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Officer Mike Smith Fatally Shoots Bank Robbery Suspect

Officer (Ofc.) Mike Smith of the Portland Police Bureau fired 4 shots on monday morning wounding and eventually killing a bank robbery suspect. Four officers were involved in the confrontation. Ofc. Mike Smith did not carry a Taser, and it is unclear at this time if any of the other officers at the scene had a Taser availiable.
Officer Mike Smith of the Portland Police Bureau C.E.R.T. Team
Officer Mike Smith of the Portland Police Bureau C.E.R.T. Team
Officer (Ofc.) Mike Smith of the Portland Police Bureau fired 4 shots on monday morning wounding and eventually killing a bank robbery suspect. Four officers were involved in the confrontation. Ofc. Mike Smith did not carry a Taser, and it is unclear at this time if any of the other officers at the scene had a Taser availiable. The victum's name has not been released yet, Police are waiting to notify next of kin first.

News Releases: Portland Police Officer shoots robbery suspect 23.Nov.2004 09:38

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Mike-d.(P.P.B.)

News Releases: Portland Police Officer shoots robbery suspect
The following item(s) have been added to the Portland Police Bureau notification system during the date(s) specified.

Date: 11/22/2004
Incident/Case#:
Investigator: Homicide Unit of the Portland Police Bureau (503) 823-0479

PIO Contact: PIO Contact Name: Brian Schmautz
Email Address:  bschmautz@police.ci.portland.or.us
Phone Number: 503-823-0010
Pager Number: 503-790-1779
Attachment(s): None Uploaded
URL:  http://www.portlandonline.com/police/pbnotify.cfm...

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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICER SHOOTS ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT

On November 22, 2004, at 11:07 am, a Portland Police officer shot and killed a 39-year-old bank robbery suspect while responding to report of a robbery at the Bank of the West located at 905 Northeast Halsey Street. In the initial report of the bank robbery officers were given a suspect description and told the suspect threatened to kill employees of the bank. While checking the area after the reported robbery, police officers saw the suspect a few blocks from the bank. Officers initiated a foot pursuit and cornered the suspect on Northeast Holladay between Northeast 6th and 7th Avenue. Several witnesses reported hearing officer's shout commands at the suspect and witnessed the suspect, who was armed with a knife, ignore the commands and advance towards the officers. A 17-year-veteran of the Portland Police Bureau fired 3 to 5 shots striking the suspect who fell to the ground. A knife and evidence taken from the robbery were recovered at the scene.

Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detectives and Detectives from the Multnomah County Major Crimes Team are currently interviewing officers and citizens. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, November 23, 2004. Detectives have identified the robbery suspect. His identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Detectives are seeking contact with anyone who may have information in this investigation. If you saw any portion of the crime and have not had contact with police call the Homicide Unit of the Portland Police Bureau at (503) 823-0479.

This investigation is continuing.

###PPB###

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this PoPig 23.Nov.2004 15:54

Mike Smith

is a Scott McCollister/Jason Sery TYPE...go after his fucking ass for killing a citizen!

Wait a minute 23.Nov.2004 16:13

Mike

Believe me, I'm no cop lover, but do you have all of the facts in the case? Were you there? I watched the news last night and eye-witnesses clearly said the suspect was running at the cop with a knife. Think about the cop's family, don't they have a right to have their husband/father come home? If he wouldn't have fired he would have likely been stabbed and/or killed. Is there ever a justification for a cop shooting in your eyes?

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of "suicide by cop". Some people are apparently so desprate to end their lives they do this stuff on purpose. I should know my uncle did. He came at cops with a gun because he was despondent over his wife leaving him.

I'm just saying, it happens. I think your rush to judgement of the cops may be unwarreanted in this case. And I'm no fucking troll either, so don't anyone go there!

it's important 23.Nov.2004 16:19

some kid

to remember that this person WAS armed. Not that I'm saying he should've been killed. this pig was in the wrong. But when comparing him to McCollister and Sery you seem to be downplaying the experience of those who were unarmed when killed.

Peace Officer 23.Nov.2004 16:28

Joshua

While I will not jump to conclusions about the officers justifications I do think that killing someone without a gun is uncalled for. Desperate people are everywhere these days and unless we are better at helping people we should expect a whole lot more of this in the Bush years. Killing is cool according to our government.

wday to go 23.Nov.2004 16:35

Finnzie playa

good job officer smith. i am proud that you are out there protecting the city from shit-bag criminals like the guy you shot. you are a credit to the bureau and the city.

You know 23.Nov.2004 16:39

clamydia

If the guy had simply been holding his hands over his head, and stumbled forward a couple of steps (let's assume he was attempting to come to a stop from a full run), and the cop freaked out and shot him and then either planted a knife or found one in the guy's pocket, I jez betcha that the story would have turned out the same in the corporate news/police news release, which is where ALL of the information from this indymedia feature came from. I'm just sayin is all.

You Know.... 23.Nov.2004 17:03

whatever

Ummm, the dude WAS committing a crime. The cop had every right to defend himself against an attacker. If I had a gun and some dude was coming at me with a knife, I'd have shot to at LEAST incapacitate him. Now, that raises my question, why 4 TIMES? Why shoot in vital areas? Take out the dudes knees or shoulder and he wont be much good with a knife.

When was 23.Nov.2004 17:19

the last time

When was a bank robbery suspect taken alive?

Suspected does not mean guilty 23.Nov.2004 17:33

a.co

People are missing a pretty vital point here- this was a suspect of the crime. This was someone who matched the description of a bank robbery suspect. It hasn't been confirmed yet that this was even the same person. While I'm not saying that it isn't possible or likely that the victim of this police shooting was the same person who robbed the bank, we need to get out of the corporate media brainwashed mindset that assumes that anyone the police suspect of a crime is guilty of that crime. Lots of people would run if being pursued by police.
And that is aside from the fact that such thinking immediately accepts that robbing a bank is a crime to begin with, and a crime that merits pursuit with a deadly weapon. It would not be difficult to find thousands of crimes against humanity committed by Bank of the West (the bank robbed in this incident) and the parties that it invests in. Who was really being hurt by this "crime"? And does such a crime merit a pursuit that ended in a brutal homicide? Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves.

re whatever 23.Nov.2004 17:34

clamydia

No, the guy HAD committed a crime. He wasn't actively committing a crime at the time he was shot. And who the fuck cares anyway? For all we know, he was unarmed and not attacking anyone. The point of my last post was to point out that we have no idea what happened because we have no information other than what we got from corporate media and the cops themselves.

I agree with clamydia 23.Nov.2004 18:21

SkY

Do not trust corporate media and the cops. This is where the info came from. I would like to point out from the corporate media or is it from Mike D or is it from copwatch? is that the cop did not have a tazor gun or anything else that would "Not Kill" this man. Although I think Tazors have killed people. Why couldn't the popo shoot him in the leg? Why did he shoot with a gun? I also have to agree with Joshua, "Killing is cool according to our government."
ASK QUESTIONS!!!!

my aunt is a neighbor of this 23.Nov.2004 21:24

cop--Mike Smith

and she says he/his family go to the fundamentalist church in Beaverton that Sery teachs at...???

You know, when I first heard the report on this 23.Nov.2004 22:14

killing

my mind brought to recall: Scott McCollister and Jason Sery--who could ever forget these creeps?

clamydia is calling this one good, mike d.'s reporting could improve 23.Nov.2004 23:02

regular reader

the report, as posted at the top, is disappointing. it describes the cops' side of the story without any real qualification. mike, could you at least say, "the portland police claim that" or "the cops allege that" or "according to the official police story", etc.? it also wouldn't hurt to say, at the end, "of course, this is just the cops' word, so it hasn't been confirmed." that is to say, when a regular joe on the street makes a post to indymedia, some people will say, "but that hasn't been confirmed yet", i.e., "the corporate media hasn't backed it up" or back-up calls haven't been made or whatever. but, given the history of the police and the corporate media and the Truth (which is not an accurate one, over all), we should be turning that around now, here on indymedia. in other words, given that we only have the cops' version, this story has really not been "confirmed" yet! i mean, do we really know, for example, that the guy who was shot was even the guy they were looking for?

mike, you've had a lot of problems with the cops. why isn't there more perspective here in these ways? your piece is kinda like corporate media -- it sounds official, but is balanced in favor of believing the cops just 'cos they're cops. i'm not saying you shouldn't report what they say as they say it, but you should call out the fact that what they're saying might not mean much.

even if this guy was the bank robber, and did have a knife, did he deserve to die? that's an important part of this story. that is, it's part of the MEANING of the story, which is just as important (if not more) than the alleged facts. that's where corporate media always falls down, and where indymedia can always shine. c'mon, man, SHINE here, don't just imitate!

Suspect had a knife. Does that require Lethal Force? 23.Nov.2004 23:02

Neal B.

Upon reading and viewing the numerous reports, it appears that that the bank robber had a knife and when the officer told him to get on the ground and refused (several times) the bank robber did not. My question: Why not shoot him in the leg or shin? it seems pretty reasonable to me even when you had 17 years experience as a cop. Something does not sit right here.

He could have tased the guy or maced the fuck out of him 23.Nov.2004 23:16

#$%

The Officer could have tased the guy or maced the fuck out of him, disarming some one with a knife is really not that hard if they have already been incapacitated. On the other hand I can not blame the cop for killing this guy because that is what he was trained to do. If you're mad about any thing here it should really be the improper training the PPD gives to its officers.

you all must be non-gun owners 23.Nov.2004 23:36

ewak

You all must not own or shoot guns. It would be incredibly difficult, even for an experienced marksman, to shoot and hit someone running at you in the leg, even at a distance of less than 20 feet.

I would challenge the best shot on any police force in the world to shoot a suspect running towards them (say 30 feet away) in the legs with a handgun. Training teaches police to shoot for the torso not because it will kill them, but simply because it presents a larger target.

Before you challenge what I have said, try it for yourself! (Don't try to shoot someone's legs, just try to shoot a simple target -- it's harder than it looks!)

Shoot to Kill 24.Nov.2004 00:01

Hawkeye

Some funny assymetries...they come out all body armored up, clanking and banging with "less lethal" hardware when serving and protecting against sign waving, drumming protestors, but have the bad luck to confront someone with a "weapon" (a "knife" we're told, but no description) while they are wearing only conventional clothing (maybe steel toed shoes) and equipped only with deadly force.

I think it's conventional policy with law enforcement that if you're going to shoot someone you want to shoot to kill. It's a lot messier, legally and politically, if the shooting victim survives in some disabled state--parlalyzed, in a long term coma, horribly crippled and maimed, rendered parapalegic, blind, etc. Civil settlements probably pencil out better if it's a lump sum, rather than payments going on for the rest of the victim's life under constant special care. Think of a victim ending up like Cristopher Reeve--big bucks. It's really embarrassing for the department and the shooter to have survivors of police shootings still hanging around for years and years. That probably explains the excessive number of shots in many cases, like Sery used at close range on a seated, seat-belted, unarmed "suspect."

That the police are known to shoot to kill goes some way to reinforce the certainty in the minds of those who the police "go up against" that they will die if the agent uses his firearm, and thereby gives the agent an edge in the battle.

Tell No Tales 24.Nov.2004 00:18

Hawkeye

The most obvious benefit of shooting to kill was left out:

The victim can't testify. The shooter has the last and only word.

Me Again 24.Nov.2004 08:51

Wait a minute

I was one of the first people to post (see above) and now that I have read comments that have been added since yesterday I have to say that I'm not impressed. There are a number of false statements and assumptions above me here.

First, some posters are right that alot of things can, and are, alleged by the police here. But, as I stated before, from watching the "corporate media" I was able to watch firsthand eyewitness accounts of the incident. NOT the police version, NOT the corporate media version, but people like you and me who saw it. They clearly said the guy was running at the cop with a knife.

Second, the weapon was a buttfly knife. Someone above said there was no description posted above. Again, from watching corporate media I clearly saw this. I can't say for sure that the knife wasn't planted, but again I defer to the witnesses who said the victim had one.

You and I and everyone can sit here and armchair quarterback (aka second-guess for non-sports enthusiasts) what the proper cop response should have been. But we weren't in that cop's shoes. They have to make a split second decision of whether they live or die. I'm sorry but if someone is running at me with a knife, I'd do the same thing. Then I'd go home and tell my wife I could have died that day.

I don't like cops, but you people need to realize that sometimes people make the wrong decisions and it's their responsibilty to live with the consequences.

A cop's perspective on tech details and training 24.Nov.2004 10:37

a local (but NON-PDX cop)

About shooting four times: If we ever have to shoot, our training is to shoot multiple times, usually three. The Oregon gun certification we go through is a series of shots in rapid sucession. This is not so much to be brutal as to be effective, as a single shot often will not be well-placed (news flash for you; most cops are not that great of a shot).

About shooting to incapacitate: As most of us are really not super shots, they train us to shoot "center mass." This is not "shoot to kill," but "Shoot for the part of the body you are most likely to hit," basically the largest part of the body. The training is actually "shoot to stop" the target.

About mace and taser: for knife situations like this, a taser would likely work very well, and mace would not work as good but would be worth a shot. But no police officer is trained to disarm a knife-weilding person even after you mace (actually OC spray) them. Even with the gas in their face, it is too dangerous to wrestle with them, they could kill us without even meaning to, just by holding it at a lucky angle. And, our kevlar vests provide no protection from knives at all.

I have no idea about what actually happened here, if it was justified or not, but I just want to say IF a shooting is justified, four shots center mass is a correct way, both for training and common sense. IF a knife is present, wrestling with the guy is NEVER acceptable. In all cases, working from a distance with a taser or OC spray is better, but only if you have them handy (and in the case of OC, only if it WORKS).

This guy was my brothers friend 24.Nov.2004 12:26

TheDirtRoadWarrior

Just a little bit of info for you, not that it really matters, but it does help tell the story a bit more. My brother was good friends with the "suspect". They were drug buddies. This guy had a serious long term heroin habit, so I am told by my drug addict brother. Obviously this could of been a contributing factor as to why he robbed the bank, and possibly could explain why he would act like such an idiot when coppers have their pistols pointed at his dome. As someone who works with law enforcement, and investigators, I have to admit it sounds like this guy was not using his brain. Whether or not the cop should haved fired, I don't know, and neither does anyone who was not present. Yes there are lots of trigger happy cops, but everytime there is a shooting here in Portland, it does not serve the publics best interest to jump on every cop who uses his weapon. Let's learn the facts, and make an educated assesment from there.

Why Invent "Less-Lethal" Weapons... 24.Nov.2004 12:53

Someone who hates cops

Why invent (and invest in) "less-lethal" weapons if not to use them in a situation like this? "Less-lethal" weapons kill less often than guns do (though they do indeed cause fatalities; don't get me wrong).

So, Mike Smith, why not use your fucking taser on this suspect that you think is threatening your life? Tasers are supposed to deliver electric shocks that cause the recipient's muscles to spasm, effectively creating a seizure and preventing the person from continuing to threaten your life. (With luck,the person being tased won't, say, fall to the ground and crack their skull open, or have an electricity-induced heart attack, or otherwise sustain fatal injuries.)

Oh, wait, I remember -- the PPB only uses tasers when they can't actually justify such potentially lethal force! They taser people who are riding their bikes or failing to exit a car rapidly enough.

Well, then, Mike Smith, why not dodge the fucking knife? It is just a knife, and you do have backup. What, too many doughnuts?

Or maybe, Mike, you could try to de-escalate the situation. A knife slash on your arm as you're trying to talk seems like nothing compared to the son, sweetheart, friend, cousin that you killed. Or is your kevlar vest not quite enough protection for your pretty skin?

hey "Someone who hates cops" 24.Nov.2004 16:18

reader

he did not have a taser, he was not issued one. Not all cops get to carry them. Pick a new argument.

Hey IMCistas 24.Nov.2004 17:14

activist info@rosecitycopwatch.org

Hey, IMCistas, why not add Rose City Copwatch to your feature "Copwatch" links?


Portland Police Don't Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt 24.Nov.2004 17:31

Eye Pea Freely

In any case, there is little excuse for executing a suspect of a robbery, period.

Having said that, even assuming that the suspect posed a direct threat to the life of the officer, the Portland Police force has disgraced itself so many times, it is reasonable to assume the worst about its members in any questionable situation. From the several recent unjustifiable murders and subsequent cover-up efforts, to blatant selective enforcement and repression tactics, to the overall lack of professionalism and lack of common courtesy exhibited by the many ignorant bullies and cowards within their ranks, the credibility of those within the ranks is approaching zero.

I feel badly for the relatively few well-intentioned and professional members of the PPD. Your colleagues are putting your safety in a great deal of danger with their behavior.

Fed Up With Dirty Cops 24.Nov.2004 21:23

Reposterizer

Lynchings of Policemen Ignite Outrage at Violence in Mexico
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and GINGER THOMPSON

Published: November 25, 2004

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 24 - This city seemed in a state of shock on Wednesday as people struggled to come to grips with the scenes of lawlessness captured on television as an angry mob lynched two police officers - beating them and burning them alive - while hundreds of officers surrounded the area but failed to intervene...

The violence began Tuesday after students were released from classes at 6 p.m. Three plainclothes police officers were posted outside the school with an unmarked car. Out of nowhere, several mothers began to scream that the officers had kidnapped two children...

The officers were dragged out of their car and beaten. Leaders in the crowd let television reporters talk to two of the officers while they were being beaten. The men desperately tried to identify themselves as undercover police investigating drug dealing in the area, to no avail...

A part of the mob dragged the third officer to a kiosk in the center of the neighborhood and threatened to hang him. But the police managed to rescue him, and he was reported in critical condition at a hospital...

The rumors of a kidnapping later proved false.

"It has become possible to justify lynchings in the name of the disappearance of justice," said Carlos MonsivŠis, a writer who has written extensively on the subject. "One cannot believe that a community, at this late date - that a mob, a lynch mob, of so many people - would live a moment like this as if it were a carnival.".

The killings shook the city. Radio commentators fielded calls from people filled with outrage and disbelief at the slow response by the police. Police officials and politicians did acknowledge that "anarchy" exists in parts of Mexico...

Similar promises, however, have not resulted in arrests in the past. In recent years Mexicans frustrated with crime and corruption often have taken justice into their own hands. There have been at least nine cases of lynching in the last three years...

Authorities said they suspected local drug dealers started the kidnapping rumor to incite violence and stop undercover investigations.

Still, most people in the community blamed the police for the violence.

"If they are going to conduct investigations to find the guilty, they cannot blame anyone but themselves," said Juan Manuel Montealegre, who says he has lived in this community since it was established 20 years ago.

"This just proves the lack of commitment by the police to protect the people, even their own."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/25/international/americas/25mexico.html

regarding this unfortunate incident of yet another 25.Nov.2004 07:38

citizen-killing

has anyone checked into Mike Smith's membership in the Brotherhood of the Strong? Could be a factor???

PPB are criminals, not judges 26.Nov.2004 20:37

Justice

If the Portland Police continue to carry out sentences on our streets, with no trial or due process, then they are loosening the rules which all of the people may feel free to follow. If the Portland Police are trying to advocate curbside justice, then curbside justice will become the law of the land. Who will feel hunted then? What is the citizen/police ratio? Cops are not judges and they have NO RIGHT to sentence someone to death right there on the street with no trial or anything. Any cops out there reading this? Do you cops realize what have started? Do you cops realize that Bush did not renew the assault weapons ban? Do you cops realize how horrified Portlanders are about the crimes you are committing? When you back a population of people into a corner, they will fight back. Make no mistake about that. Look at history. Do you ever wonder how the so-called Iraqi police feel? Well, wonder no longer. Welcome to Fallujah!! It's inevitable. When you start a war, it's only a matter of time before the opposition organizes. James, Perez, and now another unnamed. The police started this one.

PPB Working from One Size Fits All Rules? 28.Nov.2004 01:58

Hawkeye

In confronting/cornering a suspect--even an armed suspect--even an armed suspect, who is cornered and appears prepared to use whatever weapon in hand--the PPB, in this particular case, appear to operate from 'rules of engagement' that specify the only action to be deadly force. The corollary to this, then, is that any other strategy in these kinds of scenarios, for instance not provoking or elevating the sense of hopeless entrapment on the part of the armed suspect--particularly when not armed with a gun or explosive device--that "brings on" the suspect, or that contains the suspect in some manner (cornering and observing from a controlled, but not threatening distance) until a non-lethal means of neutralizing the situation can be applied (like getting a tazer device on scene) is not in the playbook. Or even letting the situation--and adrenaline--devolve. It would appear that the crimped 'rules of engagement' encourage the hyped up security forces to resolve the situation quickly, violently and spectacularly.

Without a more creative--shall we say intelligent--approach to the situations that have lead to the death of unarmed or crudely armed "suspects" by literally curbside trial, sentence and execution in one fell swoop, which is a failure of leadership, the PPB street level cops will continue to fire at will and kill "suspects" and brutelize ornery citizens under the flimsiest of circumstances, as has been going on for the past couple of years. How many of these curbside sentences and executions have involved a suspect whose possession of deadly force was already shown to have been used and overwhelmingly plausibly expected to be used again immediately, wherein shooting to kill was clearly called for?
Instead, we are presented with damage control and treated to convoluted circumstantial situations that are cooked and roasted into "might have" or "could have", or that build post fact cases on some part of the dead "suspects" past prior to the execution.

They need 'rules of engagement' that have more options and better use of all the resources in the PPB. Has there been any thought on rewarding performance wherein the confrontation with a "suspect", even an armed "suspect" was allowed to be contained and the "suspect" apprehended ALIVE?