More Details Expected By Tomorrow Afternoon
Note: This post has been updated. Any and all updates appear at the end of the original post.
For the current Portland Police Bureau information, what follows is the notice which came in at the top of the hour from public information officer Cheryl Robinson:
On Sunday, March 28, 2004, at 5:07 p.m., a North Precinct uniform patrol officer and his partner initiated a routine car stop on a white, 4-door Mitsubishi.
The vehicle pulled into the parking lot of a market located on the SW corner of N. Fessenden and North Burr.� There was one person in the vehicle when officers made contact with the driver.
Details are not known yet as we are still conducting interviews and processing the crime scene.� At some point during contact with the vehicle's driver, one officer fired multiple shots, striking the driver.� Medical personnel pronounced the driver, a 28-year-old black male, dead at the scene.� The driver was the only person in the vehicle when officers made contact.
The name of the deceased is not being released pending official identification by the Medical Examiner.
This will be the final update for tonight.� At this time, the Chief plans to meet with investigator's tomorrow to determine what information is available to be released.� He will then be available to meet with media to answer questions.� This will probably be sometime early afternoon on Monday, March 29th, 2004.� Information on the involved officer will be provided at that time.
News coverage showed a strong crowd gathered outside of the police tape which had cordoned off the area, including friends and family of the man who was shot. One man from the crowd at one point crossed the tape, apparently demanding answers from the police, and was taken to the ground and arrested.
One alleged witness interviewed on KATU's last-night newscast claimed that once the incident was underway and the police officers had the car door open, one officer knocked the driver's head against the steering wheel and ordered him out of the car. According to this witness, when the man at that point reached to undo his seatbelt, the officer opened fire into the vehicle.
We don't pass along this one witnesses claims to argue they are accurate. There was no indication as to where this witness was standing at the time, and it's just as possible, from the limited information available this early in the investigation, that the man was reaching for a weapon and not to undo his seatbelt.
However, we do pass it along because if this turns out to the case, we're in for another long stretch controversy over an officer-involved shooting. Yes, that's going to happen anyway. But if this turns out to be a shooting as a result of someone reaching to undo his seatbelt in order to comply with an order to exit the vehicle, this is going to get very messy.
Meanwhile, the news reports indicate that the two officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, and Chief Derrick Foxworth was on the scene about one hour after it occurred.
According to breaking news from KGW, presumably from the news conference I was unable to make, the preliminary investigation reports that the man who was shot was, in fact, unarmed.