PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Loved ones and social justice advocates gathered to remember the life of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, who was shot and killed in a confrontation with Portland Police three years ago Sunday.
Positive stories and laughter were shared amongst those who gathered for a potluck dedicated to Quanice at the Social Justice Action Center in Southeast Portland. Family members said he would have turned 21 this August.
“We’re remembering his life,” said Terrence Hayes, a family member of Quanice’s at his Celebration of Life.
“I decided we are going to come here and celebrate his life instead of mourning his life,” said Donna Hayes, Quanice’s grandmother.
Quanice was shot on February 9, 2017, by Officer Andrew Hearst. Family and friends said they have never been able to make sense of the allegations against him and why he was killed.
“You don’t lose the pain of the loss, especially when it’s connected to tragedy,” said Terrence.
Police said that Quanice had been carrying a replica firearm—recovered at the scene—and a Multnomah County Grand Jury failed to bring forth any charges for the shooting. However, his loved ones said that evidence showed that Quanice didn’t point the fake gun at police, and they believe he was on his knees, complying with police commands when he was shot and killed.
“I don’t know what position you have to be in than on your knees to walk away safely,” said Terrence. “We are always looking for justice, we are always looking for resolve for the loss, so I don’t think our family gets to say peace as other people’s family does.”
The family has filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland, accusing the officer of using excessive force. The city has argued the officer’s actions were justified, and stated that the shooting was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. The family said they will keep fighting.
“I pulled out little kid pictures of him, baby pictures, so people could see the life that we had that was stolen from us,” said Donna.
Family members are also planning to present a play in tribute to Quanice this April. They have asked members of the community to participate—they plan to host rehearsals at a local church.
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