kind of thing. Bouncers in bars deal with knife wielding drunks all the time with low tech items such as baseball bats and the like. As I understand it, the guy wasn't even attacking the cop...he just failed to drop the razor blade thingy. Sounds to me like the cop was just a stone cold coward with an itchy trigger finger.

I wonder what Murphy (Fort Apache the Bronx)would have done in this situation?

I've heard the various statements in the media and it's almost like they're saying, "This was a justified shooting and we're not even making it up this time. The guy had a weapon and he threatened a woman and her kid, then he came at the officer. This was justified. We're not just pretending it was justified, like last time. Last time the guy didn't have a weapon and he was shot in the back. When we defended that we were really stretching it. Hell, we didn't really believe it ourselves. But this time? This time we actually believe it. We really mean it this time: It was justified."

I listened to a little of Lars yesterday and he and his callers kept mentioning the weapon - not realizing in the short attention span of talk radio - that it just emphasized all over again how shaky the last one was where there was no weapon. Or the Chasse one, or the one with Kendra James or the one with...you get my point.

Both PPB and PPA efforted to contain and control the message about the shooting of Jackie Collins. They learned to project and intertwine facts, opinion, supposition and guesswork ahead of the investigation to douse the media's interest in the story. It didn't help that the town's two best crime reporters have been out of town all week.

At the opposite end, the AMA Coalition decide to be careful and wait for the facts to be stated prior to commenting.

Here's the basic difference between the Collins shooting, and the deaths of Aaron Campbell, James Chasse, James Perez, Kendra James, Dickie Dow, et al. No witnesses.

The suicide-by-cop theme chanted by the PPB/PPA is one of those suppositions. Collins was a late-stage alcoholic, and known to his friends to cut himself. This "cutting" behavior is uncommon with older male alcoholics, but not for those with dementia, with co-morbid mental illness. And it's probably not uncommon behavior to the EMTs from the CHIERS wagon, which would have been the right recourse for Mr. Collins, rather than threatening him with a gun.

Our police are badly trained and ill-equipped to deal with confrontations that may or may not present a threat to the police officer's physical safety. I'm beginning to have some empathy for the officers involved (or at least some of them) because I can't imagine that it feels good to have killed without real provocation. If the union were genuinely looking out for its members, it would be addressing the critical issues of training and equipment.

As I understand it, the guy wasn't even attacking the cop...he just failed to drop the razor blade thingy.

As I understand it, he charged the officer, was SHOT TWICE, continued toward the officer and was shot twice again.

Portland Police.

When you expect them to do nothing, they punch you.
When you expect them to punch you, they tase you.
When you expect them to tase you, they shoot you.

The City wants to have open union negotiations with the police this time around. It will be interesting. I am anxious to see what it costs to employ an entire force of psychologists, who just happen to be experts in martial arts, are marksmen, have a through knowledge of all aspects of criminal and civil law, and also possess some amount of ESP. They better be thinking twice before spending all that extra cash on new bikes paths and cleaning up turtle ponds.

Seriously, I agree we should always question actions of the police when someone is killed or seriously injured. It's clear folks in town don't like the current process. While changing the process, be careful what you wish for.

The person who wrote the article linked to this post is trying to use an unrelated incident, and give it some comparative value as to what happened at the Hoyt. An example that goes way beyond comparing apples with oranges in so many ways.

I had a problem with this guy's analysis based on my life.
First, in my wild youth I once had someone pull a knife on me, and what you immediate do is focus on the blade. He was trying to cut me and I began dodging the blade while retreating. My eyes were fixed on it. The guy was landing some hard punches with his other hand, and I didn't feel them 'til later. I also got in some good punches too - thank you. But I did this while retreating 'til I was up against a barrier - in this case a big hedge.

Fortunately, he stopped at that point, said he thought I was someone else, and we ended up drinking a pitcher of beer together. True story.

So the officer's description sounds exactly like what I did as far as retreating backwards until I came up against a barrier.

Sometimes you don't have time to look around and plan a graceful escape. You have to focus on the blade. How this blogger sees that as the officer's fault is beyond me.


I hope he paid for the beer!

How this blogger sees that as the officer's fault is beyond me.

In this town, its always the officer's fault. People would still be in an uproar even if he had just tazered the guy. Or used pepper spray.

Lucky for the cop that the guy who came out of the bathroom was a knife-wielding transient and not someone who'd been attacked and bloodied by a knife-wielding transient, wrested the knife from them, and was disoriented enough by the attack that they didn't follow commands to the letter. That could never happen, I'm sure.


The transient in question threatened to kill a mother and her child, which prompted the police inquiry. I'm sure a description was given of the man, too.

Your hypothetical is just that...a hypothetical (and a bad one at that).

I think it's a great idea to have a blogger's bar bouncer buddy set the use of force policy for the Portland Police!

Wasn't a box cutter the weapon of choice for the 9-11 hijackers? Im dying to know how he would have handled that one..

Good for the hillsboro cop who got the suicidal guy contained, but are you aware that cops do that kind of thing Portland all the time? You won't hear about it here or in the Oregonian..

a 110 pound female can slice up a 200 pound man with a razor and do some serious damage. It's apparent that a lot of armchair critics think cops are psychic and possess magical powers to control space and time.

Horrible, sad and tragic for everyone. If you really want to help, vote,donate, or volunteer for any effort to promote mental health or addiction services.

The transient in question threatened to kill a mother and her child, which prompted the police inquiry.

I don't get the leap of logic that says "if you threaten someone in public, it's more appropriate to be shot dead".

And I'm interested in the creative use of language to describe the incident. The (now dead) fellow did not "charge" the officer--he walked towards him. He didn't run, or jog, or even wave his knife at the officer--he walked towards him.

I don't think the reason for criticism is complex. Folks are both tired and scared of a rash of events where police are quick--extremely quick--in using guns and deadly force. And that's only part of the story--there are a significant number of events where police officers have been abusive (Chasse, the female bicyclist), derogatory, threatening, and just plain bullying. This isn't just a brief series of isolated events.

If all of this (or, heck, even most of it) is true, when does it become appropriate to question the behavior of police? Who gets to do it? If not the citizens police swear explicitly to serve, then who? If someone is given a gun and permission to use it to kill when they deem it necessary, I'm fairly certain that somebody had better keep an eye on them. Someone who is not them.

And worst of all--to characterize that questioning as "hate" is both disingenuine and juvenile. I've rarely met a person who "hates" policemen. I don't. But there's something disturbing about an approach (like Kroeker's, for example) that takes a segment of society and tells it that it is a "breed apart", gives that segment lethal weapons, special haircuts, and millions of dollars in paramilitary equipment--then tells them to go out into the community and serve it. In other words, there's a larger fear here, and police and government don't want to address it. Most of us don't either.


please describe, based on the scenario reported, how you would have handled it differently.

millions of dollars in paramilitary equipment

What equipment do you have issue with?

The transient in question threatened to kill a mother and her child...

That doesn't mean there couldn't have been another transient in the area, even one who — when covered with blood — matched the general description of the guy who threatened the officer. It just seems like from the point at which the restroom door was opened by an officer with a drawn gun that the story here was already written in blood.

Am I the only person here who remembers when the trigger-happy Portland police shot and killed a 12-year-old boy who was being held hostage by a guy with a knife in his Laurelhurst home?

- Three policemen fired 16 shots to kill Bryan French, 21, as he held Nathan Thomas hostage on January 16 in Thomas' Laurelhurst home. French was hit 14 times; thomas was accidentally hit twice in the head and also died.

That incident's two decades old, but the same "training" refrain was played:

Portland's officers are concerned about the shootings of the past 17 months and are demanding that training, said Capt. Roy E. Kindrick, head of the bureau's training division.

"We've learned that officers have to shoot to stay proficient. They learn confidence," he said. "But we also need to develop skills to help officers go to cover; we need to focus on other options rather than just draw and shoot."

From the same report:

Police switched four years [1988] ago to high-capacity semi-automatic handguns so they match the firepower of drug dealers and gang members. Yet the people they shoot at are nearly always what [then-Police Chief Tom] Potter calls the city's "walking wounded" - drug users, drunks and the mentally ill.

Or maybe a combination of the three!

"...who was being held hostage by a guy with a knife in his Laurelhurst home?"


I do remember that saga, a stranger enters a house and gets into a bedroom, holding a little kid hostage at knife point.

And I see no comparison at all to the shot-in-the-back guy in the parking lot.

Nor much comparison to the latest killing of a derelict with an X-acto knife.

More training (especially less-lethal) would have helped this year, but not sure it would have helped the hostage boy two decades ago.

More training (especially less-lethal) would have helped this year, but not sure it would have helped the hostage boy two decades ago.

"More training" was the recommendation of the police department in the wake of three officers pumping out so much lead that they killed the hostage they were supposed to be rescuing two decades ago. I don't know if it would have made a difference then, either, but I don't see how you can be sure it would in the future, either.

I see a direct correlation between the Nathan Thomas killing and the various incidents in recent months (which pretty much mirror the incidents from the 1992 report). Cops shoot too quickly and too fast, and when there are multiple officers shooting, they tend to shoot even more.


Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.
Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle's African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she'd be admitting guilt.

Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her.

The officers — Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones — then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her face-down in the street.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the Taser.

Of course, it's all OK because she was not following orders.

I agree with Bill McDonald, you do focus on the blade no matter what size the weapon if you are ever confronted. This happened to me 40 years ago in a army barracks with a co-soldier. He was high or drunk and you never knew what he might do. I get a chuckle out of all the armchair comments on subjects like this while very few have ever had similar circumstances.

Please give the police a break until you know the real facts, then consider what people say who had similar experiences.

My brother-in-law who is a former King Co. officer chuckles even more and has given up on conveying his perspective on incidents like this because many just ignores point of view.

Well, it's undoubtedly true that police officers have to shoot from time to time to stay proficient, so these incidents could be considered practice rounds.

Please give the police a break until you know the real facts, then consider what people say who had similar experiences.

I've had a loaded shotgun pointed at me by a guy who once blasted a hole in a wall of his house in a fit of pique. Does that count?

Well, it's undoubtedly true that police officers have to shoot from time to time to stay proficient, so these incidents could be considered practice rounds.

"Time to time" is about right.

I generally shoot more rounds in one weekend of recreational shooting than most Portland cops do in a year to qualify to carry their service weapons. Most, but not all, of course...one time I saw a cop out of uniform up at my favorite quarry practicing for hours with a fancy electronic buzzer and everything. One of the few that takes the time to learn to hit what he is aiming at.

Most of 'em can't hit the broad side of a barn, though. It's not like the movies...handguns are very hard to become accurate with, especially beyond very short range.

Speaking of range, I recall a local Range that kicked the PPB out for atrocious marksmanship a few years back. They were tired of replacing the wooden structures of the range, that were being riddled with stray rounds from the cops and destroyed.

I also remember an indecent a couple of years back, where some armed gangster retard refused to comply with the Portland cops over near Emanuel Hospital...they let loose with about 50 rounds, most of which missed their target. This woman was on TV showing the bullet hole in her wall a few inches above her child's bed.

Hope she sued the Hell out of 'em.

I'm with Bill and Jerry on this. I've been faced with a weapon, and it really focuses your attention. I'm not going to be thinking about whether the holder is mentally ill, high on drugs, or just a Democrat (but I repeat myself)- I'll do what it takes to get rid of the weapon.

It's worth noting, as somebody mentioned earlier: having been shot twice, the guy kept heading for the cop. Unless you've been in that kind of situation yourself, you have no basis for self-righteous judgement.

Fortunately I have never been threatened with a real knife in a real world scenario, but I have received formal martial arts training in knife defense. I drilled against knife attacks at least twice a week for two years. There is a huge difference between an X-Acto, which has a "blade" that is maybe an inch long and has no point, and the kind of knife a bad ass carries around as a weapon. If the transient was a young tough guy with a big 'ol Bowie knife then I'd drop him in a second with a sidearm, if he was coming at me with prejudice and I had a gun on me, because it's a "him or me" situation. An old alcoholic street bum with a little wimpy razor blade knife is a horse of a different color than the scenarios relayed by Bill, Jerry and Max, and I'm still not convinced that the cop was legitimately "in fear of his life" when he pulled the trigger.

"Usual Keven", he probably was in fear.

"They perpetually attribute hostile intentions to others. The trouble is, they perceive provocation where it does not exist."

"a perceptual bias that leads them to see - and retaliate against - threats where none exist."

We must be talking about 2 different types of x-acto knives b/c the ones I work with can take the tip of your finger off in a heart beat. They most certainly do have pointed blades, much like a surgical scalpel. As a matter of fact, the point of one met my thumb Friday.

Anyone who doesn't think these are serious weapons has never used one. Frankly, I won't use one if I don't have access to a safety ruler.

http://www.xacto.com/Catalog/Knives o.k. it has a frikin' "point" that can "slice your finger off". Hardly something a well trained police officer couldn't handle, especially when wielded by a 58 year old chronic alcoholic. If you can't do the job don't cash the check. Wake up sheeple!!!

I loved how they came out with "a razor knife with a 6 inch handle" thinking the sheeple would think.. SIX INCH KNIFE.

Cutting off the tip of a finger may make one bleed to death in a few hours if the person is on a blood thinner. A few days if it becomes infected from a dirty donut.

A well trained surgeon or knife ninja would know just the right artery to nick and the person could bled to death in about the time it would take SWAT Team to check on said victim.

The reality is the PPD will gun a person down on any figment of their imagination.

Compare the number of armed, shooting, gang banging felons they have shot to death and the ones that are unarmed and or mental and or running away.

What class of individuals go after the weaker and defenseless and then blame the victims for it?

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