Family of Quanice Hayes to sue City of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- The family of a 17-year-old who was fatally shot by a Portland Police officer plans to sue the City of Portland over the officer-involved shooting, according to their attorneys.

Quanice Hayes died Feb. 9, 2017 after he was shot by Officer Andrew Hearst outside a Northeast Portland home.

The Hayes family hand-delivered a notice of intent to sue to the office of Mayor Ted Wheeler at City Hall on Thursday.

The notice marks the first formal step the family has taken toward filing a lawsuit against the city and police officers. 

"As a family, we just had to figure out what was next," Hayes' uncle, Terrence Hayes told KOIN 6 News.

Wheeler was not in the office, but his chief of staff accepted to letter. 

Quanice's uncle told KOIN 6 News that he was angry Wheeler didn't think enough of their case to be there to receive the letter. 

"Portland should be offended the mayor didn't show up to be served by people who are part of this city," Terrence said. "It's typical and we can't wait until 2020 for new people to step up."

The mayor's office said Wheeler had a pre-scheduled meeting in east Portland. 

According to the attorneys, the lawsuit will allege that Hearst acted unreasonably when he shot Hayes 3 times with his AR-15 rifle. 

The lawsuit claims when he was shot, Hayes was on his knees, complying with police commands and was unarmed. A medical examiner later determined Hayes was not shot in the back. He was shot twice in the torso and once in the head.

In March, a Multnomah County grand jury decided not to press criminal charges against Hearst.

Police said Quanice was suspected of robbing a man using a realistic-looking replica gun. The man was sleeping in his car across from the Portland Value Inn -- located at 1707 NE 82nd Ave -- when the incident happened.

"Yes, common sense could tell you that a 17-year-old young black man can make some bad decisions and get himself in to a situation where he breaks the law," Terrence said. "How common does a young black man reach for a fake gun against armed officers?"

During their search, officers found Hayes and tried to talk to him before he ran off. He was found again in the 8300 block of NE Hancock, which is when Hearst fired at Hayes.

"I think Quanice's situation has to beg us to challenge our perspective on whether or not the police force is trained properly in approaching citizens of this country in a way to preserve their lives," Terrence said. 

Jesse Merrithew, an attorney representing the Hayes' estate, said,

 

The Hayes family refuses to allow Quanice's death to go unanswered. Despite the grand jury's decision not to bring criminal charges against Officer Hearst, the family is determined to do what it takes to get justice for Quanice. Quanice's death is part of pattern by the Portland Police Bureau of killing unarmed young black people"

Hayes was the 2nd person killed by Officer Hearst in the line of duty.

In order to fund the costs of the lawsuit, the Hayes family launched a crowdfunding campaign Thursday at noon -- the same time they delivered the notice to Mayor Wheeler's office.

The family is demanding reform and accountability from the police.

"Nothing we can do at this point can bring Quanice back, right," Terrence said. "No lawsuit, no awareness will give us that. But what we can say is that loss has purpose."

According to the family's attorney, they will likely file the lawsuit later this month.

KOIN 6 News Reporter Lisa Balick contributed to this report

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