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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Big screwup in latest Portland police shooting

It's hard to believe anything you hear from Portland officials after a shooting by police. But they're saying now that the shooting of a man in the Lair Hill neighborhood this morning involved a horrendous mistake. The officer with the gun says he thought he was firing a beanbag round, but instead he was firing a live shotgun round. Fortunately he took a lousy shot and barely hit the victim.

Another day in Sam-Rand Portland -- with the mayor nominally in charge of the cops, and the Fireman hand-picking the police chief. May this be over soon.

UPDATE, 11:04 p.m.: It gets even more bizarre. The officer fired the shotgun at the suspect five times.

Comments (16)

Reminds me of the fatal shooting in Oakland a couple of years ago when a police officer allegedly thought he was firing his taser and instead shot the suspect in the back as he lay prone on the ground. Up next: "I thought I was texting."

You're right on that Jack.

The less-lethal .12 ga. police use are identical with to the lethal ones, with one (critical) exception:

The forestock and buttstock on the less-lethal are painted day-glo yellow or lime green to indicate that that they are strictly to be used as less lethal, and it should *never* be loaded with anything but less-lethal rounds.

The reason is that there are numerous instances wherein less-lethal would be justified in use, but deadly force is not. Less lethal .12 ga rounds are *distinctly* different in appearence than lethal for this reason.

I don't know PPB's specific policy, but generally, it is the officer carrying the weapons responsiblity to unload, function check, and reload when assuming control of the weapon (to ensure things like this don't happen.) This means *every* time you come on shift and assume control of the weapon.

Either the officer that had the weapon didn't check it at the start of his shift (after someoone else misloaded it) or he misloaded it himself.

Either way, it was a very serious breach of the firearms policy, and some pretty knot-headed weapons handling.

Someone's butt is going to be in a sling on this one.

Its long been said, there has gotta be something wrong with anybody who wants to be a Cop in Portland. Looks as being a poor shot qualifies.

Law enforcement used to have a less-than-lethal option called a billy-club, and it was taken away from them due to liability concerns. They were also given discretion to use brute force to subdue a non-compliant suspect, even if he was armed with a knife. Not anymore: the "thumpers" have mostly been weeded out at the PPB.

Now they are taught to avoid physical confrontation.

I am more interested in WHY the officer felt compelled to discharge a weapon than what kind of weapon/ammo he deployed. He wouldn't have used a LTL round unless he was threatened or felt that others were in danger. And why didn't they simply send a mental health counselor out instead of a cop.


Allan - In that instance the officer had his service weapon in a (right) hip mounted holster. He had his Tazer in a (right) thigh mounted, low slug holster. There has been great debate in the firearms community about has a less lethal weapon mounted on the same side as lethal, for fear of them being confused in andrenaline soaked moment. You had a young, inexperienced officer that thought he had a Tazer in his hand, when in fact it was a firearm. (He did jail time for his negligence.)

Mr. T - No one calls them "billy-clubs", they're nightsticks. Most officers still have them, or other "contact weapons", they just don't carry them on their person due to the advent of pepper spray and Tazers. Since Rodney King, departments have looked to find ways of subduing combatives suspects in a way more palatable to the public. And no one ever attempts to physically engage a guy armed with a knife if at all possible. (He stabs you, takes your sidearm, now the other officers are confronted by a man with a gun...)

"Someone's butt is going to be in a sling on this one."


As in disciplined?

In Portland?

LOL. I think NOT!!

Last time I checked the less than lethal 12-guage rounds are in special casings and if this is the case why don't officers check their weapons before each shift? Seems like checking all of your weapons before a shift would be SOP.

Mr. Tee - Sorry, I forgot to add.. This guy presented a cops worst case scenario: A mobile, armed subject that had previously reported as hassling children. The officer's first responsibility was to contain the threat, using all force necessary.

If they had waited the 10-30 minutes for the Earthmuffins of Project Response to arrive on the scene, he could have killed several people prior to their arrival. (Then, everyone would be screaming "Why didn't the cops just shoot the guy!?!")

It's an inside joke that no one would ever consider telling a pilot, a surgeon, a judge, an Air Traffic Controller, or even a garbage collector how to do their job - but everyone on the face of the planet seems to be an expert in police operations.

"Welcome to police work kid...."

Interesting take in the article. "Shoulder-fired" Taser like something straight out of the Predator movies. I wonder if the aiming laser is 3-points arranged in a triangle?

When I was working in mental health, I sure wish I had training and clearance to use a shotgun...In a lethal manner. Would have saved a lot of tax payer dollars. Instead, they get their way, the system rewards bad behavior, and the taxpayer gets stiffed with having to pay for these folks under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many of which are on Medicare before they are of the legal drinking age.

Cops are not trained to negotiate like social and mental health workers. They are trained to command and control in the interest of public safety. Those pistols, shotguns, SWAT police vans armed with M4 carbines and MP5 sub-machine guns, and shoulder-fired taser cannons are the tools of the trade like an anvil and forge for a blacksmith.

I am more concerned that the officers did not kill, much less command a thing after 5 shots were dispersed. I would put this 15 year on veteran for bad shooting alone, not his decision-making during the heat of the moment. We cannot have our stewards of public safety not being able to hit the broad-side of a barn.

It is not like these "victims" involved in these Portland police shootings are cancer cure creators or meaningful contributors to society. A few of the cases come across as mental health cases who because of the "drugs before strait jacket hugs" mentality in mental health became a public health hazard ripe for us to argue over police tactics. My argument? Let the police do their damn job.

If the officer really thought he was shooting beanbags,perhaps he expected the trajectory of the shot to be different.

The suspect must have been darting around in order to avoid 5 shots from a shotgun. Or he found some cover.

The only alternative explanation is the officer wasn't aiming at the suspect; rather, he was using the sound of the weapon to intimidate him into submission.

Or, as Killiana1a suggests, he may just be a piss-poor shot.

HMLA-267: am I correct in assuming that "when/how" deployment rules for a night-stick are quite limited? My father was a cop in SoCal in the 70's and it is my understanding that they had a free hand to strike a combative suspect with their contact weapons, although they were discouraged from taking head shots.

I'm confused. I thought the cop fired once but the victim was struck by five individual buckshot pellets.

If the guy was crazed and drugged and erratic, it's not like he was Carl Lewis sprinting. And decent shots can hit moving targets with shotguns. Ever hear of trap and skeet shooting - moving targets (and at the instant the target appears you don't know where and with trap you have to figure out the trajectory). If I could hit 19 out of 20 small clay pigeons flying at a distance, the first time I went trap shooting as a 16 yol, I think cops should be able to hit the broad side of a barn.

And as for the not knowing what ammo was in the breach of his weapon, that is negligence and totally unprofessional.

I'm not really sure Mr T, I've been retired for about 5 years. Training doctrines, rules of force, and even nomentclature change constantly and vary from agency to agency.

When I was hired in the early 80's there were no restrictions on the use of contact weapons to the head. Then, in the mid-90's they determined a strike to the head constitutes deadly force.

Basically, the only time a strike to the head was justified was the same circumstances as those when shooting someone was justified. I'm sure there are plenty of departments that have an outright ban. If allowed and employed, it's an act of extreme desperation.

My retired sergeant reads this blog, and sent me an email this morning. After chiding me for my poor punctuation, he reminded me that the correct term is "Police Baton." (Once a sergeant, always a sergeant.)

I replied that "Girls twirl batons, cops carry nightsticks." However, I suppose I'm dating myself - girls really don't twirl batons any more, do they?

Killianala: While you were "working in mental health," you wished you had a shotgun so you could save the taxpayers money by lethally shooting those deemed disabled? Sounds like you could use some mental health treatment yourself. What gives you the right to judge whose life does and doesn't have meaning?

By the way, Medicare is a program that people are only eligible for after they've turned 65. (This although we already pay more than enough in this country for Medicare to cover everyone. But the money doesn't go to medical care but to private and corporate profit). It's Medicaid that's provides a little money to take care of the most egregiously screwed up among us. I'm sure you and your trusty shotgun could take care of the problem cheaper. You should contact Captain Mark Kruger. Maybe he can enlist you as a freelancer in the Nazi wing of the Police Bureau.

I know the area where the shooter fired. Its an uphill slope right near and just east of Barbur; lots of car traffic both north and south,on Barbur, none of which can be seen from where the cop was. I can't fathom how or why the shooter would be standing where he was firing uphill, blindly, into a street (Barbur) full of traffic which he can't see.

Nor can I fathom this idiot in blue wanging the slide back and forth and back and forth and yanking the trigger four times and not getting a better hit.

Or noticing that the kick on the 12 ga. was a standard round, not the flyweight kick from the "beanbags"

'Roid rage and adrenaline (sp?) high in action.

And the PPB will do nothing to the cop, and most folks will walk off thankful that the dirtbag wasn't killed and let it go at that,

By the way, which standard load shotgun that some cop may need in an actual fire fight is sitting around with "bean bags" in it?

"cause if somebody spaced out and reversed the letyhal and non lethal loads in a reload after a gun check, there has to be another regulatr shotgun out there with beanbags in it.

If there isn't, it means that the camera stealing cop, or another cop, deliberately chambered the wrong loads.

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