Adams, Reese apologize to police shooting victim
Investigation under way to learn how lethal and less lethal shotgun rounds were mixed up
Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese have publicly apologized to the 20-year-old man shot during a foot chase Thursday and his family.
William Kyle Monroe is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. He was shot in the hip by five 32-caliber shotgun pellets.
Reese said 15-year veteran officer Dane Reister believed the shotgun he was carrying was loaded with less lethal beanbag rounds designed to subdue a person, not to kill.
'This was a terrible mistake that should not have happened,' Reese told reporters Friday afternoon.
During Friday's press conference, police bureau Training Commander Bob Day displayed lethal and less lethal versions of the shotguns used by Portland police. Although they are the same Remington model, the lethal one is flat black while the stock and pump grip of the less lethal one is bright orange. The words 'less lethal' appear in large letters on the stock of the less lethal shotgun.
According to Day, lethal rounds should never be loaded into the less lethal shotguns, even during practice fire sessions.
During Thursday's chase, Reister apparently fired four lethal shotgun rounds at Monroe. It is not clear whether all of the pellets that struck him came from the same round, Day said.
Reister was certified to use less lethal shotguns in 2002 and has been re-certified three times a year since then. He has been placed on paid administrative leave during an internal investigation into the shooting, which is standard practice.
Man had a knife
The incident happened a few weeks after the FBI announced that it had launched an investigation into the use of force by Portland police officers, especially during confrontations with mentally ill people. Reese said he knows little about Monroe because he apparently had no previous contacts with the bureau or officers.
According to Reese, the incident began at 9:55 a.m. Thursday when the 9-1-1 dispatch center received a call that a man was behaving strangely around children at a camp in Lair Hill Park, 3037 S.W. Second Ave. Reese said the caller used terms like 'harassing' and 'intimidating' the children.
As police were on their way to the park, another call came in that said the man had a pocket knife concealed in the sleeve of his shirt.
Police found the man, later identified as Monroe, a few blocks east of the park at Southwest Pennoyer and Naito Parkway. He fled west toward Barbur Boulevard.
When officers ordered Monroe to stop, he refused. At some point, Reister fired at him with what he believed were less lethal beanbag rounds. Officers did not realize Monroe had been hit with potentially lethal pellets until they approached him on the ground, at which time they called for medical help.
Reese said officers recovered a knife at the scene.
Other officers involved in the incident included 19-year veteran Stuart Palmiter and 25-year veteran Dean Halley.
Union stands behind officer
Day said officers certified to carry less lethal shotguns are issued unloaded ones from a bureau armory at the beginning of each shift. The officers are supposed to load the guns after they have been placed in racks in their cars. If the guns are not used, they are returned to the armory at the end of the shift.
Day showed reporters three different shotgun rounds used by the police - two lethal rounds and one less lethal rounds. The lethal ones have casings that either blue or red. The less lethal round has a transparent casing and the yellow beanbag is clearly visible in it.
Reese said he has talked to Reister, who feels terrible about what happened. Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner issued a statement saying the police union was supporting Reister.
Reese did not say when an internal investigation would be completed or what discipline Reister might face.