Yet Another Unnecessary Death

So far we have only the police story, which goes as follows.

May 10, 2017 23:10
The Portland Police Bureau and East County Major Crimes Team are in the early stages of an officer-involved shooting investigation that occurred early Wednesday evening. No officers were injured in the encounter that left one person deceased.

On Wednesday May 10, 2017, at 7:03 p.m., a caller to 9-1-1 reported that a male in his 20s was threatening people on the TriMet Flavel Street Transit Station. Transit Police Division officers responded to the scene and shortly after arriving were involved in a foot pursuit with the suspect. During the foot pursuit, which led onto a bridge over Johnson Creek on the north side of Flavel Street, there was an encounter with the suspect and one officer discharged his firearm, striking the suspect who fell to the ground.

A cropped photograph of Terrell Johnson, whom the Portland police shot and killed, alleging he was armed with a knife. I do not know why my effort to cut-and-paste produced a cropped image. Sorry.

The Oregonian story repeats this (lack of) information, almost word for word.

Update 11 May 2017, 7:30 pm

From Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch, we have the following, citing an update of a Portland Mercury story:

the Portland Mercury’s article which reports both on another shooting that happened this morning– of a pit bull, who lived– and the names of the officer (Samson Ajir #50621) and civilian (Terrell Kyreem Johnson) who were involved in last night’s shooting. Johnson was 24 years old and houseless, and was perhaps living with mental illness. Johnson allegedly “displayed” a utility knife, which does not sound threatening, and even if so, perhaps this is the kind of situation a Taser was created for? The number of people with mental illness and/or in crisis who’ve been shot by the PPB is too great to count, but here’s a short list of persons who were houseless shot and killed by the police and their alleged weapons since 2010:
–Jack Dale Collins, 58 3/22/10, art knife (Xacto blade)
–Thomas Higginbotham, 67, 1/2/11, knife
–Merle Hatch, 50, 2/17/13, broken receiver from a telephone
–Nicholas Davis, 23, 6/12/14, crowbar
–Christopher Healy, 36, 3/22/15, knife
–Terrell Kyreem Johnson, 24, 5/10/17, utility knife

The statement, as Mr Handleman points out, speaks of the display of a utility knife, which, Mr Handelman then personally regards as not sounding threatening.

That’s part of my irritation with Portland Copwatch and Mr Handelman — I really find the death of a homeless man armed with a utility knife to be totally unjustifiable rather than something the police should have used a taser for. I expect the police to surround, restrain, and disarm a mentally challenged suspect who is armed with a utility knife, and not kill him. The death of a suspect in such circumstances ought to result in the termination of the employment of the officer involved.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
This entry was posted in Dan Handelman, Fascism, Inequality, John Schweibert, Local government, Police, U.S. Constitution. Bookmark the permalink.

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