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Fourth Anniversary Of the Murder of Fouad Kaady

This year marks the fourth anniversary of this horrendous event. The following article is but one account of that murder, at the hands of the Sandy, Oregon police, and Clackamas County, Oregon Sheriff's Office. A full, video account can be seen here :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8WijDe5BhQ
We should take a little time on Tuesday, to remember this case, and to remember Fouad's family and friends, and to remember, THE POLICE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!
Justice has not been accomplished, and likely never will be. So far, the Sandy Police Department, in order to scrape the feces of former Officer William Bergin from their collective shoes, has settled their lawsuit with Fouad's Family for one million dollars. Most of that money, of course, went to the attorneys (The Spence Law Firm), and to cover legal costs, but of course, the suit was never about the money, but an attempt to force recognition that the police have acted very poorly, both in the initial murder, and in the attempts to sweep the killing under the rug under the cover of claiming that the victim was on drugs (he was not), or seriously mentally deranged (being on fire does that to a person). Clackamas County has yet to face the court, as they chose not to settle, which was the preferred outcome, anyway.

Anyone who believes in justice will readily see that it has not happened here, and that no amount of cash award could ever comfort this family, who have lost a loved brother, son, uncle, cousin and loved one. What is desperately needed is recognition by a court of law, that a most heinous act has been committed by those who were charged with protecting and serving us all.

Fouad, we will always remember you, and we reach out with love to your family, in hopes that this will provide some measure of comfort.

To the Officers responsible, and their supervisors, we offer disgust, distrust, and a sincere hope that there is another life beyond this one, where you can atone for your actions, as you can never do enough in this life to make it right..

Fouad Kaady was killed on September 8 2005, by a Clackamas County Sherriff's deputy named David Willard and Sandy police officer William Bergin, despite being unarmed and seriously injured from burns. He had evidently torn his clothes off to escape the flames of a fire in his motor vehicle.

The basic scenario is so outrageous that it has left many people completely appalled. But one thing that hasn't been talked about much is the state of mind of the cops who killed Kaady.

Fouad Kaady was killed on September 8 2005, by a Clackamas County Sherriff's deputy named David Willard and a City of Sandy police officer named William Bergin, despite being unarmed and seriously injured from burns. He had evidently torn his clothes off to escape the flames of a fire in his motor vehicle.

The basic scenario is so outrageous that it has left many people completely appalled. But one thing that hasn't been talked about much is the state of mind of the cops who killed Kaady.

The officers responded to a series of calls reporting a vehicle fire and a number of ensuing hit-and-run collisions, and reports of an irrational, severely injured burn victim running naked from the scene. (See  http://www.sandypost.com/news/story.php?story_id=115654635282841200)

Officers chose to focus on suggestions that the man was "irrational" and -- they surmised -- "on drugs," as a catchall to explain "irrational" behavior, and chose to react by treating Kaady as a "suspect" instead of a citizen in need of urgent assistance.

This initial choice on their part proved disastrous. Even though they observed, by their own admission, that the man was in a "catatonic" state and incapable of following their orders, they proceeded to bark a series of senseless orders at him, including trying to force him to lie on the ground, a totally illogical demand in view of Kaady's burn injuries. When he refused to heed these commands, they immediately escalated to "less lethal" weapons (tasers), and finally, when Kaady attempted to flee, they shot him to death, citing his proximity to an unattended weapon they had left on the hood of their squad car as the reason.

It seems clear that the reports the officers received from witnesses of Kaady's behavior prior to their confrontation with him completely framed their own eventual interactions with him. Over and over again, they cited their fear of coming into physical contact with him, emphasizing that he was "covered in blood." They explicitly described their fear of contracting blood-borne pathogens, which risk they thought was heightened by their assumption that the man "must be a drug user." This fear of coming into physical contact with the man they killed helps explain their rapid escalation to force, and finally lethal force.

When the officers were asked if they could have or should have handled the situation differently or better, they responded "no."

Despite the appalling mistakes committed by the officers, it seems patently unlikely that they were motivated by bloodlust, and wholly believable that they were in fact "afraid," afraid of fantasies concocted in their own imaginations on the strength of partial and partially digested reports from previous eyewitnesses. Out of these reports they concocted a scenario of a "bloody, deranged drug addict," possibly infected with hepatitis or HIV, against whom they had to protect themselves. All of these notions turned out to be totally false.

Based on what we know so far, it would probably be a mistake to paint the officers involved in the killing as being far outside the norm. It is not at all hard to believe that many if not most other officers, faced with the same circumstances, would make the same or similarly appalling errors in judgment. Hence the quick decision by the Grand Jury not to prosecute them. Of course, however, all of this makes the situation MORE APPALLING, not less. Because the odds are that, even were Willard and Bergin cashiered, even prosecuted, the underlying social and cultural assumptions that led the officers to behave as they did would persist unaltered amongst the rest of their colleagues.

Thus, it could be useful for those who know more about the case to explore the ramifications of the state of mind of the officers, their cultural and social backgrounds and assumptions, and how prevalent the same assumptions are amongst their colleagues. Because unless these underlying mental dynamics are challenged and altered, it is inevitable that tragedies like the one that befell Kaady will happen again, if not at the hands of these officers, then by their colleagues.
Posted by Psyche Med at 10:39 PM 4 comments
Labels: Portland Indymedia