PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was shot and killed by Portland Police in Lents Park on Friday morning.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said PPB got a call at 9:30 a.m. about “a gentleman described as a white male pointing a gun in the park.”
Davis said officers arrived and “contacted” the person.
“At some point during this interaction both less lethal and lethal force were deployed,” Davis said.
The man died at the scene and has not yet been identified. No officers were injured in the incident.
A crowd gathered at Lents Park following the shooting. Davis said some of them tried to tear down crime tape from the scene and that nearly every police officer in Multnomah County was called to the scene in response.
Davis said people can expect a delay in police service on Friday afternoon due to the response to the shooting scene.
The area where the man was shot is within the boundaries of where Portland Street Response — a non-law enforcement response team for mental health crises — is called to. But PPB officials said that because a caller indicated the man had a weapon, PPB responded to the scene.
“(Portland Street Response) doesn’t respond to calls where it’s reported someone has a weapon,” Davis said.
Mayor Ted Wheeler released a statement about the shooting on Friday afternoon:
I visited the scene this morning to show respect for the individual, their family, the officers, and our community. I received a preliminary briefing and will continue to receive updates as information becomes available.
I recognize why people are concerned and possibly angry. While our understanding of this incident evolves, I urge everyone to proceed with empathy and peace.”
Juan Chavez, Director, Civil Rights Project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center said in an emailed statement that asking for the community to proceed with peace and “nonviolence” to unchecked police force is “harmful” and hypocritical.”
Read the full statement below:
We are still learning details about what happened in Lents Park today, but too much of what we do know already rhymes with what came before.
We know that this City and the Portland Police Bureau has, for decades, neglected and violently responded to those suffering from mental illness and poverty. We know that police violence and excessive use of force have gone unchecked.
We know the names of too many people who have lost their lives because the police responded to their mental health crisis. These are deep wounds that the community bears. Each time police hurt or kill someone, the City creates the illusion that this is the moment of reckoning for us.
So long as we continue to be dishonest about our past and unwilling to honestly accept the changes that need to be made, we will engage in this profoundly destructive fictional reconciliation. People need health care and compassion, not handcuffs.
We need social workers and programs, not police. We need truth and action, not empty gestures and platitudes.
Asking people to respond to the violence of the system with nonviolence without rebuking the violent system or calling for its destruction is actively harmful and hypocritical.
Until we are prepared to accept these facts, openly acknowledge it, defund police, and refund communities, we will only repeat the cycle of neglect and violence.
Jake Cornett, Executive Director, Disability Rights Oregon expressed his condolences to the family of the man who was shot in an emailed statement.
We express our deepest sympathies to the family of the individual who was killed. We don’t yet know all of the facts of the situation, but the person appears to have been experiencing a mental health crisis.
Police use of deadly force on people in crisis and in need of treatment is one of the critical issues facing people living with mental illness.
Portland needs to do better. In the past nearly two decades, half of the people killed by the Portland Police Bureau have experienced mental illness.
Accountability is needed to deter future use of force and build community trust.