PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The mother of a man shot and killed by Tigard police in 2021 wants an independent report that found fault with the city’s actions and subsequent review of police proceedings to be presented at a public meeting of the Tigard City Council.
On Tuesday, March 14, Maria Macduff addressed the City Council by videoconference, asking that Michael Gennaco, the author of an OIR Group report, be allowed to present the 45-page report.
The report, released to the media on Feb. 20, listed extensive failings of the Tigard Police Department in the police shooting.
Tigard Officer Gabriel Maldonado shot and killed Jacob Macduff as he sat inside his locked truck in a Tigard apartment complex on Jan. 6, 2021. He was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.
Maria Macduff also requested the formation of a civilian review board to oversee the implementation of the report’s suggestions for reform.
“It shouldn’t have to take an extensive independent review, paid for by the bereaved family, to expose the readily apparent flaws in a police department and the state judicial system,” Maria Macduff told the council. “We can, and we should, do better when we all work together.”
The Macduff family paid $34,875 for the OIR report, which was commissioned as part of a civil settlement between the Macduff estate and the city government last year.
Pamplin Media Group reached out to Tigard city officials to ask for their response to Maria Macduff’s requests. As of Tuesday, March 21, Tigard City Manager Steve Rymer said officials are still working through the requests and considering the city’s response.
In addition, Maria Macduff, who appeared via video from her home in California, asked Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton to release the grand jury findings that led to the decision not to indict Maldonado.
“I also want you to know that public access to grand jury findings and police cases of fatal shootings has clear precedents in Multnomah County under the district attorney, Mike Schmidt. It can be done, and I think it should be done,” said Macduff, who is a retired physician.
According to a Washington County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson, that grand jury was convened by the Oregon Department of Justice after the DA turned over the investigation over to the department on May 3, 2021.
Regarding the OIR report, a spokesperson for the Washington County District Attorney’s Office wrote, “The report contains … both productive recommendations and aspects that appear to misunderstand Oregon law and procedures.”
Macduff’s comments at the March 14 meeting came following those of Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine, who also addressed the OIR report.
“Before anybody can heal and build trust and confidence, you have to acknowledge, and first and foremost, I want to say I’m sorry,” said McAlpine. “I’m sorry to the family (and) I’m sorry to the community and the outcome.”
McAlpine said of the 22 recommendations directed specifically at Tigard police as part of Gennaco’s report, 15 of those have now been implemented.
Among the changes that have resulted after the shooting:
- All officers have been issued and are required to wear functioning body-worn cameras in the field.
- The department has introduced an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, to help officers assess potentially dangerous situations without involving an officer directly.
- Beanbag rounds, such as those fired at Jacob Macduff’s windshield before Maldonado shot and killed Macduff, have been replaced with 40-millimeter foam projectiles, which the police department says are less likely to cause critical injury.
- In collaboration with other police departments, Tigard is now partnering with LifeWorks NW to have a licensed mental health expert assisting officers in the field.
McAlpine also said de-escalation techniques are now an important part of police protocol.
“Time was on our side,” McAlpine said, reflecting on the night of the Jan. 6, 2021, shooting. “We were in control.”
Also, the chief said officers have gone through specific training such as how to deal with barricaded subjects in vehicles, focusing specifically on “what we want to do, what we don’t want to do.”
McAlpine said the department is trying to move forward after the shooting and follow-up report.
“I stand by our department,” she said. “We are solid, well-trained. This has affected all of us. Not to the degree as the family but nobody would like to go through this again.”
Since the shooting, the city and police department have set up a “transparency” page that addresses the incident.
Another person who spoke at the March 14, Tigard City Council meeting was April Sabbe, a 30-year Tigard resident who is president of Pacific Northwest Family Circle. That group provides support for family members who lost a loved one to police.
“My husband was killed by police Jan. 12, 2018, during a mental crisis and I’m here tonight in support of Maria Macduff and the Jacob Macduff case,” she said.
Sabbe’s husband, Remi Sabbe, was shot and killed in a field just outside of Sherwood city limits after he allegedly pointed a rifle at members of the Washington County Tactical Negotiations Team.
“My effort is to make sure that that (Gennaco) report doesn’t get swept under the carpet, that there is some transparency and a response to it,” April Sabbe said.
The OIR report was part of $3.8 million settlement to which Tigard agreed to pay the Macduff family last year.
The report repeatedly suggested that police and agencies that investigated Macduff’s death failed in following standard police procedures, both during and after the incident. It found fault with Tigard police’s “tactical plan” during the encounter with Jacob Macduff.
Maldonado, who first used a punch tool to break the driver’s side of Jacob Macduff’s vehicle on the night of the shooting, yelled at Macduff to drop the knife he said he was holding. When Jacob Macduff ignored those commands, Maldonado fired five shots at Macduff at close range. Eighteen seconds later, he fired three more.
Macduff was pronounced dead at the scene.
Maldonado no longer works for the Tigard Police Department.
Gennaco wrote that police appeared to not take Jacob Macduff’s mental state into consideration during the incident, and he concluded that it appeared police were still formulating a plan when Maldonado moved to punch out the window.
Last year, in an unusual move, Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton asked the Oregon Department of Justice to review the fatal shooting. The OIR report said it wasn’t clear why he took that unusual step.
Gennaco attributed Barton’s concerns to the 18-second delay between Maldonado’s first and second volley of shots.
A grand jury ultimately declined to indict Maldonado, who left the Tigard Police Department not long after Jacob Macduff’s death.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum at the time described Jacob Macduff’s shooting as “a very tragic situation” but said she was satisfied with the grand jury’s decision.
Rymer told Pamplin Media Group that Jacob Macduff’s death was the first fatal shooting by police to date in the 60-year history of the Tigard Police Department.
“It was reviewed by a grand jury of ‘community members’ convened at the state level by the Oregon Attorney General’s Office, so it did receive a sober and fair-minded review. Additionally, the entire investigative packet from this incident has been available as public record for more than a year now,” Rymer said of the 2021 shooting.
The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 media partner.