In an article from today's (February 18, 2006) Oregonian, Joseph Rose writes about Charles Porter,a man in Springfield who, frustrated by the clearing of a police officer who killed his son, allegedly hired a hit man to kill that officer. I want to say up front that I do not condone killings of any kind, and murder is murder no matter what the motivation, but this is what can come of a system that straight-arms citizens. I have witnessed the frustration and pain caused by the results of a grand jury investigation and an "internal investigation" subsequent to the killing of Fouad Kaady on September 8, 2005. There is no connection between the Kaady case and Charles Porter, except the wrongful death of a son and the unconditional clearing of the killers.
What happens when a closed system investigates itself? Victims are left in the cold, hurt and angry and unable to find answers to their anguished questions. Doors are closed to them and they are expected to accept the results of those investigations without further "bother". This is just not working. Those of us who have read the reports and seen the pictures regarding the Kaady case are still very angry, still full of questions and some of us can even understand the reasons why Charles Porter was driven to his desperate act. This is tragic. This is not necessary. There has to be a better way of investigating questionable shootings, such as those committed against unarmed citizens.
Porter's lawyers stated, "We don't need to have an eye for an eye. We have the courts." Would that were true. Most of us have lost faith in "the system". We have seen first hand what has happened and is still happening to the Kaady family. How many other families are suffering in the aftermath of bad decisions made by those we hoped were hired to protect and serve? Kendra James comes to mind. There is a long list.
Some concerned citizens attended the Clackamas County Commissioners' meeting on Thursday and asked that a citizens review board be formed. That seems like a place to begin. It would at the very least, allow for formal conversations between law enforcement and citizens. Perhaps discussions about policies and training would benefit both groups. The suggestion seems to have fallen on deaf ears at this time, but we will keep asking.