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Old June 1, 2010, 05:21 AM   #1
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Portland Man pulled over for signal error, gets Tasered, pulls Gun, Shoots Officer

A young Portland, Oregon man was recently pulled over by four undercover members of a special Portland police Anti-Gang task force. He had illegally used his turning indicator in violation of traffic laws, and police decided to stop him, to also investigate if he was a gang member.

As the two police cars turned on their lights and sirens, they then boxed in the car of Keaton Dupree Otis, a 25 yr old unemployed black man, trapping him. As they approached the car, Otis greeted the officers with a steady stream of obscenities, claiming that they had no right to stop him.

Because of his extreme belligerence, and refusal to obey any of the orders from the officers, two Portland police officers then tasered Otis, in order to make him compliant. However, Otis reacted to the Taser shots by pulling a handgun hidden in his car, and opening fire on the officers, striking officer Christopher Burley twice, once in each of his legs.

Seeing their fellow officer being repeatedly shot, the other 3 officers then returned fire, killing Otis in a hail of bullets. Officer Burley was hospitalized, and is fortunately recovering from his gunshot wounds.

A subsequent investigation has shown that Otis had no gang ties. A criminal check revealed no criminal history of any kind, other than one previous traffic violation in 2007. However, he was illegally carrying a loaded gun in his vehicle. His parents did admit that he suffered from mental illness, and had bad mood swings.

However, his parents also insisted that he was a loving and kind man, and was not at all dangerous. They released this photo of him tenderly holding a little newborn baby, as proof of his extremely gentle nature:

Both of the dead man's parents are honest citizens, and are very well respected in the Portland community. His mother is a program director at the Women's Residential Center at Volunteers of America Oregon, and is also a part-time instructor at Portland Community College. Joseph Otis is a surgical services technician at Oregon Heath & Science Medical University.

Members of the Black community in Portland are once again raising the specter of racism, and that Otis was targeted by police simply because he was black.

A Portland Grand Jury has already cleared all of the officers of any criminal wrong-doing in the incident. However, a Portland Black Ministers group has decided to launch their own independent investigation to determine if the civil rights of Otis were violated by the actions of the police officers.

The leader of the group, the Rev. LeRoy Haynes Jr, said "We have a growing problem in the Portland Police Bureau that won't go away,". He said that there is a growing trend in the city of Portland of the police killing young black men who are mentally ill.

After the grand jury on Thursday last week determined that the police officers were guilty of no wrong-doing, Sam Adams, the mayor of Portland, said this past Friday that he "cannot prejudge the actions" of Portland police in the shooting. However, he did promise that the Police Bureau will carefully examine whether police followed policy and if their training and tactics were sound.

What do you think of all of this controversy in Portland? Otis is now the third mentally ill young black man to be shot and killed by Portland police officers so far this year.

Is there a case that the police are treating black men differently, and thus are guilty of violating their civil rights? Could the police even be guilty of racial profiling in the case of Otis?

Here is a link to a news story about the shooting:

Here is a news story about the investigation of the shooting being done by the group of ministers:

And here is a news story about the Mayor's statement about this incident:

Remember that just a couple of months ago, the mayor fired the Portland Chief of Police, over this controversy of young mentally ill black men being killed by police officers. Yet, officers have continued to kill them in this latest incident.

Does the city of Portland sound wacky to you? Or, is there perhaps a legitimate civil rights concern here?

What else could the officers have done? After all, they initially tried to just taser Otis. Does that not exonerate them?


Last edited by LanceOregon; June 1, 2010 at 05:27 AM.
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Old June 1, 2010, 07:43 AM   #2
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During a traffic stop he pulled a gun and shot a police officer.
I don't care if he's black, white, brown or green......... other officers WILL return fire.
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Old June 1, 2010, 07:49 AM   #3
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How do you 'illegally used his turning indicator in violation of traffic laws'?
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Old June 1, 2010, 07:53 AM   #4
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So they used two police cars and four members of the Anti-Gang task force to pull a guy over for the improper use of his turn signal as a pretext to investigate if he was a gang member? How often do they do that to white motorists?

I think the shooting itself was perfectly justified, but the true reason for the initial stop sounds an awful lot like "driving while black".
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Old June 1, 2010, 08:04 AM   #5
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The sniff test seems to be failing on this one.
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Old June 1, 2010, 08:22 AM   #6
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After all, they initially tried to just taser Otis. Does that not exonerate them?
Not that I belive it is the case here but no it does not. Unjustified force is unjustified force you still have the right to defend yourself reguardless of the clothes that person is wearing. The law applies to everyone.

Its my opinion that the officers in this case were justified but on the otherside you have fearmongeres in the community that make police out to be racist killers and here you have a person who may be, by most persons definition, not be all there getting pulled over by what may have been told to him to be the racist gang force gestapo boogie men.

Its my opinion that traffic stops should be made by traditionaly uniformed officers and that verbal tecniques be tried before force. Even the most beligerent and mentally ill in a lot of cases can be talked into calmness if you know how to.

Anyways I wasn't there don't know if these were the cases and if changing them would have helped any. Its JMHO but something can be learned from every situation I just hope folks can learn from this one.
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Old June 1, 2010, 08:51 AM   #7
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Boycott Portland! Aw, c'mon, somebody had to say it!
Rarely do we get all the facts to any enounter, wonder if there was a great deal more? Just the facts show that the individual reacted violently to being stopped, no matter HOW the stop was done. If he had reacted in the same violent manner with one officer pulling him over, would the chance be now a cop killer on the run?
I would like to see more info on this.
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Old June 1, 2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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You know what, we've had more than our fair share of discussions about such incidents lately. I'm not so sure that this forum is best served as the "crawl up every police incident's butt and dissect it from the inside out" forum.

Given the normally sketchy nature of facts reported in the newspapers, combined with the confusion thrown in by local interest groups, topped with the normal range of responses here, virtually no light enters into these discussions anymore.

Let's give this subject a rest for awhile.

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