Glenn family asks for public inquest
- Barbara Sherman
- The Times - News
Attorney has not received a response to his request to look into the Sept. 16 shooting of Tigard graduate Lukus Glenn, 18
An attorney representing Hope and Brad Glenn, the parents of Lukus Glenn who was killed by Washington County sheriff's deputies Sept. 16, will hold a press conference this morning to call for a public inquest into the shooting.
Attorney Michael Cox, appearing at 11 a.m. the Lake Side Plaza in Lake Oswego, plans to renew his request after failing to get any response to letters asking for an inquest sent two weeks ago to Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen and the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
Around 3 a.m. Sept. 16, Hope Glenn called 911 after a drunken Lukus grabbed a knife and became violent and suicidal despite the best efforts of family and friends to subdue him.
Soon after, Tigard police officer Andrew Pastore, 29, arrived along with Washington County sheriff's deputies Mikhail Gerba, 27, and Timothy Mateski, 26. They kept demanding that Lukus drop a knife he was holding while Pastore fired beanbags at Luke and the two deputies fired the fatal shots.
Following an investigation into the incident, Washington County Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Bletko announced Oct. 11 that the shooting of Lukus, 'while tragic, was legally justified.'
He added, 'There is no good reason to believe that the deputies committed a crime, and therefore, a grand jury review in this case is not warranted.'
Cox, who is working on the case with attorney Larry Peterson, explained that any government body can do its own investigation, which is why they want the city or the county to conduct a public inquest.
'It would be transparent and open to the public,' Cox said. 'Grand juries work in secret, so even if one was convened, I don't think that would have settled the issue. We would have still asked for a public inquest.
'The public should see all the information. The public should have some say in the procedures and policies being used.'
Cox, who is with the Portland firm of Spaulding Cox and Schaeffer, said that he also wants a public inquest because the district attorney's decision was based on inaccurate information.
'The response to the whole thing has been inadequate from the beginning when the call was made to the end,' he said. 'The DA took inaccurate statements and put them in the report.'
The 911 tape of the incident, which lasted under four minutes from the time the deputies arrived until Lukus was dead, speaks for itself, Cox said.
For instance, the official report states that there was a gap between the shooting of the beanbags and the lethal fire, but Cox contends that Pastore's sixth beanbag round was drowned out by the firing of the deputies' guns and there was not enough time for him to reload.
'I think (the deputies) didn't know the shots were recorded on tape,' said Cox, who estimates that he has listened to the 9-1-1 recording at least 20 to 30 times. 'I don't want to say they lied, but you can count the beanbags being fired and then hear that barrage of fire. (The deputies) fired 11 shots. There was no way there was a gap between the beanbag rounds and the shots.'
According to Gerba's statement, there was a lengthy gap between the shooting of the beanbags and the guns. 'He puts in a minute or more of activity,' Cox said. 'My jaw dropped when I read his description of the incident.'
In addition, Cox questions why other non-lethal tactics were not used against Lukus, who was standing in front of his family home in Metzger.
Tasers, which stun people when fired, are only accurate up to about 21 feet, but all three officers were no more than 15 feet from Lukus, Cox said.
'The (Tigard officer) could have used a taser,' he said. 'They should have considered using a taser before shooting their guns. Why wasn't a taser used? The deputies didn't have tasers but the Tigard officer did.'
Cox maintains that the deputies were poorly trained and had no crisis-intervention training.
'They had no non-lethal equipment with them,' he said. 'Pastore did but didn't use it.'
Furthermore, Cox feels that the officers' first responsibility was to secure the family, which also included Hope's mother Delores.
'The deputies should have gone to the front door or sent an officer around to the back door to secure the house,' he said. 'Instead they fired their guns. Three bullets went into the grandmother's section of the house.
'Lukus Glenn stayed in the same spot until he was hit with the beanbags. Our contention is that the use of the beanbags forced him to step backwards, and then (the deputies) used that as justification to shoot him. You would think that the officer shooting the beanbags would have done it in a way to force Luke away from the house, not toward it.'
Cox also faults the officers for not calling for a canine unit, not donning shields to protect themselves from the knife Luke was holding or not using pepper spray.
'They didn't use any of them,' Cox said. 'We believe a different approach should have been used. What happened was wrong from every direction. There was no coordination between the deputies and the police officer.
'We will press for a public inquest. We hope the city or county will do the right thing and look into policies and practices used by law enforcement.'
As for the possibility of filing a civil suit, Cox said it is premature to consider taking that route.
'We are still gathering information,' he said. 'We're a long way from reaching that decision. Now we need a public inquest to find out exactly what happened and to restore people's faith in the 911 system. They must feel secure that trained professionals will respond when they call.'