The Associated Press
PORTLAND - Preliminary investigations show that a 28-year-old black man shot by Portland police after a routine traffic stop was unarmed, Portland police Chief Derrick Foxworth said Monday.
It was the second time in a year that Portland police have shot and killed an unarmed black person after a traffic stop. A May 5 incident ended with the death of 21-year-old Kendra James.
Her death touched off an intense round of criticism of the city's police force, and was broadly seen as a factor in the resignation of former police chief Mark Kroeker.
In Sunday night's encounter, officers Jason Sery and Seacn Macomber pulled over James Perez shortly after 5 p.m. for failing to use his turn signal 100 feet before making a turn.
Perez told the officers he did not have a driver's license, Foxworth said, and resisted subsequent arrest.
"Officer Macomber came into physical contact with Mr. Perez in an effort to take him into custody," Foxworth said. "During the struggle, the other officer, Officer Sery, fired multiple shots at Perez, striking him in the mid-body area."
From the time of the traffic stop until the shooting, only a "very short time" elapsed, Foxworth said. He did not say how long.
Perez lived near the parking lot where he died, and relatives, including his mother, made their way to the scene withing minutes, said Margaret Carter, an Oregon state senator who attended the police briefing Monday.
"He was right down the street from his home and his mother was there," she said. "She was just blown away feeling that he had not done anything to deserve this."
Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. Sery will be interviewed by homicide detectives Monday afternoon, Foxworth said.
Foxworth said that at some point during the encounter, officers also fired a stun gun.
Foxworth said a preliminary search of the car did not turn up any weapons. A more thorough search was planned, he said. The case remains under investigation.
James' family has filed a $10 million wrongful death suit over the shooting. Officer Scott McCollister, who fired the fatal shot (Last May?), was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury but suspended without pay for 5 1/2 months.
In another article in the Oregonian, it stated that the shots were fired as Macomber was pulling Perez out of the car.
This raises the question, of just how far do things go, before the cops pull the gun? What sort of retaliation does an unarmed man have to provide, for a cop to fire three slugs in his chest?
Another point raised, is whether someone under this type of investigation should be placed under paid leave or not?
This whole story just made my jaw drop, and I'm surprised nobody else has picked up on it.