Posts Tagged ‘grand jury’
Below are quick links to key points in the detailed narrative. The aim of the blogs is to give as detailed and as accurate review of what is known about the killing… pointing to anomalies and contradictions as well as raising key questions. As new information comes to light the blogs are updated as appropriate.
THE Taurus Millenium PT111 semi-automatic allegedly used by Keaton Otis to shoot a cop fired rounds with copper, gold-colored casings. The Glock-17 semi-automatics used by the police shooters of Keaton Otis fired rounds with silver casings.
After the shooting, detectives collected 32 silver casings. Each was carefully recorded in the crime scene before the car was towed nine hours after the shooting.
No gold casings were found.
There were none found in the Corolla from which Keaton Otis allegedly fired twice. There were none found in the road, on the pavement or the gutter next to the car in hours of painstaking searching.
Two days later detectives again searched the Corolla at the PPB’s Rivergate Vehicle Storage. They found one brass-colored casing.
Detective Kammerer wrote in his report: “We also located one brass-colored 9mm shell casing which was inconsistent in appearance to Portland Police Bureau issued ammunition. I believed this shell casing to have been ejected from the gun fired by Keaton Otis.”
Four days later the detectives returned to the vehicle storage to search again for the second casing. “Detective Slater and I removed the front seats and disassembled the dashboard area in order to access the venting system inside the vehicle in an attempt to locate a second shell casing. Despite extensive efforts, we were unable to locate an additional shell casing inside the vehicle,” wrote Detective Kammerer.
No evidence was presented to the Grand Jury to indicate the shell casing had, in fact, been ejected from the Taurus.
A close examination of the publicly-available police documents and live video of the shooting raises further serious doubt that Keaton Otis had a gun and fired it at officers.
❏ None of the independent witnesses to the shooting report seeing Keaton Otis fire a gun.
❏ The officers of HEAT say Keaton Otis, after being tazed by three officers, leaned across the Corolla from the front seat to the car’s glove compartment. He pulled out a purple Crown Royal bag. Moving over to the passenger seat, squirming to put his back against the passenger door, Keaton Otis then fired two shots from the gun inside the bag… hitting Officer Burley, who said he was at least 10 feet away from the car, in each thigh.
Crown Royal bags featured prominently at the Grand Jury, in lurid descriptions about how they are used by gangsters to stash their drugs. But the Crown Royal bag from which Keaton Otis allegedly fired did not appear.
And no evidence was presented to show that it had been tested for either gun or drug residues. No evidence was presented to show Keaton Otis had ever touched it.
Although they were firing at Keaton Otis from a range of as close as 3 feet — according to one of the shooters — none of the shooters saw the gun or could describe it.
Indeed, they say they not only did not see it, they all quite specifically deny ever seeing the gun as they describe facing Keaton Otis’s alleged shots.
And none report seeing it on the driver’s seat as they looked down on Keaton Otis’s prostrate body inside the Corolla. So, none of them could describe the gun.
Officer Foote shouted, “gun!” Officer Polas told Detective Kammerer. Polas, p17
But Officer Foote, looking in through the driver’s-side window as Keaton Otis allegedly reached across the car, says he never saw a gun and he heard another officer shout “gun”.Foote, p14/18
Officer DeFrain, who says he saw Keaton Otis lean over to get the gun before firing 15 shots at Keaton Otis, only saw the explosions from a gun. He didn’t see a gun he said later. DeFrain, p37
Officer Cody Berne, who fired 11 shots that day down at a prostrate Keaton Otis, also denies seeing the gun or a muzzle flash, only a hand and an arm outstretched as if holding a gun. Berne p28
Officer Andy Polas, who fired six shots, told detectives, “I did not see a gun in his hand.” Polas, p24
Officer Pat Murphy fired the taser, through the passenger-side rear window, which most likely hit Keaton Otis across the neck. Asked, at the Grand Jury, if he ever saw a gun he replied, “I did not”. Grand Jury, p215, line 25
Only HEAT’s sergeant, Don Livingston, standing at the driver’s-side door and holding a taser, says he did see a gun, but his description is ambiguous and vague Livingston, p18. “He’s holding the gun — He’s pointing it in our direction. From where I’m standing I can see that it’s pointed not at me, but it’s pointed more towards where Officer DeFrain is standing… at that point I realized I’ve got something in my hand that is not adequate… I throw it to the ground… I’m gonna use my engine block as cover, I’m gonna draw my gun.”
He adds: “I didn’t see a muzzle flash, but I saw his wrist break back after, when I heard the shot, I saw his wrist crack back at the same time, consistent with recoil after you shoot a gun. And that’s what I saw twice coming out of the vehicle.” Livingston, p19
At the Grand Jury Sergeant Livingston describes seeing the gun come out of the driver’s-side window: “The next thing I know is, I see — I don’t see how it happened or where he got it, if he had it in his hands before — I see a gun come up over the top of the window above the door. It looks like it’s still inside the vehicle, itself.
“And it’s pointing — I’m standing next to Jim. It looks like it’s pointing right at Jim. I’m standing close to the car, but Jim is standing to my right. I look at the angle of the gun, and I think it’s pointed at Jim.” Grand Jury, p79, lines 19-25
So, lying on his back, hunched up against the passenger door, with the claws of at least one tazer embedded in his right forearm, Keaton Otis pulls out a Crown Royal bag from the glove compartment and fires the gun twice out of the driver-side window down at Officer Burley’s thighs. And hits him twice. That is the claim of the officers.
No evidence was presented to the Grand Jury to indicate that Keaton Otis had any gun-shot or drug residues on his hands or his body.
❏ The injuries to Keaton Otis as recorded at the autopsy and detective reports do not make comfortable reading. But they do raise questions about where he was in the car as he was shot.
According to the officers, Keaton Otis was lying across the front passenger seat with his back to the passenger door firing the gun with his arm outstretched. Keaton Otis was right-handed. His right arm had tazer claws embedded in it.
But many of the shots hit him in the left of his body.
Keaton Otis’s father, who viewed his son’s body, says his son suffered many shots to hands and forearms, particularly the left arm. He is convinced his son had his hands up as the officers opened fire. The video records him shouting, “I have my hands up”.
Detective Madden in his “word picture” of the crime scene describes “many injuries to the left hand, wrist and lower arm”. He raises the question that these injuries were “possible defensive wounds”.
“When the ME presented the left hand for viewing, there were several, perhaps as many as six wounds visible that were apparent gunshot wounds. The left wrist was noticeably swollen and possibly broken. It could not be determined at the scene what were entrance, exit and/or possible defensive wounds.” Detective reports, p49
Dr Karen Gunson, in her autopsy, recorded all the gunshot wounds to Keaton Otis.
Of the 23 wounds, 15 were to Keaton Otis’s left side. Two hit Keaton Otis in the left arm plus five in left wrist and left hand.
The shot that was fatal, entered his left chest, passed through the left lung, the pericardial sac, transected the pulmonary artery and aorta before coming to rest in the right shoulder.
Was Keaton Otis lying withhis back when he was shot? Or, was he sitting in the driver’s seat with his hands up?
❏ If, as the officers say, Keaton Otis was firing at them with his arm outstretched it seems, at best, odd that when he dropped the gun as he was shot it should land perfectly on the driver’s seat, and not on the floor.
❏ The Taurus Millenium PT111 allegedly used by Keaton Otis had been stolen four years earlier.
It was traced to an elderly gentleman, a Mr Heinz, who had purchased it in 2004. In April 2006 Mr Heinz reported a burglary where other firearms were stolen from his Gresham home along with his car.
The semi-auto was not one of the firearms reported as stolen. Mr Heinz told investigators he believed the gun had been in the stolen vehicle, but he had not realized this at the time of the burglary. He had never reported the gun as stolen.
It came to light again after four years on the evening of Wednesday 12 May 2010.
After all the mayhem, it was discovered by investigating detectives sitting on the driver’s seat of the Toyota and labelled exhibit #67 at just after 7:30pm.
The gun was a Taurus Millenium PT111, 9mm Luger calibre, double-action, semi-automatic, serial number TVK95611.
To fire it first time, you need to pull back the slide and manually cock the gun. To fire the gun you need to manually pull the trigger each and every time. This, it is alleged, Keaton Otis did while a tazer was embedded in his right forearm.
Where had the gun been in the previous four years during which the owner, responsible for this lethal weapon, irresponsibly simply forgot all about it? Had the car thieves found the gun? Had Mr Heinz’s car been recovered? If so, when, by whom? Had they found the unreported stolen Taurus? Had a rogue police officer found the gun and kept it for just such a day as Wednesday 12 May 2010?
If Keaton Otis did not have possession of the gun, then how did it get into the Corolla? There is an alternative scenario that, at least, raises more doubts and questions.
Officers Dale and Dauchy who earlier that day had been with the HEAT officers in their informal HQ at nearby Starbucks were among the first to arrive on the scene after the shooting. A coterie of some of Portland’s most violent officers converged quickly on the crime scene.
They were very anxious to reverse a call made by Sergeant Livingston to the PPB’s Strategic Emergency Response Team, SERT.
After minutes of seeming confusion, the bizaare beanbagging of Keaton Otis’s body seems to be staged with the sole aim of providing the reason to keep SERT officers away from the crime scene.
On their arrival, SERT officers would have undoubtedly taken over control of the entire scene. Officers like Shaw, Delenikos and Dauchy — all close associates of the HEAT officers — would have been moved to one side and away from car, the body of Keaton Otis and influence over the post-shooting events.
In 2005 Officer Shaw had been one of three officers involved in the shooting of a homeless African American, Vernon Allen. Later in 2010, Officers Delenikos and Shaw will beat and taser a young black student to unconsciousness.
A minute after the beanbagging — a complete farce, had it not been so cruel — the call to SERT is cancelled.
Officers Shaw and Delenikos took control of the inner-perimeter of the crime scene, controlling who came in and and who went out. And then someone closes the rear door of the Corolla… after leaning in.
The sequence of pictures from the video (right, top to bottom) show the first officer starting his walk with the Corolla passenger door open, the first officer returning from the center of Halsey as the second officer walks while the door closes behind him, and, finally, both officers returning together to the group with the passenger door now closed.
An officer strides out from the middle of the crowd gathered around the body and boldly and purposefully walks towards NE Halsey and out into the middle of the road where he seems to talk into his shoulder radio.
Ten seconds after he breaks away, a second officer also starts to walk towards Halsey. In about 20 seconds the first has turned around and the two have met on the corner of Halsey, seemingly exchanging brief words and returning back into the gathering of officers around the body of Keaton Otis.
The sequence is clearly visible on the video — between 6:20 minutes in and 6:50 minutes in. Before the officer starts his walk to the middle of Halsey, the passenger door of the Corolla is clearly open. By the time the two officers return, the door is closed.
While the two officers are taking their walk, at just before 6:30 minutes into the video, a shadow appears to move from the group to behind the Corolla’s passenger door, bend over and look or reach into the car.
At 6:31 the door closes.
Is all this significant? Is there an obvious explanation? Probably. Maybe not.
Or, is it interfering with a crime scene? Are the officers trying to divert the attention of the person recording the video or are they calling up medical? Do the officers even know they are being recorded? Is the officer approaching the car just curious, or taking an opportune moment? Is the door closed to make moving around easier?
Or, is this when the gun Keaton Otis allegedly used arrives on scene and is placed on the front seat to be found an hour later?
One would hope that such an outrageous suggestion would be out of order. But this was Portland and the PPB, 2010, in the wake of Aaron Campbell, and officers of the likes of Frashour, Chris Humphreys, suspended for beanbagging a 12-year-old girl along with Officer Aaron Dauchy and marches by hundreds of PPB officers defending their right to terrorize the people of Portland as of right, without question.
So, if there is serious doubt that Keaton Otis had a gun and shot Officer Chris Burley, who else could have shot Officer Burley? Perhaps Officer Burley shot himself.
The issue is, there are just too many questions, too many doubts about the killing of Keaton Otis.
Now is the time for a full, rigorous and transparent investigation by a credible, respected and independent authority… which will not accept the brush offs of the chief of police and his PPB, which will ask the questions the investigating detectives never asked and which will turn over stones the PPB was more than happy to leave undisturbed.
The good officers of the PPB deserve better, they need to be rid of the rogues. The good people of Portland deserve a police in which they can have trust and no longer fear.
STRIP AWAY all the many words describing what happened and why in the minutes up to the shooting of Keaton Otis, and focus on what was seen, recorded and factually checked since. What’s left is the public killing of a young black man — seemingly picked at random — by a gang of Portland police officers.
Stripped bare of the narratives of events on Wednesday 12 May 2010, what happened should have meant that the officers were put on trial for an horrendous crime.
But they weren’t. And they are still patrolling the streets of Portland.
The words and narratives, the innuendos, spun in the hours and days after the killing, succeeded… for the officers, for the Portland Police Bureau, for the institutions of Portland’s political establishment.
At the Grand Jury it was the dead Keaton Otis who was on trial, not the officers who were allowed — encouraged even — to expand at length on the lurid, irrelevant, details of their story, their “false narrative”.
Keaton Otis was found to be guilty. The officers were exonerated… as was the institution of the Portland Police Bureau.
That false narrative has been forgotten, dismissed. But there remains a second narrative, to guard against reference to the first story spun in the those first hours and days: It was the community, not the police, who let Keaton Otis down.
Both narratives need exposing.
What was the first false narrative, and why did it work so successfully? (For a full review of officer statements click here). It is that narrative that let the HEAT officers, and their superiors and Portland’s political establishment — in its widest sense — off the hook.
A false narrative need have no link whatsoever to any truth. Facts have nothing to do with false narratives. They are about giving the base supporters a more palatable reason for their support, other than simple prejudice.
The false narrative of the officers of Portland’s Hotspot Enforcement Action Team — HEAT — of the killing of Keaton Otis did not and does not stand up to scrutiny. We know that because no one ever mentions its web of lies any longer, not even the officers.
And when the Department of Justice came to examine the record of Portland Police Bureau and its violent interactions with the people of Portland, its parameters and range of dates were carefully written to avoid taking on the case of Keaton Otis and the false narrative, the most outrageous example of Portland police violence against black people.
There is no doubt many in the Portland Police Bureau — apart from the gang of seven and their associates who aided and abetted the immediate on-scene cover-up — know the truth of what happened that evening. There are many concentric circles of those complicit-after-the-fact in the killing.
The gang and their supporters needed the false narrative to avoid having to pay for their crime. But there were many others who needed the false narrative.
The police bureau and the city’s political leadership — in its widest sense, of not just elected officials but also the city’s elaborate web of interests and influence — needed the false narrative to avoid the bureau being blown apart if the horrendous truth became apparent.
The DA and the members of the Grand Jury needed the false narrative to allow the Grand Jury not to need to probe for real justice, as the DA’s office and Grand Juries had done repeatedly and consistently when faced with cases of Portland police officers who have committed gross violence.
The dominant white culture of Portland needed the false narrative to rebuild its sense of normalcy, that police are good and blacks — particularly young black men — belong to the other outside group.
But the false narrative was so weak, untenable, it could only be sustained to meet the immediate needs.
Now there is a new false narrative: Keaton Otis was let down by the community. He was mentally ill. He needed help. It was a tragedy.
So, Officer Burley, allegedly shot by Keaton Otis, has worked in the bureau’s crisis team with the mentally ill: “I know the man I met on May 12, 2010, was not the real Keaton Otis,” he says. “This would be a way for me to give back and make sure people like Keaton get the help they need… I thought this would be a good opportunity to honor Keaton’s memory.”
This from an officer who witnesses say they saw repeatedly punching Keaton Otis through the window of car, who admitted trying to put Keaton Otis in a painful wrist-lock and who may have drawn his gun with the intention of shooting Keaton Otis.
It is true Keaton Otis needed medical help. Had he not been shot 23 times he may have had some of that support when he attended his scheduled medical appointment the following day.
The new false narrative is meant to paper over the original thin false narrative that could only conceal the truth for so long if left as the only explanation for the killing of Keaton Otis.
The new narrative is meant to make us forget the horrendous crime that was committed. Polite company now only talks of the need to improve mental health care… though avoiding the issue that the funding of such care is woeful and is still being cut.
What really happened never happened. Keaton Otis died because Portland let him down. Not because a gang of rogue police officers shot him.
So, the officers involved, the bureau and the layers of Portland’s white political establishment now talk of mental health… while two years ago they talked of a dangerous drug lord who tried to gun down officers defending the people of Portland.
The complete reversal is the soundest testimony to the lie that was spun. If Keaton Otis was a cop-killer and drug lord at the Grand Jury, why now is he an official figure of pity? The second false narrative confirms the first was a lie.
The new false narrative says Keaton Otis did not die because a racist gang dressed in police uniform picked him at random, trapped him in his car and, lined up shoulder to shoulder, gunned him down in a seven-second 32-shot frenzy at point-blank range.
And above all, the new false narrative denies Keaton Otis was lynched on a Portland street in the rush hour because he was black and wearing a hoodie. To send a message to the elected mayor.
The false narrative exposed: There is good reason not to forget the details of the false narrative that was used to justify the murder of Keaton Otis. It is this narrative that demands justice for Keaton Otis, that demands the officers who gunned down Keaton Otis — and their accomplices — are put on trial to be held to account for their actions.
Much of their tale did nothing more than create diversions, muddy the waters and try to focus attention on anything but the simple truth of what happened.
* The officers noted Keaton Otis was African-American, was “wearing a hoodie on a warm day” and declared he “looked like a gangster”. Their focus on Keaton Otis was based solely on racial profiling.
The officers were relying on stereotyping, prejudice and fear as justification. Racism.
Wearing a hoodie is not a crime. Being black is not a crime. But many people assume people who are black and wear a hoodie are criminals. The false narrative was meant to fire up their support for the officers, right or wrong.
* The officers’ testimonies to investigating detectives and the Grand Jury emphasize — at great length — the look in Keaton Otis’s eyes and his facial expressions.
Officer Foote focuses repeatedly in his evidence on Keaton Otis supposedly staring at him in the side-view mirror of the Toyota Corolla. A Corolla’s side-view mirror is tiny. Next time you are at a light, try to make menacing eye contact in your side-view mirror with the driver behind.
Other officers go into detail about the look of Keaton Otis.
But their descriptions are completely contradictory, with some officers describing stares into the distance, direct defiant eye contact and others darting looks.
The fact that Keaton Otis’s “look” features in most of the officers’ testimonies raises the question of collusion by the officers in constructing their false narrative.
None of the officers give Keaton Otis any benefit of the doubt or show any attempt to interpret his facial expressions in any way other than a justification for killing him.
Looking frightened, nervous, angry, apprehensive, desperate, mesmerized, focussed, distant, refusing to make eye contact, making eye contact, staring… none of this a crime, let alone reason to near-empty the high-capacity magazines of their Glock semi-automatics into his prostrate body.
Soon after the shooting community leaders were told Keaton Otis had been stopped because he did not make eye contact with the officers.
But the lengthy, detailed descriptions in investigating reports and to the Grand Jury do serve to paint Keaton Otis as some sort of wild-eyed desperado.
* The mysterious and missing purple Crown Royal bag has a starring role in the false narrative.
The bag in question was found in the street at Keaton Otis’s feet after the shooting. Officers describe Keaton Otis reaching across the car — after being tazed and punched — and pulling a Crown Royal bag out of the car’s glove compartment. They say he fired a gun that was inside the bag.
All but one of the officers involved specifically deny seeing the gun, particularly those closest to the shooting.
Officers, aided and abetted by fawning DA questioning on the Grand Jury, described in great detail how drug lords and gang members use Crown Royal bags to hold their stash. According to the officers, Crown Royal bags are standard issue for gangsters.
No evidence was presented to the Grand Jury that the bag had ever been tested for gun-shot residue or drugs. There was no evidence presented to show that the bag had ever had anything to do with Keaton Otis or that it was his bag. The bag was never shown to the Grand Jury. It has never been seen in public.
In the publicly-available detective reports there is also no evidence that the bag was tested or investigated. There is no photograph of the bag.
Crown Royal bags can be purchased for less than a couple of dollars on e-bay and other sites. There’s a big market for them. They’re fashionable, trendy. They are popular for holding cosmetics, scrabble tiles… and bottles of whiskey.
The false narrative: Gangsters carry Crown Royal bags. Keaton Otis had a Crown Royal bag. He must have been a gangster.
* Code 3. When police officers call a code 3 every other car and officer in a radius of a few miles will assume those officers are in imminent danger. Code 3 is full lights, sirens, no concern for speed limits. Come now. Officers in danger need urgent help.
The HEAT officers called a code 3 at 6:21pm. The police radio log shows officers nearby did exactly what was expected. Inner NE in the rush hour was full of sirens. Witnesses would have heard. And so would have Keaton Otis.
Before most of the officers arrived Keaton Otis had been shot 23 times. The shooting was broadcast live over the police radio network. The HEAT officers also announced officers, plural, had been shot by Keaton Otis. It “sounded like world war III” one officer told investigating detectives later, confirming he thought more than one officer had been shot.
Police audio calls no further threat at 6:27pm.
The false narrative: Every officer within miles was convinced Keaton Otis was a major threat to police officers, a cop killer… they had made up their minds about Keaton Otis before they even knew his name or that he had existed.
* The bean-bagging of Keaton Otis’s body. Keaton Otis, shot 23 times and dragged out of his mother’s Corolla, was bean-bagged three times before his dead body was handcuffed and left lying in the street for six hours before being removed at 11:15pm.
Officer Aaron Dauchy, veteran of bean-bagging at point-blank-range a 12-year-old girl dragged from a Max train, fired the bags. He had argued for the bean-bagging when he heard the Strategic Emergency Response Team had been called. He argued there was no need for SERT.
Later at the Grand Jury he explained that Keaton Otis had been bean-bagged because officers feared he was lying on his gun, and was still a danger to the officers. They wanted to bean-bag him quickly so that medical help for Keaton Otis could be allowed in sooner than waiting for the SERT team. That’s what they told the Grand Jury.
Officer Dauchy had looked in the Corolla. Officer Jim DeFrain , who fired 15 shots, had also looked in the car. Neither saw the gun, allegedly used by Keaton Otis to shoot an officer, was sitting in the middle of the driver’s seat. The gun was found an hour later. After all the mayhem, Keaton Otis’s watch was later found underneath the car.
By keeping out SERT, officer Dauchy and other close associates of the seven members of HEAT maintained control of the scene, the body and the car.
The false narrative: Keaton Otis was so dangerous he needed to be bean-bagged even after he had been shot 23 times.
* Keaton Otis had a gun and shot a police officer. He tried to kill a cop.
This is the key part of the false narrative. Even those sympathetic to the plight of Keaton Otis have been stopped by this supposed revelation.
But the mounting evidence casts serious doubt that Keaton Otis had a gun and fired it at the officers. The level of doubt is sufficient to demand an independent inquiry.
This claim is so central to the false narrative of the killing of Keaton Otis that a separate, detailed analysis of the evidence pointing to its falsehood will be posted within 48 hours.