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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Standard procedure invoked in killing by Portland cop

Today the Portland police bureau is busy telling us what a bad dude the latest dead guy, Billy Wayne Simms, was. He was a suspect in all sorts of lowlife crime. And he apparently had quite a rap sheet.

Simms was shot and killed by Officer Justin Clary. As we mentioned last night, reports indicate that Clary fired into a fleeing vehicle, which is against bureau policy. It is not the first high-profile shooting incident in which Clary has been involved; he fired quite a few rounds in the Brooklyn neighborhood incident in March 2011, for which he received a medal of honor from his colleagues.

There may not be a medal in the offing over this latest incident. But as we Portlanders know too well, no matter how far out of line Clary might have been, there will be no meaningful discipline. So go back to watching the Olympics; there's nothing to see here.

UPDATE, 11:37 p.m.: Here's a different picture. His family says he had four daughters. He may have been a punk, but maybe he should be in jail tonight, rather than dead.

Comments (30)

I don't know if the cop was right or wrong. All I know is the only people that will likely miss Billy Simms are his mother and some of his friends, most of whom are probably in jail.

If an officer feels his life is in danger, he may shoot.

Here in Portland, if an officer shoots, he believed his life was in danger.

Seriously? He should have already been in prison. Good riddance, life-long trash criminal.

Who needs judges and courts? Death penalty, judged and carried out by our heroes in blue.

The Police Bureau's policies are available on line. If you look at the policy numbered 1010.10, you'll see it is not against the policy to shoot at a fleeing vehicle. It all depends what the occupant of the vehicle is doing, and whether the vehicle is threatening to turn someone into a hood ornament.

Before we all pile on in these sorts of cases, wouldn't it be a good idea to let the facts actually come out? What if Simms was pointing a gun at someone, or about to run them down? That sort of stuff matters.

"no matter how far out of line Clary might have been, there will be no meaningful discipline." There is plenty of meaningful discipline when it's justified and not motivated by political considerations.

Good riddance. Nothing wrong with the cops taking out the trash. Keep up the good work PPD!

Death penalty, judged and carried out by our heroes in blue. I heard that.

There is plenty of meaningful discipline

Name one instance.

wouldn't it be a good idea to let the facts actually come out?

Here we go again. You guys wheel this out every time to PoPo off someone. The facts don't ever "come out." Everyone clams up for 72 hours, then there's a secret grand jury show, then an internal investigation that drags on for a year or two, and the cop is rarely disciplined. And if he is, the union takes it to arbitration and the punishment is reversed.

the policy numbered 1010.10

We've been through this all before, in the "Squeaky" Young case. That guy was killed for no apparent reason whatsoever.

The policy is on page 515 of this document (a large pdf file).

If the apartment that Simms crashed into had been occupied, innocent people could have been injured or killed.

But there's no sense debating any of this, because the PoPo do whatever they want, and are never held accountable for anything that happens while they are on duty.

I'm happy that my tax dollars won't be used to house and feed that dirtbag. Hope the cop gets a medal.

Police officers act as judge and executioner? Guy was a dirtbag and druggie, but to be executed for that, really?

The Peace Officers should also have a "Dumb Ass" Award for officers who shoot at fleeing criminals and who tell others to call 9-1-1 during an armed robery.

"Progressive" Portland? Quite the joke.

"He was such a good man...he didn't deserve to die. He just made a few mistakes in life, just like all of us have done at one time or another."

(Well, except for his TEN arrests including armed robbery in the last two years. And what a shame the legal system FAILED to remove him from society. And well, there was that mistake of trying to kill someone out in in S.E. earlier that day...oh and that gun he wasn't suppose to have... and no doubt he knew the police would never shoot at him if only he was behind the wheel and could just get away one more time.)

trying to kill someone

Or scare them. Or wound them.

that gun he wasn't suppose to have

You just don't get it. I'll repeat it one more time: He may have been a punk, but maybe he should be in jail tonight, rather than dead.

The police are not judge, jury, and executioner. Why is that so difficult for the PoPo and their groupies to understand?

The police only said they found a gun in the car AFTER the cop shot him...they did not say he was pointing a gun at a cop. As Ricky would say..Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!

This guy slept in a cot 3 feet from me for a while I was in in the county jail for a duii. (Please let's not get into a duii argument\shouting match. I paid my debt to society and I don't drink or drive anymore) They actually let him out to see his kid be born and he was supposed to turn him self in the day after, but of course he didn't, and in fact buzzed our work crew in a stolen car.
They caught him a little bit before I got out. He was nice to me in jail. He used to tell stories about the stuff that he did. If 1\8 of them were true then he was a completely unreformable POS.His sister is in prison for life for shooting some guy in the head during a dope deal. The icing on the cake is that this happened at the 7-11 right by my house that I shop at almost every day.

You're working from a dated premise. There's no "secret" grand jury anymore in these cases. The grand jury sessions are recorded, and the transcripts released. The Police Bureau also releases its entire internal investigation, including transcripts of witness interviews. In the Frashour/Campbell case, these things ran to over 1,000 pages. Not that anyone read them, of course; it's easier to hold to a quickly-reached conclusion than to rigorously test it against the actual facts.

It's true that the involved officer usually doesn't give a statement for 48 (not 72) hours. After all, the involved officer is a suspect in a homicide investigation. How many homicide suspects voluntarily waive their Fifth Amendment rights within 48 hours and give a statement to the police?

The revolving door at the Multnomah County jail was all too familiar to Mr. Simms. In addition to asking "what do Portland Cops need to do before being fired" it also seems logical to ask what our criminal justice system might have done to help Mr. Simms reform his ways.

It seems likely that the threat of new arrests was of little import to Mr. Simms based on his frequency arrests by Portland Police.

He may have had contact with other agencies in other jurisdictions, but I counted six arrests in the past two years.

Does he deserve to die because he's a frequent flier at jail? Certainly not: but it does speak to the likelihood that Mr. Simms was making plenty of bad choices that had nothing to do with Portland's Police Bureau or their use of force guidelines.

The grand jury sessions are recorded, and the transcripts released.

Are the sessions public? No.

The Police Bureau also releases its entire internal investigation, including transcripts of witness interviews.

When? Two years from now? Interviews by whom? Anybody we should trust?

How many homicide suspects voluntarily waive their Fifth Amendment rights within 48 hours and give a statement to the police?

How many of them have a license to kill?

Cop apologists like William Thompson think they're helping the force with the recitation of the union talking points. But all they accomplish is turning up the heat under the public outrage.

When a cop kills someone against policy, the best thing the apologists could do is keep quiet and let it blow over. But they can't resist. They have to be right, every single time.

So the public doesn't trust the Portland cops. As well they shouldn't.

If that shooter cop had killed an innocent bystander instead of or in addition to the accused perp, would those posting here still be defending the cop?
As I recall from previous incidents of police shootings some of the police in Portland are not exactly experts at hitting a target...moving or not.

Portland Native: The cop didn't shoot an innocent bystander. What's the point of your post. Why make up a scenario you know didn't happen.

The cop didn't shoot an innocent bystander. What's the point of your post.

The point is that this is one reason why there is a policy not to shoot into a fleeing vehicle.

Keep in mind that the law treats police less generously, not more generously, in almost all of these areas. For 99.9% of the population, grand juries are completely secret. Only in police deadly force cases are grand juries recorded and transcripts released.

For 99.9% of the population, disciplinary investigations are treated confidentially, with employers forbidden to release them. Not so with police, thanks both to the City's "transparency" policy and some court rulings.

For 99.9% of the population, if you're a homicide suspect, no one expects you to waive your Fifth Amendment rights and give a statement, much less that you do so within 24 or 48 hours of killing someone. Not so with police, where even a modest delay is viewed with suspicion.

As to arbitration, it's true the union wins most of the time it chooses to go to arbitration. As the Oregonian published last month, the union only rarely challenges discipline in arbitration (I think the figure was 13 times in 12 years), and almost always accepts the discipline imposed by the City. Using the O's figures, hundreds of times officers have been fired, suspended, demoted and whatever, and we never hear about it because it's not "news." If the union is picking and choosing which cases to send to arbitration, you'd expect it to have a winning record.

"So the public doesn't trust the Portland cops. As well they shouldn't." Sounds like a quote straight out of the Oregonian. Says who? Any polls done on that subject to back up that claim? There is over 1500 pages available to read on the Frashour case alone.After reading the arbitrators 78 page decision in that case along with a few others I've found that the mutually agreed upon arbitrators do a fair and honest job. I trust the Portland Police Bureau.

Things are different here Professor, we do trust our police. They are our neighbors and willing confront armed and dangerous persons on our behalf.

You're trying to manufacture outrage; there is none from the grateful people here.

The Grand Jury I'm sure will agree in this case.

Wow, nothing draws out the curmudgeons and trolls to Jack's blog and the OregonLive site like an officer-involved shooting story. Some of the comments on OregonLive are terribly cruel. Apparently the thin blue line extends onto the intertubes.

"If that shooter cop had killed an innocent bystander instead of or in addition to the accused perp, would those posting here still be defending the cop?"

Dunno, if the police officer let the guy go and he hit and killed someone while fleeing with his car, (he has reckless driving convictions already) would people -- yourself included -- be defending and/or praising the police for not acting in the case and using good judgement?

I'd bet you'd be on here saying otherwise. I can say for sure I would not be praising a cop when their bullets hit innocent people.

In this case, given the individual's prior history and alleged shooting he committed earlier, he was a threat, regardless if he was in a fleeing car.

How that corresponds to police policy and what the lawyers and grand jury interpret, well, that's up for more debate imo.

Today "As they walked toward the yelling they saw a man in front of the Dixie tavern they believed was the suspect. The suspect began to walk toward them slowly with his hand in his pocket. Several officers on scene began to tell the suspect to take his hand out of his pocket. One officer asked him if he was armed and he indicated he was. Officers gave him commands to get on the ground and he complied. Because the suspect complied no force was needed to safely resolve the confrontation. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and officers located then located a loaded handgun." All you have to do is follow PPB instructions and you're fine.


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