Synopsis of Public Inquest ,04/28/04, Part 1
Synopsis of Public Inquest ,04/28/04, Part 1
FIRST WITNESS: Detective Jon Rhodes (homicide) testified first. His testimony was pretty straightforward. Nothing real noteworthy.
SECOND WITNESS: Officer Sean Macomber
They were in the process of citing a M/B subject for drinking in public/open container at Fessenden and Oswego, when he first saw the vehicle driven by Perez. They had just cleared the person stop (oh, Macomber made a point of throwing in that this subject was an admitted LA Crip gang member), were back in the patrol car going N/B on Oswego to Fox. At Fox, he noticed the vehicle facing E/B on Fox.
He stated that the vehicle "stood out a great deal". It was a "luxury sedan", with "tinted windows" and "chrome wheels". It was not on a main thoroughfare. All of these factors drew his attention to the vehicle.
He said he turned W/B on Fox, driving past the vehicle, noting that there were 2 people in the car (of course he didn't say it, but he obviously could see that Perez was black. Don't know about the passenger.) He verbally spoke the plate out loud, to Sery, whom I am assuming ran the plate on the MDT (computer terminal) in the car.
Macomber said he'd never seen the vehicle before, and that he'd received no prior reports involving the vehicle.
When he looked into the car as they passed Perez and the passenger, he said the occupants of the car did not want to make eye contact with the officers. (Common reaction when one doesn't want to be noticed by the police, however, it tends to make the police notice ya even more.)
After driving past, he noticed in his rearview mirror that Perez had turned S/B onto Oswego. The registration of the plate came back, and the registered owner of the vehicle was born in 1959. He noted that the age of the registered owner did not match the age of the driver (Perez).
He mimic'd the same turn onto N. Charleston. The DA asked him if was the age of the driver? Or, what was going thru his (Macomber's) mind at this point? Macomber said it was a high vice area, and that the vehicle "didn't fit the area", it was "in the blocks" and not on a main thoroughfare, and it "MIGHT be involved in vice or illegal narcotic activity. Later he admitted that the value of the vehicle ("1/3 the value" of homes in that area per Macomber), had to do with why he thought it "didn't fit the area".
He noticed that Perez stopped at Oswego, seemingly waiting, so Macomber waited also. He had clearly made up his mind to stop this car early on, and was clearly looking for a reason, because he believed they were involved in selling crack.
Perez turned E/B onto Fessenden. Macomber had to wait for a vehicle to go by, but then followed Perez. He said he had to "accelerate" to catch up, but that Perez was not speeding (going the speed limit of 35). He caught up to the car and was behind it at N. Tyuga (spelling?) Avenue. At that point, he claims he didn't see the passenger in the car (but gee, those windows were so dark that they couldn't see into the car...does this seem kinda inconsistent to anybody else but me?).
Perez then turned on his right turn signal approximately at the curb line of N. Burr, and turned into the parking lot. Macomber estimated that Perez signalled approximately 30 feet prior to making the turn. Damn, we better all get out and pace off 100' so we know what that is, so we don't get pulled over and killed by some other cop!!!
NOTE: Macomber followed Perez approximately 15 blocks prior to "stopping" him...just waiting for him to do ANYTHING wrong so he could stop him!
Macomber pulled into the lot behind Perez and activated his overhead lights, intiating a traffic stop (after Perez had already stopped on his own!). Per procedure, he pulled up and slightly to the left of Perez's vehicle (at an angle - normally that is done when in a traffic lane, to allow the officer more room from passing traffic - using the car like that to force traffic more to the left.).
Macomber got out of the car and "began my approach". As he shut the door he noticed the driver had rolled the window down, had his head out the window looking back at him, and "yelled back in a forceful tone 'What's the problem?'". He yelled "very loud, as if to initiate an argument." DA asked Macomber if Perez got out of the car, and Macomber said no, he didn't.
He said he thought Sery got out of the car at the same time he did. DA asked him if he and Sery had any conversation while following the car. Per Macomber, the only conversation they had was him telling Sery that there was only "one person in the car now". Sery did not recognize the car either.
Macomber continued his approach to the driver's side of the car, and asked Perez for his drivers license and proof of insurance. Macomber did not have his gun drawn. His hands were down by his side as he approached, as he would on any "routine traffic stop".
Perez said "I don't have a license." Macomber was 1-2' away from the car and approx 2' back from Perez (in the standard position where officers stand while contacting a driver).
The drivers window was down, and he could see clearly into the car. He asked Perez if he had an ID card. Perez "mumbled a response". DA asked him what "mumbled" meant. He said it was "verbal but didn't sound like anything. It was nonsensical. It didn't sound like words. Mumbled nonsense."
Perez was seated in the vehicle with his body turned towards his left, towards the officer, looking back over his left shoulder (the only way one can look at a cop during a traffic stop!). His hands were "resting on his lap".
They made eye contact. DA asked "What were you feeling?" Macomber said the mumbled response was "weird". He'd never had anybody just mumble to him like that before in response to a question. He said he again asked for ID. There was then a "period of eye contact where he made no response".
Macomber said he'd asked that question in the same tone he'd asked all the others. He said that after he'd asked the question the second time, the "silence and the eye contact started making me feel a little weird. This was not a normal traffic stop."
Perez then said "I have ID". Macomber asked "Can you go ahead and get our ID?"
Perez reached his left hand to the door panel, while turning his body away from Macomber, towards the passenger side of the car. He "depressed the window button, rolling the window up."
"As the window was going up I can't see inside. I can't see what he's going for. I yelled at him to stop" but Perez ignored him.
"The window went up fast, up to the top. I couldn't see his body whatsoever." Macomber then opened the drivers door and observed Perez leaning over the center console. Macomber couldn't see his right hand.
Macomber said that when he opened the car door, there was "another pause", Perez was "in this stare, as if he's making a plan." Macomber said at this moment he's thinking"'what's gonna happen next?"
Perez said to him, "I thought you wanted ID?"
Macomber said that at that time, based up the physical cues from Perez and the fact that he didn't have a license, he made the decision to take him into custody for Failure to Display a Drivers License. NOTE: You CAN go to jail merely for not physically having your license on you or not having one.
Macomber said he told Perez to put his hands on top of his head, and that he was under arrest for Fail to Display. He said Perez sat back in the seat, placing his right hand into the center console, "deep enough to conceal his entire hand." There were brown napkins in the console, covering his hand.
Macomber grabbed Perez's left arm and put him in an arm bar. DA asked him what Perez was saying at this point. Macomber said Perez was "silent", and that he "said nothing else from that point forward".
Macomber said he pulled back on Perez's arm, and again told him to put his hand on top of his head. Macomber moved his right hand to Perez's left wrist to do a wrist lock.
"Perez looked back again, away from what he was reaching for." "Things happened fast." "He's looking for where I am am, as if I'm a target. That's what I felt like."
At that point he pushed Perez's left cheek with his right hand so Perez can't see him (assuming towards the center of the car)..."He's trying to acquire me as a target."
Macomber said Perez's leaned over a bit, and Macomber "can now see his that his right hand in his pocket, feverishly digging for...". "There appeared to be a bulge in his pocket. I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw the bulge."
Time is perceptively going faster. Macomber is "very afraid of what he was trying to do with his right hand". He pushed him forward, "to prevent him from being able to reach back with his right hand" (i.e. trying to prevent Perez from being able to reach his right hand across his chest under his left arm and shoot Macomber). Macomber said he moved his body as close to the car as possible (to be in a less vulnerable position).
"At that time I felt as if I was in a stalemate. I had no advantage." Macomber was becoming aware of the fact that his hands were in use (physically trying to restrain Perez).
"There's just this...(long pause) overwhelming sense that something bad's gonna happen." Macomber is visibly shaken as he testifies...near the point of tears.
He said he "hears Sery" to his left yelling "Move back! I'm gonna shoot". Macomber said he heard shots, but can't remember what he's seeing...next thing he remembers is that he's standing next to Sery. He said there is "still movement in the car". He pulled his Taser and deployed it. Called for code 3 cover using his shoulder mic.
DA asks him if he knows where the taser darts are at this time. Macomber says "I don't remember." He said that at one point, he saw that one had hit Perez and one had hit the seat. He said he didn't remember when he saw this, whether it was then or later when he cuffed Perez.
He called for code 3 medical. He said he was "trying to think". He had "a lot of adrenaline" in his system at that point. He's trying to guide cover and medical in (i.e. telling them which way to approach the scene safely). Cover officers arrive. Officers Dauchy and Sothern.
Macomber said somebody removed Sery. He said he, Dauchy, Sothern and Sgt. Kelley made a plan to re-approach the vehicle. Macomber continues to be visibly shaken. DA asks him if he's "okay".
Macomber then goes on to describe their approach to the car. They opened the rear driver door first (since they couldn't see inside the car, they had no idea if there was anybody back there). He then approached the drivers side, and controlled Perez's right hand. Officer Sothern controlled Perez's left hand. They checked for vital signs, but no pulse. They secured his hands (handcuffed him, in front of his body - unusual, not per normal practice).
Perez still had his seatbelt on and connected, per Macomber.
Did you ever see a weapon? "No I did not."
Were there any other weapons? No, there was not"
Macomber was then relieved and put in a patrol car. Taken to Assumption Village (?) to wait to speak to detectives. He returned to the scene later, to conduct a walk-thru with detectives.
DA asked him if he's ever had any other traffic stop like this one. Macomber stated "Not in my five years."
Then there were questions from the Jury/family/attorney.
Why didn't you ask for help from Sery? "I'm used to working alone", it was a "short time" period. Said he heard 3 shots, heard the shooting stop, then he used his taser.
Why did you use your taser after the shots were fired? Because of his "continual resistance and movement in the car". Macomber said he felt Perez was still a threat. Goes on to tell a story about a video they were shown in the academy of a Texas shooting, where the suspect has a "small 22 pistol". The cop shot the suspect several times. The subject still was able to shoot the cop and killed him.
Was there music playing in the car? "I heard nothing coming from the subjects car".
Asked if the window got rolled back down. Macomber said the "window never rolled back down".
He was asked how that auto was "different" from others in the neighborhood. Asked to describe what that means.
"It was a newer, luxury sedan. It appeared to have no sign of body damage. There were significant modifications made to the car." Macomber said he believe that the vehicle cost "1/3 of what a home in the area sold for".
Did you make the automatic assumption that drugs were involved? "I wouldn't say 'assumption', but the vehicle stood out."
DA asks him about the "slumper scenario"
A common scenario used in training, in which the officer approaches a parked vehicle with a male subject slumped over the steering wheel. unbeknownst to the officer, the subject has a gun under his right leg (since officers usually approach from the left, the gun is not visible to the officer at any time during the scenario). the officer contacts the subject, eventually asking him to step out of the car. the subject gets out of the car and starts shooting at the officer. officer freezes (has happened), fires back, moves for cover...whatever his/her reaction is to what the "slumper" is doing. There are many scenarios (most in fact), in which the subjects (other defensive tactics instructors play the bad guys and witnesses) have guns/knives/etc and shoot/stab or could have shot/stabbed the officer in training. There are few scenarios in which the officer is dealing with a regular person in a "routine traffic stop". By the time you leave training, you think everyone is a potential threat. And you are trained to ALWAYS think that...regardless of the race of the person. Of course, we all know that race absolutely is a factor in this incident, and in the fear level the officers felt.
Macomber goes on to talk about his training in the shoot/don't shoot scenarios with the interactive laser system. It's a pretty cool system, and good training on using judgement AND in reaction time/accuracy of shots (if fired), etc.
Macomber was asked where Sery was during his struggle with Perez. Macomber states "I don't know".
Did Sery have to move to get a better angle? "I can't testify to that at this time. I don't know."
Did you have to move out of his way? "I heard him from my left tell me to move." "I don't know".
He was asked about his training in the use of tasers vs. the use of guns (i.e. when to use taser vs. gun). Macomber discusses physical resistance (for taser), and lethal force - reasonable believe that self or others in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury.
His testimony ends at approximately 12:30pm. DA asks Macomber if he's "ok". DA pretty much coddled Macomber, and I didn't hear any real hard questions being asked of him. I certainly would have asked him how long Perez's two pauses were (where they were in the staring match). He's certainly correct in that things did go fast (24 seconds).
NOTE: I think I'll perform my own re-enactment and see what the time frame is...
THIRD WITNESS: Officer Sean Sothern
Sothern was at North Precinct, doing paperwork, having just finished working a detail at the rose city gun show. Officer Erin Dauchy was also present at the precinct, doing paperwork.
They heard on the radio that shots had been fired, and ran out to respond. They were the first cover officers to arrive on-scene.
Upon arrival Sothern observed a traffic stop with 2 officers 10-15 feet back from the open drivers door.
"I got out and went to assist". Sery was pointing his gun at the driver, Sothern took up a position to his right, to assist.
Dauchy asked who shot? Was the suspect armed?
Sery said he fired the shots. Sothern told him to put his gun away and back off. Where did Sery go? "He went out of my view behind me."
Sothern asked to describe physical evidence he observed. He said that as he approached the car, he could see blood - in the left hip area, and on the car seat. He saw a "large plastic package in his mouth".
After cuffing Perez, he turned and saw several cartridges on the ground, and the taser wires. "The taser was still cycling" (i.e. turned on). He heard the audible clicking noise the taser makes.
Macomber then tells Sothern and Dauchy that "he'd had it on continuously since he first used it."
"In our plan to move forward" we needed to "put on protective gloves". He put gloves on. Then he took the taser from Macomber. "While it was in my hand it stopped working. I couldn't get it to work again, so I gave it back to Macomber".
Approached the driver, Sothern reached across the driver, grabbing his right arm. Macomber took control of his left arm. (exactly the opposite of what Macomber testified to!).
They handcuffed Perez in the front. The "seatbelt was engaged. In order to check for a pulse, I disconnected the seatbelt." Sothern checked for a carotid pulse, checking both sides of Perez's neck. There was no pulse.
Sothern asked about the radio transmissions, what was the substance of them? What information did you have?
Sothern again said the he'd been at North Precinct (the mission had ended). He heard the traffic stop. "A short time later officers said shots fired at that location".
"As I got in the car I heard Macomber ask for code 0 medical, but there is no code 0 medical." Code 0 is a code used by police when they "can't explain what's going on", per Sothern.
Code 0 has always meant that an officers life is in danger and they need cover NOW (don't know where Sothern came up with the "can't explain what's going on"). A code 0 was called out when Officer Colleen Waibel was killed, and the other officers shot.
Anyway, Macomber or Sery broadcast that they were ok. He thought he'd heard that the suspect shot was down, but wasn't sure.
Elden Rosenthal (the family's attorney), asked how long it took them to arrive on-scene. Sothern said he knew exactly how long it had taken because he had looked at the CAD. "40 seconds. Less than a minute".
End of Sothern's testimony.
FOURTH WITNESS: Officer Erin(Aaron?) Matthew Dauchy
Been a police officer for "just over five years now". He said he'd just finished working the Rose City gun show, signed off from that, and had signed back on as 535, his regular district on afternoon shift. He'd had a partner at the gun show (Sothern?). He was assigned to work alone that day, as 535.
He said he'd heard the traffic stop on the radio, then as he was sitting down to write his reports from the gun show he heard on the radio "Shots fired! Shots fired!"
"Sothern responded with me". They responded code 3 to the scene.
How long did it take you to arrive on-scene? "It seemed like forever, but it was probably about a minute."
He saw a white vehicle with tinted windows. DA asked him to describe the scene.
Dauchy said Sery had his gun pointed at the driver. He was the leads from the taser on the ground, going to the car.
He said he was the driver, and that Sothern was in the passenger seat. Dauchy said Sothern got out and ran to Sery's right.
"I grabbed the shotgun and ran around and took position on Macomber's left".
The driver door was open. He saw Perez's leg (left leg), and his left hand, which was on his lap. "It was shaking."
Dauchy said he began to slice the pie (a tactical term used to describe a technique used to clear an area for safety). He saw Perez had "both hands in his lap, shaking." His head was turned to the left, and "I could see his chin."
Saw blood running down Perez's left side and onto the seat.
He asked if Perez had a gun. Macomber replied, saying "I don't know. He was reaching to his right. If he'd come out with something I was gonna shoot him."
Sery then said he'd shot Perez 3 to 4 times. Dauchy said he "told Jason to back out", once he realized that he'd been the shooter.
Dauchy said he never saw a weapon. DA asked him if he'd had any conversation with Sery. "Briefly, after medical..." He said he put his shotgun away, and asked Sery if he need to use Dauchy's cell phone to call his wife. Sery said no, that his wife was out of town.
Dauchy said "I put Macomber in my car and let him use the phone". Macomber called his wife.
End of Dauchy's testimony.
FIFTH WITNESS: Sgt. Denny Kelley
Kelley said he was at North Precinct, doing paperwork. He heard on the radio that shots had been fired, but didn't know who it was (North and Northeast use the same radio net, and they didn't know if it was a North or Northeast Officer). He said he then heard "524" and "we knew it was our people".
"Immediately, I knew where it was." He remembered hearing them go out on their traffic stop at Fessenden and Burr.
Kelley went to his Sgt's car with Sgt. Ron Berry/Barry (spelling?). They approached the scene from the west.
How long did it take you to arrive? "A couple minutes." Just a "guess".
What did you observe? Kelley said since there were two Sgts there, they divided the responsibilities. "I took tactical and the car". He said he could see that it was still a "hot situation" as they arrived.
He observed Sery walking away from the stopped car. Sery indicated to Kelley that he was the shooter. "He was stationed by my car. I went to the suspects car."
It was his responsibility to plan how to take approach and secure the car.
He said he observed the front driver post, open car door, and heard the stereo going.
"The windows were so dark you couldn't see into the car." "We couldn't see into the back seat." All the officers were positioned on the drivers side of Macomber's patrol car.
He had to make the decision whether to call out SERT (PPB's swat team), or do it themselves. He asked if Perez had made any independent movements and they said no. He had heard the taser going over the radio in the background.
"Tasers cause muscle spasms". GEE, so does death and dying!!!
DA asked him to clarify what he meant by "independent" movement. "Any movement he would have made on his own." At that point he felt it was "safe enough for us to secure the scene."
They needed to secure Perez's hands and clear the backseat. He heard someone say "Let's get him out." But, being rational, he knew that if Perez was dead that it was a crime scene, and that they shouldn't move anything.
Kelley went on to say that he felt it was "more respectful to have him in the car than on the ground." Somehow, I have a hard time believing that he was thinking of "respect" at a time like this. I believe he was focused more on the crime scene aspect of it, rather than respect.
He said something about "traumatic incidents like shootings", but I wasn't able to catch what his point was.
Kelley then said ,"I told him not to do that. As I said that, somebody reached in and undid the seatbelt."
They took control of his hands, cuffing him in front, so as not to disturb the crime scene, even though it is against policy to cuff in front.
Sothern checked for a carotid pulse, both sides of Perez's neck. Sothern said he "didn't have a pulse".
"At that point we called medical in." Because he had some concern that "he (Perez) might come back alive", and his hands weren't properly secured, he flex cuffed the handcuffs to the drivers side door post.
"I asked where the weapon was and the response was 'I don't know'".
Perez's head was back. Dauchy said there was a bag of dope in his mouth. "I looked down and saw the baggie".
Did you turn off the car? "No." He thinks criminalists turned the car off.
Kelley estimated medicals response time to be approximately 30 seconds. EMS asked where Perez was shot. Kelley didn't know, so he went and asked Sery, who told him he'd fired 3 to 4 shots.
Kelley said he had cutters available to cut the flex cuffs if need be, but that medical made the decision not to do a rescue effort. Kelley said he got everybody out of the crime scene, had the area taped off, and "secured these doors so people couldn't come out of the laundry mat".
Kelley said he moved his car and used his car as a shield "to block the media from taking photos of Mr. Perez".
DA asked him about his past experience as a SERT team member. Kelley said he'd been a SERT member for 3 years. He became a cop in 1979, has had approximately 3000 hours of training, attended the LA Swat school.
He stated "the tactical decisions that are made are sometimes not a right answer but we try to be safe for everybody involved."
Was the front window tinted? Drivers door was open. "All windows were tinted to the same degree except the windshield."
Kelley said it was hard to see the seat right behind where Mr. Perez was seated." He said that to this day he still doesn't know the facts that led up to the actual shooting.
DA asked him if the tinting of the window was legal (at 12%), but Kelley didn't know. DA mentioned that they would be having someone go out with a meter and find out.
The family asked Sgt. Kelley if the radio was on? Are you sure? What was the level (i.e. volume)?
"It wasn't obnoxiously loud, but I could hear the music, but it didn't hamper any communications." He went on to say that he didn't think that there would have been any communication problems between Macomber and Perez due to the volume of the music.
I believe it was a jury member that sent up the next question, but whatever it was, the DA said he couldn't ask it, that it was "not within the purview" of the inquest, but that it would be part of the official record (meaning that when it becomes public record, we can then find out what the question was).
End of Kelley's testimony.
SIXTH WITNESS: Linda Pantley (EMS paramedic for AMR)
She stated that she and her partner were roving in the area of Lombard and Portsmouth. They received the call to respond, and they "responded as per usual".
DA instructed her to talk louder and speak to the jury, not him. She then re-stated what she'd said, saying that they were instructed to stage at N. Fessenden and Midway, out of sight of the incident. (They always stage medical that way to protect medical responders, until the scene is "secure").
She said they got the call at 5:08pm. They arrived at 5:12pm, and they cleared the scene at 5:18pm.
She said that from the staging area she could see a police officer using his car to block Fessenden traffic. "He waved us into the scene, W/B on Fessenden".
DA asked her what she observed. She said an officer told her to determine if Perez had a pulse or not, and that it was a crime scene so don't disturb anything.
There was no carotid pulse. She checked both sides. His head was tilted back OVER the shoulder rest. There was a plastic back in his mouth. He was not breathing. There were no heart tones. She asked what injuries he had sustained. They told her 3-4 gunshot wounds to the chest.
She said she saw one on the left side above the waistline. She saw bruising on his left side, by his breastbone. She, along with her partner and Fire personnel, collectively made the decision that he "couldn't be successfully resuscitated. She was shown exhibit 20, which was a photo of Jahar's dead body in the car, although they didn't show any of those exhibits on the video I watched online from KATU.
She identified him and the scene as being what she remembered.
End of Pantley's testimony.
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