Fouad Kaady's Killer "Cleared." Surprise, surprise.
In September, Deputy Dave Willard of the Clackamas County Sheriff's office shot and killed Fouad Kaady in cold blood. He did it, ironically enough, because he did not want to get blood on his hands. Today, he was "cleared" by the Clackamas county board of review. According to Samira Kaady, they did not even have the grace to tell the family. Instead, she learned that her son's killer would be exhonerated from a local news reporter, who called to get her comment. Those who remember the egregious "coverage" this situation received in the corporate media will not be surprised to know that she did not give them a comment. She chose to give indymedia the story instead.
Upon learning of this shocking news, I called the Clackamas County Sheriff's office (CCSO) to find out what their thinking process could possibly be. I spoke to Deputy Wendi Babst, the public relations officer. Although this information will not be publically released
until later this evening, Deputy Wendi Babst, the PIO, stated that CCSO reviewed the incident in which Fouad was killed, and determined that "no policies or procedures were violated." I expressed surprise that someone could approach an unarmed, injured person, bleeding in the street, and taze him repeatedly and then shoot him without violating any policies or procedures. She assured me that Clackamas County policies and procedures do, in fact, allow such an action. (All citizens of Clackamas County be warned.)
Asked whether there would be any changes in policies or procedures, since this points out some very disconcerting problems, she said that there likely would be some changes. She said that the first step in such a review is to determine whether policies were followed, and the next step will be to determine whether any changes can be made. (One would hope.) Asked what they will do to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again, she offered some very revealing insight into how these things work. Said Deputy Babst, the CCSO will likely form a critical incident review board, so that they can "study" incidents like this one. IN addition, they will be ensuring that more officers receive Crisis Intervention Team Training. When I pointed out that Officer Willard had, in fact, already received that training, she conceded that he did. "How, then, do you imagine that this training will prevent another senseless death, if the person who committed this one had the training?" "I'm not going to debate you," she responded. "I'm just gonna tell you that we will have the training." At this point, she made an interesting comment when she called me Cat, and said that she could give me a syllabus from the classes, but that "you will only put it up on indymedia." I found this quite interesting indeed, since I had not told her my name, or mentioned any connection with indymedia. Hmmm. Surprise, surprise.
But she had other changes to propose. She went on to say that they will be instituting training in "vehicle extraction techniques" in order to facilitate removing people from vehicles in a manner less likely to result in deadly force. "But...since Fouad Kaady was not in a vehicle...I'm having difficulty in understanding how this might help prevent another incident such as this one," I replied. Deputy Babst could only respond weakly, "I can only tell you that any type of training will help." Yes, that's what they keep telling us, isn't it.
I asked whether there would be any changes in policy regarding the use of tasers. Deputy Babst said there would not. When I persisted in asking about the use of tasers for compliance on an unarmed, injured person, she told me that the use of tasers is not even being reviewed by CCSO. Inexplicably, she went on to explain, "We use tasers all the time on unarmed people. I can't see how that will change."
Finally, I asked about the "investigation" itself. Would there be any changes in the way an investigation such as this is handled? "In what way," she asked. "Well for one," I wanted to know, "Why was the CCSO allowed to investigate itself? Is this the norm? Might there be any changes in this regard?" She replied that CCSO conducted its own investigation into the conduct of its officers because, "That's the way it's always been done." She went on to say that, "No one 'allows' us or doesn't 'allow' us to conduct our own investigations, we just do." No kidding. Maybe it's time to change that.
At this point, I tried to focus on how the "investigation" was conducted. Specifically, I wanted to know why investigators spent all their time and resources trying to dig up dirt on Fouad Kaady, and none on actually investigating the people who did the shooting. She said they interviewed "all the people they felt were pertinent." She said it was important to talk to all the people who knew Fouad, and who might have known something about his state of mind the day they shot him. "But if I had shot and killed someone," I said, "Wouldn't you be investigating me? You would not be investigating the person I shot, would you?" "Well," She said, "I understand that the investigators asked the officers some very specific questions." She went on to list the types of questions the officers were asked. "Are you saying," I said, "That if I shot someone to death, you would be content to ask me 'some very specific questions,' and that would be it?" "I'm not sure what you're driving at," she said.
I did try to make myself more crystal clear, but it proved more difficult that one would believe. I admit that at this point, I finally lost my temper with her. Unlike corporate media minions (who will undoubtedly be reporting that Willard did nothing wrong this evening), I cannot pretend that I am neutral about this. An officer tortured, then shot and killed an obviously unarmed man, in broad daylight, and had no excuses for himself. Yet, as is usual in these cases, he has been cleared of wrongdoing because he "followed procedures." How fucking frightening is that? And is it a coincidence that this is happeing only days after Scott McCollister, killer of Kendra James, was cleared and granted back pay and benefits? How much more evidence do we need that they are not on our side.
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