portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts portland metro

government | human & civil rights | police / legal

Officers exonerated in Kendra James murder

Police Chief Derrick Foxworth, after reviewing an internal investigation, finds no evidence of misconduct by police after Kendra James' shooting
Saturday, August 07, 2004

Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth has found no reason to discipline several officers and two sergeants who faced allegations of misconduct after last year's fatal traffic stop shooting of Kendra James.

After reviewing an internal affairs investigation into seven "post-shooting concerns," Foxworth exonerated the officers on six of them, including a charge that they didn't give James proper medical aid as she lay handcuffed in the street.

On the remaining allegation, Foxworth rebuked two officers involved in the traffic stop, saying they showed poor judgment by meeting for dinner before the grand jury convened, according to records obtained by The Oregonian.

Officers Scott McCollister and Kenneth Reynolds ate together at a Lake Oswego Applebee's restaurant the night after the fatal shooting and before McCollister had been interviewed by detectives.

It was McCollister who fired the shot that killed James, 21, as she tried to drive away from a May 2, 2003, traffic stop on North Skidmore Street .

"Their conduct did impact this organization's credibility and negatively impaired the public's trust in the Police Bureau," Foxworth said in a hand-written memo to the Internal Affairs Division.

But Foxworth also wrote that "we can't conclusively, definitively say" the officers discussed details of the shooting. He made a finding of "inconclusive evidence" on the allegation.

The chief's recent findings close the internal affairs investigation into the shooting, which sparked community outrage, led to former Chief Mark Kroeker's resignation and prompted an on-going review of bureau policies.

James' family is suing the city, McCollister, Reynolds and Officer Rick Bean, who assisted in the traffic stop, for $10 million in U.S. District Court.

Chris Bottoms, one of the James family's Portland attorneys, said he had hoped the three officers would be disciplined but wasn't surprised.

"We didn't have any expectations that police internal affairs would produce anything positive for the James family," he said. "It's like the wolf guarding the henhouse."

The lawsuit contends the three officers failed to provide medical care to James after she was shot.

However, internal affairs investigators found no evidence the officers violated the bureau's directive on emergency medical care. After pulling James from the car, McCollister called for paramedics. He said he found no signs of a gunshot wound and didn't perform emergency resuscitation because he saw her chest rising and falling. He then placed her "in a post-shooting position, patted her down for weapons and secured the area around her, which is consistent with training," according to a report.

Members of the Albina Ministerial Association, who have been outspoken critics of the shooting, said they were baffled.

"They had shot her," said the Rev. T. Allen Bethel, alliance president, "and then to handcuff her and just leave her there. I find that to be not-human treatment."

Bethel said he was equally disappointed by the chief's findings on the restaurant meeting between McCollister and Reynolds.

Although the dinner was planned before the shooting and occurred in the company of the officers' wives and officers not involved in the James traffic stop, "it was highly inappropriate," Bethel said.

According to the internal affairs review, the evidence showed McCollister and Reynolds began to discuss "the emotions connected to the incident" before they were stopped by another officer at the table.

In his June 23 memo to internal affairs, Foxworth said he found "some, albeit minor and small, inconsistent statements in the characterization of the conversation." But he noted that bureau policies prohibited "extensive discussion" of the case, and there was inconclusive evidence of that.

A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by McCollister, but Kroeker gave him a 51/2-month unpaid suspension for what he considered tactical mistakes.

Police said investigation into the post-shooting conduct of the officers -- McCollister, Bean, Reynolds, Stephen Endicott, Joshua Faris and Scott Broughton -- stemmed from questions raised during last year's review.

The other allegations ranged from officers leaving the scene without permission and neglecting to collect witnesses' names to inappropriate behavior outside the grand jury room.

Foxworth cleared Sgt. Denney Kelley and Sgt. Frank Gorgone of charges that they didn't write adequate reports and failed to tell officers and witnesses to avoid extensive conversation.

At the same time, Foxworth has ordered supervisors to discuss concerns raised during the investigation with the officers and sergeants.
now you know 07.Aug.2004 22:28

why

my Black friends call PoPo's Chief Foxworth...Uncle Tom Foxworth! Makes sense to me! How about you?

PPB™ Armed Gang Is Covered 07.Aug.2004 22:54

Hawkeye

... with the Foxworth guarding the henhouse.

Now that the 07.Aug.2004 23:22

Portland Piggies

have once again gotten away with MURDER, then look out for another killer-cop incident soon, as they
all damned well know they can get away with it under Katz/Foxworth and one or two of 'em will soon
pull the trigger on poor soul! God Hell us all! Have your cameras ready and get the sonsofbitches in the act this time, and give 'em more bad press!

give it up 08.Aug.2004 00:51

moon

it don't matter how you document it...the cops will still be exonerated, because police philosophy, recruitment and training completely justify regard for a detainee's life as expendable and subordinate to the least amount of risk and effort expended by the officers on scene. Keep that very clear in mind and steer very clear of any police officer whenever possible.

licensed to kill... 08.Aug.2004 05:55

eek

With the only jurisdiction in these cases coming from the police bureau, the cops have a de-facto license to kill. They're above the law; hell, like Bull O'Connor would say, they ARE the law.

How surprising. 08.Aug.2004 07:58

Reasonable Belief

I believe the law allows a person to defend themselves with deadly force when they reasonably believe they are in mortal danger. Personally, if I were on a jury, I would exonerate any black person who came before me accused of killing a police officer. Don't get me wrong. I see police officers as human beings too (albeit human beings who have chosen to oppress their fellow citizens). I do not condone the act of killing anyone. But honestly, how could anyone deny that black people in this city have a reasonable belief that the cops are out to kill them? How many unarmed black people have been gunned down by the ppb, only to have the killer exonerated? The police are nothing more than a heavily armed, state-sanctioned gang. And they are getting away with murder. It's time to defend ourselves against them.

Speaking of which. They will be out in force this coming Friday, waiting to beat us down. It's not cute, it's not funny anymore. Their beefed-up riot gear and their weird arsenals are more than just strange and eerie. They are outrageous. They are loaded weapons aimed at the people of this city. These automatons have lost all credibility, indeed, all moral standing they may once have claimed. They are not "the good guys."

We are human beings, damn it. No matter what color our skin, no matter what our political beliefs, no matter what we do for a living, no matter how much money we have. We are human beings. We are the people of this city. It's time to stop rolling over, allowing them to do the things they do to us. When they come after us with guns and tazers and chains, WE MUST DEFEND OURSELVES.

pissed as usual 08.Aug.2004 10:34

Oh you know me.

I wonder if Derrick Foxworths 500,000 house in clackamas has anything to do with this.

Hmm>? 08.Aug.2004 18:21

Hellcat

What do you think about this.. Home demo's at killer cops houses and teachins at thier neighbors doorstep?