Police shooting provokes reviews communitywide
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
James' death reverberates for senators, city officials, attorneys, police and FBI
Although the grand jury has completed its investigation into the Kendra James shooting, a number of other reviews are either under way or in the works. They are:
FBI civil rights investigation: At the request of Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker, the FBI has launched a preliminary investigation into whether James' civil rights were violated. The results will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will then decide whether to initiate a federal civil rights lawsuit. Oregon FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele could not predict when the investigation would conclude.
Portland Police Bureau administrative review: The bureau's criminal investigation into the shooting ended on May 19 when the Multnomah County grand jury decided not to indict officer Scott McCollister for shooting James. Now bureau officials have launched an internal review into whether any rules, policies or procedures were violated during the stop and shooting. Serious violations would be referred to the Internal Affairs Division for investigation. Recommendations including discipline for the officers would be forwarded to Kroeker.
Special police review: In addition to the administrative review, Kroeker has asked for a 'top to bottom review' of all institutional practices that could have affected the incident, including recruitment and training policies and the overall culture of the bureau. It is being overseen by Assistant Chief Lynnae Berg.
Mayor's community review: Portland Mayor Vera Katz has promised to hold a public forum on the shooting. The exact date and format have yet to be set. Press aide Tommy Brooks said Katz will invite people to speak at the forum, including representatives from the black community and the criminal justice system. According to Brooks, a major goal of the forum will be to ensure that everyone hears the same information about the incident.
Civil wrongful death lawsuit: James' family is planning to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Portland over the shooting, according to its attorney, Ken Walker.
Legislative reviews: Two Northeast Portland area Democratic state senators want the Oregon Legislature to review numerous issues raised by the shooting. Avel Gordly and Margaret Carter say the issues include whether grand jury proceedings should be reviewed by the public and whether to further limit the use of 'deadly physical force' by law enforcement officers. Current state law allows law enforcement officers to use deadly force under a variety of conditions, but it does not specifically address such issues as shooting at or within a moving vehicle. Gordly wants the review to take place between this and the next session of the Legislature.