Grand jury declines to charge PPB officer who shot, killed Robert Delgado

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In this April 23, 2021 image, a sign hangs at a vigil for Robert Delgado who was shot and killed by Portland police at Lents Park. (Courtesy of Shelby Taylor)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A grand jury has declined to charge a Portland police officer who shot and killed a man in Lents Park in April.

The Multnomah County district attorney’s office announced on Friday the grand jury returned a not true bill after finding Portland Police Officer Zachary DeLong’s use of force against 46-year-old Robert Delgado “was not criminal under Oregon law.”

DeLong shot and killed Delgado on April 16 after he and other officers responded to a call that said there was a man with a gun at Lents Park in Southeast Portland.

Authorities said witness video that was presented to the grand jury showed police officers standing behind trees telling Delgado, who was about 90 feet away, to put his hands up and get on the ground. The video also showed Delgado appearing agitated and yelling at police.

Investigators said Delgado then produced what appeared to be a gun and pointed it at the officers, which is when DeLong fired at Delgado, who died at the scene. Authorities later released the gun was actually a replica handgun.

The grand jury case was presented by two Multnomah County district attorneys and two assistant attorneys general appointed by the Oregon Department of Justice.

In a statement, Oregon Justice Resource Center’s Juan Chavez called for a better investigative process for police shootings in which “Oregonians can have confidence.”

“More needs to be done for victims of police violence and their families,” the director and attorney for OJRC’s Civil Rights Project continued. “Public confidence of police handling of people in mental health crisis is extremely poor. Rebuilding trust means satisfying the demand for a truly independent investigation of police shootings. We want to see an independent body established to investigate cases like that of Mr. Delgado that is not closely tied to PPB or any other law enforcement agency in Oregon.”

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