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NEWS: Oregon reaches annual average of 25 officer deadly force incidents in September

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2019

Oregon's Law Enforcement Deadly Force Incidents Reach Average
Annual Number in September

Local police accountability group Portland Copwatch (PCW) expressed
outrage today that Oregon has surpassed 25 deadly force incidents
involving law enforcement in just the first 9 months of 2019-- a
figure that represents the average annual number of such incidents. PCW
has been tracking the statewide incidents since 2010, giving nearly a
full decade of data on what is now 257 incidents. The most recent
incidents occurred late on Friday Sept. 27 involving Yamhill County
Deputies firing a gun and likely missing two suspects in a car,*-1 and
Saturday Sept. 28 involving a man who died after a struggle with Salem
Police.*-2 These bring the total to 26 so far in 2019.

PCW expressed great concerns in 2018 when the total eventually amounted
to 35 incidents in one year. "I suppose we should be thankful that the
deadly force cases reached 25 in September this year rather than July,
as in 2018," said Dan Handelman, a founding member of the group. "But in
our opinion, one deadly force incident is too many."

While the Portland Police have been responsible for five shootings (19%
of the incidents), Oregon State Police and Clackamas Deputies have been
involved in four, Hillsboro and Eugene Police in two, and various
other agencies-- including the Vancouver WA Police-- in at least one
incident. Several incidents involved multiple agencies. 14 of the 25
suspects died as a result of police action, while another two reportedly
died at their own hand after police shot them.

"After Portland was promised a police agency that uses less force,
especially against people with mental health issues, the number of such
shootings has been going up," added Handelman. "We've tried to alert the
Attorney General to what is a statewide problem but haven't gotten any
satisfactory response."

In December 2016, the Attorney General set up an online reporting
mechanism for deaths caused by Oregon law enforcement, but it is only
used sporadically. The data, required by a 2007 bill known as SB 111,
continue to be inadequate with narratives favoring the police point of
view. In 2018 and 2019, when a total of 33 people have died, only 10
entries have been made in the database. To its credit, the Portland
Police Bureau posted seven of those-- but this also means the PPB was
responsible for at least seven deaths. (PPB officers appear to have
played a significant role in the in-custody death of Richard Barry in
November 2018 but neither they nor the PSU Campus Police have listed
that incident on line.)*-3

PCW's full database of the 2010-2019 incidents can be found at
 http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/ORshootings2010-19a.pdf .

The state database can be found at
 https://justice.oregon.gov/deathincident/home/search .

For more information contact Portland Copwatch at 503-236-3065 (call
or text) or  copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org .

*1- https://www.kptv.com/news/police-shot-fired-after-deputy-almost-hit-by-driver-in/article_b098f530-e22c-11e9-a869-df975a16c92a.html

*2- https://www.koin.com/news/salem/salem-man-dies-in-police-custody/

*3- https://thepacificsentinel.com/richard-barry-chronicle-of-a-death-as-told/

Portland Copwatch
(a project of Peace and Justice Works)
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
503-236-3065 (office- call or text)
503-321-5120 (incident report line)

homepage: homepage: http://www.portlandcopwatch.org