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I think Heads are going to roll for this -

found this article this morning -
The murder of Kendra is going to be the straw that broke the camels back with the portland police - This is going to get really ugly for them. As it should.
Sherry





Slaying brings police promise of investigation

05/10/03

MAXINE BERNSTEIN

Police Chief Mark Kroeker, in his first address to community members since an officer shot and killed Kendra Sarie James during a traffic stop Monday, pledged to do thorough criminal and internal affairs investigations.




"I want to make it very clear to everyone here that I'm not happy about what happened," Kroeker told about 40 people, mostly African Americans, ministers and community activists who crowded into Northeast Precinct on Friday afternoon.

Because there's no way to turn back time, Kroeker said he will push for "intense community dialogue" and "a revisiting of everything we do as an organization."

Many who attended voiced distrust of the process for investigating police shootings and called for greater citizen involvement. They predicted that the grand jurors who hear the case next week probably will rule the police shooting a "justifiable homicide" based on the bureau's investigation.

"It's always the same, same verdict -- justifiable," said Vesia Loving, a longtime North Portland resident.

Kroeker, two of his assistant chiefs and the detective division's commander gave the Portland Police Bureau's first overview of what occurred.

The police officials said they could not explain why Officer Scott McCollister, 27, used deadly force because he was being interviewed Friday by detectives for the first time.

The officials said McCollister fired one shot at James, striking her in the side as she tried to drive off from a traffic stop. She died of a chest wound.

Several people, including state Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland, said they were disturbed that it took four days before detectives interviewed McCollister. Others urged the chief not to give McCollister a medal some day for the shooting, alluding to the awards given to officers involved in the 2001 shooting of Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot.

Kroeker explained that the officer who shot James has a constitutional right to consult a lawyer before being questioned, and there was no intent to delay the inquiry.

Detective Division Cmdr. Jim Ferraris gave this account of the stop and shooting:

North Precinct Officer Rick Bean pulled over a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier at 2:40 a.m. Monday just east of North Interstate Avenue and Skidmore Street for failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

As Bean walked up to the car, two other officers were on their way to back him up. Ferraris said it was not unusual for three officers to respond to a traffic stop in the middle of the night involving a car holding three people.

"The car started to move" The driver, Terry Jackson, had no license. Bean took him into custody, placing him in the back of a patrol car.

Ferraris said as the officers "were preparing to deal with" the front passenger, Darnell White, James climbed from the car's back seat into the driver's seat and tried to drive off. James had a warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of attempted possession of a controlled substance.

Bean, McCollister and Officer Kenneth Reynolds III were at the driver's side of the car, struggling with James. One of the officers walked around the front of the car to the passenger side, then walked back around the car's front to the driver's side, Ferraris said.

"The woman put the car into gear, started the car. The car started to move," Ferraris said, noting that the driver's door was open. "There were police officers engaged at the car with this woman, trying to get this woman into custody."

Reynolds fired a stun gun at James, but it failed because the electric probe went into her jacket but "apparently did not pierce her skin," Ferraris said.

As the car continued to move, McCollister fired one shot.

After Ferraris' account, the questions flew.

Were the officers in harm's way? asked one man. Joe Keller, a close friend of James' father, drew a diagram of the car on an easel and asked, "Since James was shot in the side, how could the officer who fired been in danger?"

Deadly force a last resort Ferraris said he could not say where the officers were standing when the gun was fired. He suggested some of the officers could have been standing against the car, by the open driver's door.

But others asked whether the officers could have stepped away from the moving car to avoid it instead of shooting the driver.

Kroeker said police policy is for officers to use deadly force as a last resort, and that if they can step away and avoid serious physical injury, they should.

One question was whether James was pregnant, as a family spokesman had said Thursday. Police didn't answer the question at the meeting.

However, Dr. Cliff Nelson, a deputy state medical examiner, said in an interview Friday that autopsy results showed no evidence of a pregnancy.

Woodrow Broadnax, of Juneteenth Association Northwest, argued that the bureau policy and state law are too broad and need to be changed. Officers can use deadly force "to protect themselves or others from what they reasonably believe to be an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury," the policy states.

A prayer vigil in James' memory is planned for 7 p.m. Sunday at the shooting site.
not happy 10.May.2003 07:27

darla

So Chief Kroeker is "not happy" about the shooting. Is he 'not happy' because it happened or because people are paying attention? As a person who grew up being taught that the police are our friends (I know...that gives away something about my age), I have been totally shocked by recent actions of the Portland Police. While I hope an investigation of this most recent sensless killing does make a difference in the long run, changes will only come if the people keep on insisting that this use of deadly and overreactive force is NOT acceptable anymore. Can we find ways to channel this anger and frustration we feel into meaningful actions? We need to make a difference, not just noise.

In total agreement 10.May.2003 07:33

Sherry

I also grew up believing in the police - and trusting them. My reality and beliefs have been shattered in a matter of months - I guess I'm showing my age as well!

My take on this is - the Chief spoke to a crowd of mostly blacks - I can only assume the black community feels alone in this fight. I'm white - and no matter what race the person is the police are brutalizing or murdering - this is everyones concern - I'm feeling like I need to let the black community know they are NOT alone in their outrage -

I'm terrified and horrified with the Portland Police department - Kroeker and Ms Vera -

Too Much coffee this morning - 10.May.2003 07:43

Sherry

Is there a way to know when the chief is giving this little "public relations" talks? There needs to be a stronger citizen presence there - more than 40 people - We need to show our outrage - but when and where?

Which Controlled Substance 10.May.2003 08:18

Den Mark, Vancouver

Ms James was under warrant for having a "controlled substance"? I wonder if that "substance" was pot. Not that the specific substance mattered at the point of her unnecessary death. It would just be even more tragic if her death were traceable backward to stupid stupid marijuana laws. I'm already angry about the insanity of those laws, & i don't even smoke pot. Government is completely nuts. I assume that legislative chambers & courtrooms are padded! If that "substance" was in fact pot, i hope a huge issue is made of it. I'll be at that vigil.

(Fuck, as soon as corporate tentacles wrap completely around our water suppy, then WATER will become a differently "controlled substance"! And cops will kill when people have more than an ounce of water!)

protest all murders 10.May.2003 08:57

catwoman

It's too bad people don't get outraged in the same way when some someone besides the police shoot another person in this city. That happens alot more often frequently than police shootings.

Not relevant 10.May.2003 09:20

skate

Which controlled substance the warrant was for is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. Although the woman was obviously not a saint, neither her criminal record for cocaine and other things, nor the validity (or lack thereof) of the drug/marijuanna laws have anything to do with this situation.

The car was stopped for a routine traffic violation. Someone else was driving. The officer had no way of knowing who the passengers were or what their record might be. After the driver was out of the car, James got behind the wheel and attempted to drive off. The officer tried to stop her and ended up shooting her. That's all there is.

The warrant out for her, what that warrant was for and whether we agree with the laws behind issuing it don't come into play. All of those were unknowns to the officer on the scene at the time. All he really had was a passenger who was trying to drive the car away and would not obey orders to stop doing so.

That isn't a capital offense, so according to the police's own 'rules of engagement', the only possible justification for shooting was self defence. Was the officers life in danger? We can speculate all we want, but at the moment there isn't enough information for any of us to say. But, this certainly has nothing to do with enforcing the drug laws.

catwoman lacks the facts 10.May.2003 09:29

alkhfva

There was a time last year when, statistically, if you were murdered in Portland, chances were it would be by the police. When the police are in fact committing more than half the murders in the city something has gone very wrong.

catwoman looks deeper 10.May.2003 09:53

darla

Any violent death is a tragedy, and catwoman points that out. Police here have a big problem with their use of force and their lack of training, but each of us has a responsibility to learn how to live in a community and to solve problems without resorting to violence. Violence only brings more violence and if this cycle is not broken, we will continue to live with grief and fear. No, apparently we can no longer trust the police to care about the general good, but can we count on each other? We better get started trying.

cops are scared little shits 10.May.2003 10:19

lsdng

<snip>
...so according to the police's own 'rules of engagement', the only possible justification for shooting was self defence. Was the officers life in danger? We can speculate all we want, but at the moment there isn't enough information for any of us to say.
<snip>

Initially, the shooter/cop said he was afraid she would drive over his foot. This was in the Oreginian the next day. Now I'm not one to judge, but if that was the best excuse he had, something is very wrong. Why the popo would specify that his foot was in danger rather than claim his life was threatened is a mystery.

reason to shoot 10.May.2003 10:44

darla

A well trained officer is trained not to shoot if the person is driving AWAY. It is even more damning to the officer since the victim was known, and easy to find later.

racial profiling 10.May.2003 14:35

grrrr

According to the Oregonian's interview with Darnell White, the three occupants of the car left a motel room around 2:30 am or so. The police car _immediately_ started following them. The driver attempted to follow the rules of the road so that he wouldn't get pulled over. After all, he didn't have a driver's license, White was wanted for a probation violation, and James (I think) was wanted for a failure to appear in court. None of them wanted to deal with the cops that night, and I imagine that the driver was nervously attempting to follow the law to the fullest extent possible.

"Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign" is a bullshit charge. A very, very subjective judgment call in many cases. It sounds to me like the cops saw three black people in a nice, new (rental) car and decided to target them.

Is it any wonder that there are a disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos in prison? If the cops automatically followed and targeted all of us white folk, then how quickly do you think many of us would stack up driving infractions, drug possession charges and, finally, probation violations and failures to appear in court. After all, how many black or Latino trolls do we have on Indymedia? Imagine how quickly the trolls' tune would change if they were subjected to the same kind of harassment.

Let's keep this in perspective - 10.May.2003 15:24

Sherry

At 2:30am - On Interstate ave - coming out of one of the crack head motels?? - come on - it's very very easy to jump to conclusions with this situation. Again - I lived two blocks from two of the infamous motels on Interstate for several years, frankly those motels are nothing more than trick pads and drug spots. I will devulge this about myself - I was a fucked up teenager - and was a prostitute on Interstate Ave and Union Ave back in the 80's. I've lived in every single motel on Interstate - so I feel justified in my opinion of them. They are digusting dumps - no one in their right mind would "hang out" there - unless they are servicing a customer - or getting high. Period. Thus being the case - and these dwellings are "high crime" places - it's easy to understand why they might be followed.

White also said that - that him and Kendra were well known by the police - and when the car was stopped - the office recognized and said "I know you Kendra". From this statement one can also assume (not knowing - but could assume) - that the police recognized them coming out of the motel. Known criminals - coming from a high crime area -

Does this mean Kendra deserved to lose her life - and that the cops foot is valued more? Hell no - but let's try to keep somethings in perspective.

training? 10.May.2003 16:03

darla

I am not saying that police work is without danger. I am saying that I don't think the Portland officers get proper training. They are just making too many basic mistakes. Yes, it is easy to say what should be done after the fact, and I know that when something bad is happening, mistakes can be made, but if the training is very good, fewer mistakes are made.

Relevant! 10.May.2003 19:20

Den Mark

"Skate" misread my post. I clearly wrote that at the point of the shooting what the warrant was for was irrelevant. What is HIGHLY HIGHLY relevant is that the so-called "war on drugs" is a total failure, having made more criminals than otherwise would have been the case, & that pot laws particularly are total stupidity, forcing pot sales into the streets. Liquor prohibition did the same thing, causing massive crime. Repeal ended the criminal aspect of liquor sales. The same should be done with other drugs, especially marijuana. If this country had a sane drug policy & sane drug laws, Kendra James would be alive & leading a productive happy life. The lives & deaths of people like Ms James are intricately connected to the general dysfunction of this sick sick society. Sorry that my post was unclear. This one probably is, too. Kendra James came from the womb as a bundle of potential. This "culture" ruined that. The story could not be sadder.

to JayJay 10.May.2003 23:52

sfgxznfcg

"by the way the Portland Police are not responsible for half the homicides in Portland each year."

I didn't say it the popo were responsible for the majority of the killings every year, only that at a point LAST year, they were. There was a spate of police "deadly force incidents" (aka murders) last year which made them the "top guns" in the city, responsible for more deaths that all the other murderers combined.

I certainly don't want to see more cops be killed, but I do want to see them brought under control so others don't die. If you're such a cop lover that you are able to overlook the fact that THE PORTLAND POLICE HAVE A NASTY HABIT OF KILLING PEOPLE WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION then I can't help you.

Spin, Kroeker, Spin 11.May.2003 16:32

Varro

Kroeker's working the spin on this incident. Most of the excessive force and police terrorism complaints over the past few years have been from unorganized and marginalized white people (this INCLUDES the A22 police terrorism and the Iraq War protests), but now there's an incident involving the African-American community. What's worse is that the officer is one of Kroeker's hires. Remember Kroeker's recruiting strategies from the late 90s? He did away with the requirement of a bachelor's degree for new officers, and focused recruiting on officers from the Mountain West areas of the country, which tend to be more conservative and less tolerant of individual rights. (This is in contrast to trying to hire officers from Bay Area police departments where a cop couldn't afford to live in the area he or she patrolled.) This incident will also focus on training of the cops, which will probably be found to be lacking, particularly in the overuse of force in controlling situations. What will probably come out is that McCollister was not prepared for what happened, and reacted by shooting. It probably won't result in his criminal prosecution, but will result in his being taken off the force, and significant civil liability for the city.

Wake Up! 13.May.2003 13:53

Tired of Ignorance

Some of you are complaining that the officers aren't properly trained. Police officers can't be trained without money. The crime rate in Portland is rising dramatically because there are less and less police officers. Police, Fire and Education are the first things to get cut from a budget - why? Because they are the threats used to get people to vote for more taxes, so the government can increase their spending.

55% of all Oregonians rely on some form of government support to live. That doesn't count social security - which is money that is actually earned through your lifetime. If the government didn't have to support so many deadbeat bums that refused to work, had more kids then they could support - they would have the money for better training and a better police force. The problem doesn't originate from the police department, they are making do with what they have. The problem originates with the people who are out of work, the people relying on too much government support to get by. Take the unemployment rate in Oregon and calculate that with the population of Oregon. Then figure an average of $200 per week for the 300,000 people collecting unemployment - just figure in the 'extended' benefits and you have 10's of millions of dollars spent on people who won't go out and find a job.

If less money was given to the 'takers' of our society and they were made to work for it - so many things would be improved. Think about it for a minute, it's all a cycle. Take away welfare benefits or at the very least put a two year limit on them. Take that extra money and put it into the education system - the better educated a person is the more likely they are to want to get a job and advance themselves. More educated people, more money thrown into the economy, more taxes collected by the government, more money to pay for police training and education, more employers looking to put businesses in Oregon to provide more jobs. More police officers patrolling the streets making Oregon a safer place to live.

Do you know that Oregon is rated 49th in education? Only Mississippi is rated worse. Not only do we have one of the worst unemployement rates, we have the worst education. No business wants to come to Oregon.

Don't blame the police force - blame the 'takers'.

tired of heartlessness too 13.May.2003 14:14

concerned

Interesting to see someone spew ignorant rhetoric while attacking ignorace. Tired, you obviously have no idea about how the welfare and unemplyment systems really works. Do some research on it before posting this diatribe. Your own argument points out the contridictions; you blame people for not working then point out how no business wants to come here. Duh! The oregon ecomomy is in the toilet and people cannot find jobs. And yes, when unemplyment goes up, crime goes up because people have to find some way to make a living. Increasing the number of police has no measurable effect on the crime rate so hiring more police will not make this a safer place. The solution is fixing the economy but I don't see any politician in this state or in the country that is willing to implement any measures to do so. By far the biggest "takers" as you call them are corporations whose tax breaks, if revoked, could give the oregon economy a huge break. What the hell are we doing letting Enron not pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes and instead using that money to try to prevent a public takeover of PGE. They're robbing us blind and you blame people who can't find work in this city. You're ignorance and heartlessness is amazing. I agree that we need to improve education and I absolutely agree that the city uses threats of budget cuts to solicit tax increases and I find that just as reprehensible. But all this is of course completely unrelated to the fact that 3 police killed a 21 year old woman who was not a threat to them. So I'm sorry I will blame the police because they are thugs and murderers; and I will blame the real takers, the corporations stealing millions of our tax dollars; and I will do my best to support anything that helps people who want to work find work. If you're doing otherwise than you're not going to help us get where we need to be.

Not Heartless - just realistic 14.May.2003 20:02

Tired of Ignorance

There are jobs out there if people are willing to take them. But the mentality of 'why work when the government supports me' and 'I can't take a job that only pays minimum wage' are what affect a lot of people. Open up your paper and take a look inside. Drive down the street and look at all the help wanted signs. There ARE jobs! People just need to get out and get them.

Oregon has one of the highest minimum wages, as well as some of the lowest rents & food prices. There is NO excuse for a person not to support themselves other than pure laziness. How many people out there that are on welfare, food stamps or other forms of government assistance are severely disabled and unable to work? Not very many.

I grew up dirt poor. I grew up without any advantages in life. Yet, I pulled myself from the gutter, worked my way through college and got a job. I have not and will not EVER rely on others to support me while I am able bodied. There is no magic to it. There is nothing special about it.

If Oregon had more money they could spend it on hiring more police officers, fire fighters, teachers and such (gee, those sound like JOBS to me). If the state gave less for welfare, cash assistance, rental assistance and the like, they'd have more money to offer more jobs. The more educated a person is, the more likely they are to want to better themselves.

The government should cut more out of 'give-away' programs and less from education and security. That would help the economy. (Cause there would be more jobs and more jobs means more money circulating - that makes an economy good.)

Three? 14.May.2003 20:05

even more concerned

And how misguided is it of you to blame the action of one officer on all three? And which of us here, really know everything that transpired that evening?

If you only knew 20.May.2003 21:31

Portland Police Officer

What should I say. You can't talk to someone who is so caught up in their narrow perspectives and are unwilling to to consider another's.

I wasn't always a police officer. In fact, I didn't join the Bureau until I was in my late 20's. I have a Human Biology degree with some doctorate post-grad training (and before you ask why I'm not a doctor, just remember you don't know me and it is unfait to assume anything. It's stereotypical and is the same problem fought in racism.). I also worked a dozen other jobs, many included customer service positions.

Why do I bring up my background? Because it is a background that required compassion and the ability to see things the way others see it. It has allowed me to see things from a variety of perspectives while maintaining who I was.

I wasn't always a police officer. I was a civilian for more years than I will even be a police officer. I remember what it's like to be a civilian. There's really not a huge difference.

So before you group us all together as heartless, uneducated thugs and cast judgements on our actions before you know the whole story, show some patience and allow for some didn't perspectives. We really do care about the citizens of Portland. This is not a 'cake' job, and without that motivation and desire to 'win' for the citizens, we couldn't do it. The money sure isn't the greatest. It's a dangerous job and can be hard on family life. I have been forever changed as my eyes have seen society in a light that is truley frightening and cannot be fathomed by most.

The officer involved in this shooting is a good friend of mine. I know he did not join the Bureau with a racist mind. He is not a mindless barbarian. He is very well educated and of a sharp mind. He is someone you could trust your life with. I know he did not want to shoot Ms. James, but she forced his hand. He will forever be a changed man. And, yes, I know that Kendra will never get a chance to change, and that is unfortunate.

I purosely leave my thoughts short. Like I said above, my eyes have been opened to the way of society. Those that hate the cops will always hate the cops, and the more silent majority will continue to support us. We will continue to serve all citizens to the highest standard, regardless of how you feel about us. That is a promise, and an oath we all took. Trust me when I say I will not be back to view the follow up posts. Just take a moment to be honest with yourself and consider that quite possibly, the police may be telling the truth.

thanks for sharing 20.May.2003 22:06

someone

Maybe you won't be back but I doubt it. Why? Because police lie. I have yet to see a police officer actually tell the truth under oath and the documentation of police lying in court cases is absolutely overwhelming (the little white lie, right?). Police lie to people about what their rights are; they are completely ignorant to the protections guaranteed by the first amendment; they make up laws on the spot; they break the law at will and incredibly frequently; and if you really want to see the police for what they are, learn your rights and exercise them in front of an officer, and you'll learn real quickly what anyone who has had to deal with the police already knows, if you question their authority they will target, attack, harass, berate, and do whatever they can and want to show their power. They do all these things because they know they can get away with it; there is no system in place to hold them accountable for their actions.

The police have an increasinly bad image, and a well deserved one. If the police are really interested in serving people than they need to start addressing why their is no accountability, why minorities are killed on a regular basis (especially in overhwelmingly white cities like portland and seattle), why they don't respect the constitutionally protected rights of citizens, why they lie in court about anything and everything, why they are allowed to break laws that everyone else is expected to follow, why they become angry, judgemental, and confrontational and attack people while they are trying to flee from their abuses.

"I know he did not join the Bureau with a racist mind" If anyone is interested they should read about how closed social networks promote racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny, and other forms of discrimination and hatred. The two best examples are fraternities and the police, itself a fraternity. As cops have told me (yes I do know several cops, relatives mostly) good cops don't last long on the force. Either they leave, or their beliefs change to accept the gross misconduct that surrounds them every day. And this police officer, like all others, knows exactly what I'm talking about.

"but she forced his hand" Well, maybe the facts weren't properly reported but my understanding is that she was fleeing the scene. How exactly does that "force his hand". The police knew who she was so it's not like they couldn't have found her later. Not to mention the constantly changing justification and story (see first paragraph about lies) doesn't inspire confidence. First she was driving at him, now he had his foot stuck in the car? She forced his hand by trying to drive off with his foot in the car? Please forgive me but you have to come up with some better stories, that is just too ridiculous.

The police have to realize that people are stoppiong supporting them. I used to echo the mantra of "bad apples but it's a touch job" blah blah blah. Not anymore, and I'm not alone, the abuses are too huge and now I see that the system is poisoned. There may be some good individuals but they've seemed to learn to keep their mouths shut while police are being rewarded for killing a retarted latino and a day honoring the police is announced after an unjustified shooting. If the police want people on their side they need to seriously examine the reasons growing numbers of people dislike, resent, and outright hate them. There have been great experiments in getting police to be a part of communities. But no one seems to have any desire to do that in portland. And without a civilian oversight board the police will never be trusted, and why should they be, they will never be held accountable for their mistaken or deliberate misconduct.

"So before you group us all together as heartless, uneducated thugs and cast judgements on our actions before you know the whole story, show some patience and allow for some didn't perspectives" Fine, as long as you do the same. I don't lump all police together as anything, but the system is a nightmare right now, and it needs to be changed. As for uneducated, well, the police do have a tendancy to hire individuals of less intelligence (and have turned away those that are too intelligent, not in porltand that I know of but in other cities) and also those whose psychological profiles are highly suspect (those who often become consdiered thugs). It's easy to dismiss sterotypes out of hand, it's much, much harder to look and see the actions, behaviors, and individuals that are contributing to those stereotypes. Something to think about.

As for considering that the police are telling the truth, well, I consider everything (which is problematic but such is the price of open-mindedness) but if a cop says something I will likely treat it as a lie. As soon as a police officer (that I don't know) says an honest thing to me maybe I'll think differently. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that.