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photo essay for Kendra James

Inner North Portland community leaders cry out for justice for a young mother killed by the police during a routine traffic stop as they offer love and prayers for her family.
It was good to see that a lot of familiar faces from the downtown protests made it out to North Portland to the Kendra James vigil. I hope some of you took notes. I brought my camera, but, unfortunately, not a pen. I think that with the captions the photos communicate the emotion of this vigil. What they don't communicate is how determined the leaders of our community are to confront the city over Kendra James' death.

This is the best my memory can do:

Tomorrow, Monday May 12th at 9 AM the pastors who spoke at the rally will be at Justice Center (NOT the new Hatfield building where the jail is --the older building) to meet with the District Attorney. Everyone interested in police accountability is invited to attend.
(I posted this last night, but it didn't go up).

State Senator Margaret Carter provided a phone number to call to demand that the officer who shot Kendra James be held accountable. Who wrote that number down?

One of the pastors said "We're doing our research." And what he has found out so far is that the officer who shot Kendra James comes from a family that is very well connected to the Justice system (I can't recall the exact details).

The web site linked to below will be the best place to stay in touch with the fight for police accountability. I see that an Indy volunteer has already linked the site to Portland Indymedia and posted an invitation to ppbcomplaint.com readers to visit Indymedia. I do hope that, as horrid as this police action is, it does our bring our communities a little closer together.


homepage: homepage: http://www.rivertext.com/stuff.html

Phone Number to stay updated - 12.May.2003 09:05


I wrote the number down: 503-986-1722.

I also remember a young black man having both arms broke by the portland police - because he witnessed the beating of a white man. The black man's sister spoke on his behalf - as he didn't feel comfortable talking about it. It was hard to hear - but I hope this man has filed a fricken complaint - and action is being taken. I don't know much more than that concerning that situation -

images? 12.May.2003 09:14


Photo Essay?

Police Brutality 12.May.2003 09:37

No Excuse

The police who murdered Kendra claimed that they did it because she was putting them in danger by driving away. How many others (besides Kendra) did they put in danger by shooting her? How safe are people when bullets are flying around, or when cars are driven by dead people? Apparently, the car continued to move after they shot her, as they must have known it would. I think Kendra was much safer behind the wheel BEFORE they shot her.

There's no excuse for this.

link to photos 12.May.2003 09:50



I tried over and over again to upload the pictures last night and this morning. (The exact error I got is in the feedback thread).

Finally, I gave up and placed the photo essay on my web site. Please feel free to re-post the pictures for non-commercial purposes as with other pictures here at Indymedia and to delete this thread after placing the link to the photos with the feature.

img 12.May.2003 11:18



thanks 12.May.2003 18:14

Tom Hastings hastings@pdx.edu

Thank you, Brian, for taking these moving photos. I was there, and these images conveyed the spirit well. The leadership was clear on several key points. First, they will not rest until there is justice done. Second, they need all of us to help. Third, no one is to commit an act of violence. Fourth, that they need support both for the duration and on short notice. Again and again, they stressed that this justice needs to be systemic and that the legacy of this young woman's murder must be a people's movement that makes changes in how the Portland police operate in communities of color. Her tragic death must not be in vain.

I went to the D.A. meeting this morning, though I had to leave to teach class before it finished. The goal, as I understood it, was to convince the D.A. to conduct a public inquest, not a closed-door grand jury. I hope news on this is forthcoming.

Question 14.May.2003 09:33


Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't all of this been prevented if Ms. James would have stayed in her seat, as opposed to climbing into the driver's seat and attempting to leave during the middle of a traffic stop?

Just curious.

will do 14.May.2003 11:44


Consider yourself corrected, no one deserves to die simply because they flee from the cops. What would have prevented her death is if the officer who shot her had decided not to use lethal force against someone who wasn't a threat to the multiple officers at the scene. Consdering the degree to which the cops disregarded her life, frankly I'm not convinced she would still be alive if she had stayed in the back seat. Do people realize how many minorities are killed while in police custody?

Thanks concerned 14.May.2003 13:25

couldn't have said it better myself

I'm absolutely shocked that so many posts have appeared implying that Kendra James was responsible for the police shooting that took her life. You know, if those people in the WTC had chosen to stay home from work that morning, they'd still be alive too. Does that make it their fault that someone flew a plane into the building?

A funny thing. I looked into the number of african americans who have been killed by police during "routine" traffic stops, and you know what? There have been a lot of them. One was actually a famous basketball player. So you think it's all their fault the police are gunning them down?

I say take the guns away and let the police "serve and protect" without them.

Not Corrected 14.May.2003 13:45


Frankly, I don't find myself corrected. Based on your theory that you're "not convinced she would still be alive even if she had stayed in the back seat," and "the disregard that the cops had for her life," then why is the "original" driver still alive? Why didn't the police shoot him too if they have such disregard for a life? The reason they didn't shoot him is because he didn't threaten anyone with a 2000 lb. automobile; because when he was pulled over, he did what he was supposed to do...... cooperate. What everyone is so quick to forget is that the police officer was just doing his job. When he goes to work everyday, it's not an open invitation from him to be killed by someone who is afraid of going back to jail because they have a warrant out for their arrest. The officer didn't force her to commit a crime and have that warrant. The officer didn't force her to get in the driver's seat and start the car. The officer didn't force her to attempt to drive off, possibly injuring or killing someone. These were all decisions made by Ms. James, and only Ms. James. People need to realize that they have to take responsibility for their actions, not walk, run, or drive away from them.

re-corrected 14.May.2003 14:33


Well, "anonymous" I am a profiler for my company. Based on your verbage and "slant" I have made the following assumptions.
You are a fat bald white man, probably from the south. You have a very narrow mind and hence are very racist. I suggest you lay down the Marlboro and read a book (or have someone read it to you). Expand your mind, we are all the same color on the inside.


KENDRA WAS FAMILY 14.May.2003 19:07


i could'nt belive what my grandmother was saying to me when she called me that early monday morning,it went something like, miss audrey (kendra grandma) just called then she just start to scream the police killed kendra ! they killed kendra ! they killed that child like she was an anmial they were hunting,dear god why? all i could do was grab my 18 month son an sit on my couch and cry. i stayed there for over an hour praying for the family and friends and asking god to give us some understanding on what had just happen to this young woman life.i am in arkansas so i had to go on the internet to see what had happen and i was so very very sicken by how the police just seem like it was o.k. for the murder they had done and they seem to try and justfy it with she had a crimnal background,no matter how they say it or put it in writing they were wrong!!! kendra was not a threat to them she was not more then a 115 pounds. i was unable to come to portland to say my goodbye to kendra but, i will be doing whatever i can to let people know that all the police that are on the force are not there to serve and protect everyone only certain people they will serve the rest of us are threats to them and they will shhot us if we look at them wrong.
i ask that everyone keep kendra and her family in there prayers
may god give them the strength to go on.


Other cities 15.May.2003 08:19

Lived other places

I would like to point out that when I lived in Boston, MA a citizen (who was armed) was shot by police in the leg during the commission of a crime. The local news then pointed out that is was the first time in years that an officer had fired a weapon at a citizen and also that the last fatality of a citizen at the hands of Police was in 1972. They haven't had a killing by a cop in 30 years and Porltand gets 30 in two years! The people of this city need to see what is going on.

Portland is certainly not as dangerous a place for police as Detroit, Boston, New York City or Philidelphia, why do we have so many more deaths at the hands of police? Is it the weather? I don't have any answers, but I would like to point out that the killing another person without a jury and an appeal process should never be tolerated in any society for any reason, regardless of the killers training, instinct or disposition to danger at the time. If you can not stop someone peacably (or catch up to them later), then you should not be authorized to enforce the common law. Police officers should also be trained on how to remove themselves from danger without killing. It can be done.

It's a shame 15.May.2003 11:17


I still can't help but think should not the police have stoped the "car" not the person in this incident, I consider a car with a dead person driveing out of control to be just as dangerous as one with a live person driveing, maybe more so infact, and in FACT, how did they stop this car with a dead woman driveing out of control? I keep seeing the pictures of the crime scean and all I see is the car being blocked in between two police cars, crashed into police cars, and I ask myself, self, how could she have gotten anywhere, or hurt anyone, she couldn't move the car, she couldn't have driven anywhere, so why the deadly force? I mean look at the footage of the crime area again on t.v, and if she wouldn't have tryed to grab the steering wheel would they have killed her anyway? Well as a person of color you probley have 50/50 chance of dying in a traffic stop here in portland at 2:30am, so I still think if you see a car pulled over by the road side by an officer you should stop and observe the situation and even video tape the stop, so that that persons chances of surviveing that stop are increased to well maybe 70/30, I think our young people in perticular are targets of these stops, so maybe you could stop if you see someone in that targeted group being stopped. As parents of children of color I know in portland well know, you never know when you will get that call that your child was stopped by the police in a "minor traffic stop" and well you know the rest.........................they reached for the grove box for their registion and well......................you know the fear that runs though most parents of color. We must teach our young men at age 12 that police offericers see them as adults and to clearly make your hands visiable when stopped and make no sudden moves...........when will it all stop?

Funny how they portray her as some kind of angel 19.May.2003 16:43

Jeremy jeremy@messedup.net

Its really funny how people are trying to portray her as some kind of saint. If she was such a great mother, what was she doing at 2:30am at a seedy motel doing crack cocaine? These are the hard questions that have to be asked. Would she have been in this position? I imagine it would have been much harder for that officer to shoot her if she had been in her home in bed. Now, of course, supporters will jump on me, asking if she deserved to die for going out with friends. My answer to that is no, she did not deserve to die for it, however it is the risk you take. When you get involved in this lifestyle, you risk death every day, either from the drugs themselves, or the lifestyle that surrounds them. So I don't think her family is entitled to a thing, and I dont think people should be so hard on the officers, they are just doing their job to keep people safe.

She got lynched.....don't think so! 20.May.2003 19:59

Majik Smoke

Looking thru here I saw a sign that read a woman was LYNCHED here on a traffic stop. This is complete and total bullshit! This woman was shot because she was putting a police officers life in danger by TRYING TO RUN HIM OVER! So you are saying that by the officer DEFENDING himself against a whacked out crackhead whos intent was to harm, or possibly kill the officer(s) who had pulled her over was unwarranted? I don't know where you poeple get your logic, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if a white woman had done this same thing and a white cop shot her we all wouldn't be here right now.

Lets not church up some crackhead who had left her kids to go get beamed up at 2:30 in the morning. Lets not make this about race. Let the facts stand as they may. The officer did the right thing. And I would hope if ever in that situation again, he would do exactally the same thing.

I don't know why I am even bothering to post this. More than likely someone will just have this commet removed because it doesn't make a crackhead look like a saint that she wasn't. Oh well. Mabe a few people will open their eyes, look around, and find the truth for themselves instead of getting all worked up and letting this thing become a race issue, which it clearly is not.

Kendra James Accountability 21.May.2003 17:16

Northeast Portland Mom

Dear Mr.Thomas:

I am a single mother, I live in Northeast Portland and have for more many years. As a mother I feel it is my responsibility to be at home raising my daughter not out doing illegal drugs, resisting arrest and dragging a police officer who risks his life trying to take the keys out of my ignition rather than allowing me to drive high on drugs and risk the lives of Portland residents.
I believe this officer is a brave man for attempting to stop Ms. James from fleeing the scene by reaching in the window to take the keys from the ignition. Please tell me why she chose not to stop, why she chose to do drugs, why she chose not to show up for court, why she chose not to take care of her children and why you choose to stand up for her. They talk about accountability for the police, what about Kendra?
Do you think we should change the law to allow cocaine users to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence?
Do you think we should change the law to make stopping for the police optional?

I need pictures 21.May.2003 20:55


If anyone could tell me where I can get good pictures of Kendra, the police chief, the officer that shot her or any of the officers who were there, I would apprechiate it. I have to do a presentation on it and would like some picutures. Thanks for anyones help. angel

This is a sad case 22.May.2003 16:46

Erika C. Baby1_love@yahoo.com

I think its very sad that the police are going about this issue like they have. I am a Teenage black girl who goes to school and does dam good. About 2 week ago we got pulled over, and i switched seet with my cousin because he didnt have Ls. They didnt shoot at us. But why did they stop them (racial profiling i feel).
It funny how when a whit cop gets shot in the face America Breaks their neck trying to help his him and his family.
What about Kendras mom, her kids, her FAMILYand friends. They act like they killed an animal,they took a human beings life away. Somebodys mom, sombodys daughter, somebodys girl,somebody friend, somebodys grandaughter, somebodys niece and somebodys future.

shot because she was a crackhead??? 22.May.2003 21:39

high school student buckawoo@hotmail.com

it disturbs me reading some of these comments people have written. i saw things like she should have died. and that because she was a crack head that gives the police the right to kill her? should we go out and kill every crack head we see? no we shouldn't. He said that his life was in danger. how can this be when he wasn't in front of the car? if so i believe he could have moved out of the way, and let her go knowing they would have found her later. he afraid of the car right? not her. now why didn't he shoot the car? no instead he shot her. he left her for dead and thought she was faking! the police are suposed to protect us, not kill us or leave us for dead. he also said he was so upset that he had killed some one, yet he could still go out to dinner with his wife and a fellow officer. may i remind your that he broke as many as 7 rules in 48 hours, kendra broke one.... trying to flee. saying that the car was a deadly wepon is the most rediculous thing i've ever heard. he thought his life was in danger... i was cut off on the free way he put my life in danger, does that give me the right to shoot him just to keep me alive? is my life worth any more than his? was Kendra's life any more or less that that cop?

The worst police work I have ever heard of 24.May.2003 07:38


What amazes me about this whole thing is the can and can'ts in the situation:
Officers: can't use his pepper spray
can't get the tazer load to its destination
can't manhandle a 5'4" woman
can't grab her by the hair of the head
can't keep her from getting into the front seat of the car
can't stop her from operating the vehicle
but can: shoot to kill with one bullet
get away with it legally

I personally can handle any 5'4" woman with no weapons involved under any circumstances whatsoever without hurting her. (I am a 5'2" female). I can't imagine a 27-year old officer having to use lethal force to handle this woman. This is the absolute worst in police tactics.

re: dan and anonymous 06.Oct.2003 04:07


ridiculous. let's just sit on our asses and perpetuate the ignorance by arguing and regressing to making superficial assumptions, ie. personal attacks. My father happens to be a bald white man, and he remains one of the most intelligent, well-spoken, well-educated, and politically neutral men I've ever met. don't take it out on all the whitey.

my point is: there is an intelligent way to argue. let's try to maintain it. It is always tragic when police take life and in this case I would argue that both sides are seriously F-ed up. But hey, no more Kroeker, let's see what Foxworth can do for Portland.

why not get the truth from the driver and other passenger 03.Nov.2003 02:02


Has anyone thought of questioning the driver of the car and the other passenger that witnessed the event? I have looked in all the articles written about this situation and none covers in detail their opinion of the matter. They have the answers to all that comments that are being assumed about this case. The problem with those that are arguing for James Kendra is that the facts are not given as a whole to the public. The problem with those that are arguing against James Kendra is the same. I have heard and read the police recognized James Kendra and knew who she was as they drove passed the car. The risk that the three people took that night is that the car they were driving was not theirs...has anyone asked whose car was that. Was it the car that triggered the police to pull them over? Was the driver driving irresponsibly to cause the event? Let's start from the beginning...did the police that stopped the car have previous experience with the people in the car? I think so...I heard and read that the whole interstate street has about 12 motels/hotels that are being watched closely that have dealers dealing drugs from there and that is where the people came from...so I don't think it was a routine stop...it was motivated by what was observed during the time of the event at the hotel/motel the people left from...there is so much more to the story that it is sad we are all looking to blame someone rather than understand the series of events that led to this controversial event...We should be praying rather than blaming, pray that we do not become victims of the police and victims of drugs. An addiction is an illness that many people are stricken with everyday. We should pray that a lot of people will learn from this experience, especially because the northeast portland area where the event occured is plagued with drug dealers and addicts. Our community services and representatives need to stop ignoring that these problem exists in the area and help by starting to clean up the place.

guns and police 31.Aug.2006 10:58

are they needed bumpergiant@sbcglobal.net

Lets remove the guns from police hands to avoid situations like this in the future are have them carry only rubber bullets. Lethal force is not needed in our society.How many people have to be killed by the police before something is done. Reguardless of the color of a persons skin this is not acceptable. We are the voters and it is we the people that must act by voting and calling our reps in congress. Speak up and let your vote be heard.