PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of a man shot and killed by a Portland police officer in Lents Park is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
Friday marked a week since Robert Delgado was fatally shot. Officers were called to Lents Park at about 9:30 a.m. on reports of a man in the park with a gun. One witness told dispatch the man was quick-drawing and holding what looked like a handgun.
Cellphone video taken by a bystander shows two Portland police officers behind a tree pointing guns at Delgado. They’re heard telling him to put his hands up as Delgado paces back and forth. It’s unclear what happens in the moments just before police open fire.
“What we have seen from the videos and from witness statements is deeply disturbing and alarming,” said Ashlee Albies, the attorney representing Delgado’s family. “We see that Robert is clearly having a mental health crisis, he’s clearly struggling to keep his composure.”
Investigators said they discovered after Delgado’s death that he had a replica handgun. Authorities have not disclosed where the replica gun was when the PPB officer — identified as Zachary DeLong — shot Delgado.
Albies announced Friday she wants Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation into the case.
“As we saw recently with George Floyd’s murder, Minnesota’s attorney general appointed a special prosecutor and that resulted in the criminal convictions of Derek Chauvin earlier this week and we think that sets a precedent,” said Albies.
Delgado’s family encouraged people who witnessed his death at the hands of police to share what they know by sending an email to Delgadoinvestigation@gmail.com. They have also called on the city of Portland to hold officers accountable for any violations of internal policies of directives or procedures.
Albies said Delgado was “a brother, he was a father, he was a new grandfather to a baby girl, he was a friend to many” and his family remembers him as “a loving and charismatic man” who “loved him very much.”
Delgado’s sister spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon, saying the officer who shot her brother should be held accountable.
“I just want the Portland Police Bureau to know that when a police officer shows up at a scene, they set the stage, they set the tone and that’s a big responsibility they have in their hands,” Tina Delgado said.
Friday evening, flowers, cards and pictures lined a stretch of fence at Lents Park in a vigil for Delgado.
“I was very close to my father and he did not deserve to die that day or in that way,” said River Delgado, his youngest son.
Kennedy Garrett, Delgado’s youngest daughter, said, “The amount of pain this has caused me and my family, it’s very hard to put in words and describe.”