<<Portland police have responded to fewer calls and made fewer arrests in the past five years but have used force in a higher percentage of the arrests, new data shows.
The more frequent use of force likely stems from police focusing on more serious crimes, in part because of reduced staffing, said city-hired consultants who analyzed the figures.
The analysts noted that police have started to use force less often, though said it’s too early to know if the dip will become a trend.
The statistics don’t include fatal shootings by police, which have increased, or force used in crowd control situations, which officers haven’t properly reported.
The analysts from Rosenbaum & Associates noted that 17 police shootings in 2021 and 2022 marked the highest two-year total since at least 2010.
Eight of them were fatal.
The consultants’ report covered force that includes police pointing guns, using control holds, firing less-lethal munitions such as a stun gun, taking down suspects, using strikes, kicks and batons to subdue people, using hands-on force to handcuff someone and employing patrol intervention tactics, such as hitting a corner of a suspect’s car to get it to stop.
It found that police use of force grew over the last five years from about 4% of arrests in 2018 to 5.25% of arrests last year. The percentage fluctuated over that time — dipping to 3.4% of arrests in 2019 and peaking in 2021 at 6.25%.
The consultants also found that the proportion of people experiencing a mental health crisis who police used force against rose over those five years, from about 11% in 2018 to 17% last year. It had peaked in 2021 at 20% during the period studied.
The analysis was part of the ongoing work by city-hired consultants Dennis Rosenbaum and Tom Christoff to monitor Portland’s 2014 settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department over officers using excessive force against people with mental illness.
Jonathan Betz Brown, who has been tracking police statistics for the Mental Health Alliance that has provided input on the settlement reforms in federal court, said his analysis also found that the rate of force used by police on people in crisis had begun to drop after a steady three-year increase, mirroring a decrease in the volume of 911 calls to respond to people in crisis. But he said the numbers demand further study.
According to the Police Bureau, total call volume dropped by 6% last year while average response times rose 17% across all types of calls, from low to high priority.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell said shootings or other complex calls, such as sexual assaults or armed robberies, often tie up many officers from one precinct, resulting in other calls “stacking up.”
The Police Bureau now has 808 sworn officers with 74 vacancies, yet about 100 officers are in training or waiting to start a basic police training academy. The number of sworn officers is slightly up from last year but still lower than the police agency’s size in at least two decades.
Some of the other statistics cited in the consultants’ report:
— Last year, officers reported using force against 654 individuals out of the 278,128 call responses, meaning force was used in less than 1% of calls.
— Police use-of-force during arrests of people they identified as “transient” fell from 49% of the calls police responded to in 2018 to 44% last year.
— Police use-of-force against Black people fell from 28% of calls responded to in 2018 to 24% of those calls last year. Use of force against white people rose from 58% of calls responded to in 2018 to 60% of calls last year. The only other racial category reported was “other,” with force used in 15% of calls in 2018 and 18% last year. The Police Bureau said it plans to perform more “nuanced analysis” in the future, the consultants reported.>>
<<The report recommended that the Police Bureau provide new de-escalation guidance to all officers and highlight positive examples.
The consultants also urged the bureau to provide annual review training for high-level command and supervisory staff on the role they play in police response to mental health crisis calls.>>
<<A rise in crime during the pandemic across most of Oregon’s largest cities – including Portland – is abating, according to a new state analysis of preliminary federal crime data.
From 2021 to 2022 across the state’s largest cities, violent crime dropped a combined 8.8% and property crime decreased by 2.6%. The report, released this week, was compiled by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, a state agency that helps develop criminal justice policy and is a statewide clearinghouse for criminal justice data. The agency examined data in Bend, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Portland and Salem, and based its analysis on the FBI’s Preliminary Uniform Crime Report for 2022, which the federal government released last month. Oregon’s statewide figures could shift as the FBI releases data that includes the rest of the state later this year.
“There are indicators that crime is either plateauing or maybe beginning to come down after a pretty significant increase that we’ve seen over the past year to year and a half,” said Ken Sanchagrin, executive director of the Criminal Justice Commission.
Sanchagrin said the 2022 data suggests crime levels could soon return to pre-pandemic levels.
“It takes additional data points and time to pass before we can determine whether that’s a trend or not,” he said, “but at least it seems like it’s good news compared to what we’ve seen over the past couple cycles.”
The FBI data captures a portion of the violent and property crime in Oregon. It’s meant to be compared statewide and nationally. The FBI defines violent crime as rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault. It classifies property crime as motor vehicle theft, burglary and larceny-theft.
“These are very specific types of crime,” Sanchagrin said. “If we’re talking about other types of crime that certainly have worried folks in local areas connected to housing or health, public order crime, those types of things are not included. These are more serious crimes overall that we’re talking about. It’s positive that they’re going down, but it also doesn’t include everything that certainly is part of the policy discussion right now.”>>
<<At the same time, the largest increases in violent crime in 2022 were in Salem and Hillsboro.>>
<,By comparison, complete state data show Oregon experienced an 11.8% increase in violent crime between 2020 and 2021, “which indicates that the concerning increase in violent crime during the COVID-19 pandemic may be reversing, at least in those locales,” the Criminal Justice Commission analysis states. The statewide data is based on reports from 208 of the state’s 235 law enforcement agencies. That’s more comprehensive than Monday’s report, which only accounted for Oregon’s largest cities.>>
<<Asked for their thoughts on the new data, Portland Business Alliance spokesperson Tina Sillers insisted the new data didn’t capture the reality in Portland.
“We are confident that this data is not an accurate reflection of the level of these crimes afflicting retailers and store front businesses,” Sillers wrote, speculating that many businesses have stopped reporting break-ins.
According to the FBI data, violent and property crime decreased in most western states in 2022. Idaho saw a nearly 12.7% drop in violent crime and a roughly 10% decrease in property crimes. Washington, meanwhile, bucked the trend and notched an 11% increase in violent crime and a 7.8% rise in property crime. Nationally, the analysis described Oregon cities’ improvements as middling, with cities like Denver and El Paso experiencing dramatic increases in violent crime and Milwaukee, Wisconsin seeing its rate drop by more than 30%.>>
[KW NOTE: KGW shows some “bad news” bias.]
<<Portland police statistics show vandalism is getting steadily worse. In March, police took 1,322 reports of vandalism. That includes everything from slashed tires to broken windows on cars and buildings.
That’s about 400 more reports made than in March of 2022.
In March of 2019, police took down a total 500 reports of vandalism. >>
<<Only a fraction of drunk drivers are being pulled over and fewer are being prosecuted, according to a new internal report.
In 2016, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said it was referred over 2,000 cases drunk driving cases. In 2022, there were only 505.
“That’s 25 percent of what we got before and that’s substantial. That would be a major positive public safety story if that actually reflected the crime levels in our community, but I think we all know it doesn’t,” said Deputy District Attorney Adam Gibbs.
In a memorandum sent to DA Mike Schmidt, Gibbs laid out what he said was behind the dramatic shift: the total number of cases coming in and the cases they could actually prosecute due to evidence.
While the sheer volume of DUIIs is a fraction of what it used to be, Gibbs says another troubling factor is the number of DUII cases that aren’t being investigated. This is for the whole county — but the discrepancies between the different law enforcement agencies are stark.
In 2022, the Portland Police Bureau charged 459 DUIIs in total. Of those, the DA’s Office determined 89 didn’t have sufficient evidence to prosecute. That’s almost 20 percent.
The only other law enforcement agency to report a no-investigation arrest was Gresham with four of their 92 total.>>
<<Prior to the pandemic, PPB said patrol cops would call a traffic officer after pulling over a DUII driver. But now the traffic division doesn’t even exist.>>
<<“We don’t have a traffic division, so we’re not out there on the Friday and Saturday nights trying to find those folks who are trying to make their way home from the bar,” said Sgt. Ty Engstrom from PPB.
He added that “the officer may not have the experience or training or certifications to process that drunk driver.” In order for an officer to have certification to perform a breathalyzer, they need to administer one at least every two years. Before the pandemic, this would have been handled by a specialized traffic division officer, but Sgt. Engstrom says they don’t have the staff now.>>
<<Unidentified Portland police officers left derogatory remarks on an anonymous survey seeking their feedback about online training regarding how to refer to and interact with people in the LGBTQ+ community.
The statements revealed “racism, ableism and white supremacy,’’ and the need for more and better equity instruction, according to city-hired consultants.
The bureau’s Equity and Inclusion Office, which works out of the police chief’s office, developed the training last year.>>
<<“None of that surprises me,” said Debra Porta, executive director of Pride Northwest.>>
<<All officers last year were required to complete online training called “2022 Vocabulary in the LGBTQIA2S+ /Queer Community” as the bureau adopted a new directive titled “Interacting with Members of the LGBTQIA2S+/Queer Community.”
The directive identifies LGBTQIA2S+ as an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit “and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.”
It prohibits officers from engaging in harassment or discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual expression.
It says officers shall not ask anyone about their anatomy, medical history or sexual practices unless it relates directly to a criminal investigation. They should also not make assumptions about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity and may need to ask someone about their gender identity to complete a police report, evaluate a bias crime or for another official purpose.
To determine someone’s identity, the directive says officers shall respectfully ask how the person identifies and by what pronouns, the directive says. If officers can’t find out for some reason, they should use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” or “them,” the directive says. If an officer mistakenly misgenders a person, they should apologize, move on and use correct pronouns going forward, it says.
Further, officers shall not frisk or search people or view or touch their genitals for gender identification or for any demeaning or harassing purpose.
The bureau described the new directive, which took effect in mid-March 2022, as “one of many steps” to help police build trust among members of the LGBTQ+ community and “grow” as an organization.
Lovell stressed that the bureau’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community is important, and that’s why it is one of the few law enforcement agencies in the country to create and adopt such a directive. When the directive came out, he said he shared an introductory video about it with officers.
“It is always our goal to build relationships and PPB is committed to treating people from the LGBTQ+ community respectfully and appropriately,” he said. “This can be a polarizing issue for many in our country, but PPB is doing everything we can to prepare and equip our members to have improved relationships with this community.” >>
<<Along with the directive, officers were to view three online training videos on what the different terms mean to LGBTQ+ people “as described by them in their own words,” how to interact with people to learn their gender identities and how to capture the information accurately in police reports, according to Rosenbaum’s firm.>>
<<Rosenbaum said the Equity and Inclusion Office shared concerns with the chief about derogatory remarks and “signs of bias” that came in anonymously in the written feedback to the training.
While Rosenbaum’s report didn’t cite specific examples, it said that the feedback “from some officers was indicative of racism, ableism and white supremacy.”
“Some of these comments were pretty extreme,” Rosenbaum told The Oregonian/ OregonLive.
He noted that he didn’t know how widespread the problems might be, “but we do know there are people in the organization who hold these feelings.”
The bureau should make equity training a higher priority as one way to address these biases and provide the instruction in person instead of online, Rosenbaum told The Oregonian/OregonLive.>>
<<The police chief didn’t respond in the bureau to the disturbing remarks because “anonymous responses serve the purpose of informing policy and training without the threat of discipline and commenting on anonymous responses would only serve the purpose of quelling respondents’ true responses, so would therefore be inappropriate,” his spokesperson, Lt. Nathan Sheppard, wrote in an email.
With the new directive in place, the bureau “is confident members’ treatment of community members or other Bureau members will be addressed should the need arise,” Sheppard wrote.
He added that Rosenbaum’s report didn’t say officers actually used racist language but that the anonymous comments were “indicative of” such language.
He argued that “indicative of” could “literally mean anything in today’s world where almost anything someone says can be offensive to someone else.”>>
<<Benjamin Smith, the 44-year-old man who murdered a woman and shot four others near Normandale Park in Northeast Portland last year, has been sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 55 years.>>
<<The man who shot and killed activist June Knightly and injured four others on February 19, 2022 near a protest at Normandale Park, will serve life in prison.
The life sentence for Benjamin Smith, 44, was handed down Tuesday, April 18 by Circuit Court Judge Christopher Marshall in a case that survivors say is a grim reminder of the dangers of white supremacy and unchecked political extremism. Smith will serve consecutive sentences totaling 55 years for each of nine counts that include second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and assault with a firearm. He will be eligible to request parole after serving 55 years.
In a packed courtroom, shooting survivors recounted horror and lingering PTSD as they described the events that unfolded that night.
Knightly, known as “T-Rex” in the activist community, was among a group of women doing traffic control a few blocks from Normandale Park in Northeast Portland for a planned protest against police brutality. She was fatally shot by Benjamin Smith, who advanced on the group, yelling misogynist slurs. Witnesses said they tried to de-escalate Smith’s anger and get him to back off, unsuccessfully. Smith opened fire on the group, injuring four other people before being disarmed by another person who fired back at Smith.
Smith initially pleaded not guilty, but later entered a guilty plea to all nine criminal charges against him, avoiding a trial.
One of the shooting survivors, who goes by “DEG” was shot in the neck and left paralyzed, requiring months of hospital care, before returning home to be cared for full time by her parents.
Appearing remotely via video conference call, DEG described losing quality of life, while also grieving Knightly’s death.
“I feel I am alive because of the sacrifice she made in that moment,” DEG said, using a ventilator. “The majority of my coping skills are no longer accessible. It has only been through intensive speech therapy that I’m able to speak today. I used to love to sing and I miss the sound of my own laugh… I’ve lost the future I saw for myself.”
“I have a feeling you will continue to be a voice,” Judge Marshall responded. “I hear a strong voice.”
Leslie, DEG’s mother, appeared in court, noting her family has spent well over $100,000 to reconfigure their home to be wheelchair accessible. She said she and her husband take turns caring for their daughter, who “can never be left alone.”
During victim impact statements, Marshall permitted speakers to use abbreviated names, or none at all, citing their concerns of online harassment or retaliatory violence.
Allie, who sustained four gunshot wounds, said even surviving a mass shooting won’t deter her or others who were there that night from fighting against white supremacy.
“What transpired that night is a stain on the fabric of my life,” Allie told Smith. “I remember asking you that night, if you really felt good about intimidating a bunch of women. I found you pathetic and enraging… Our strength emasculated you and you tried to destroy us for it.”
The Normandale Park shooting underscored a rise in politically-motivated violence across the nation, but it also highlighted lingering tension among protesters, protest supporters, and the Portland Police Bureau.
Through a statement read by a friend, a 19-year-old volunteer protest medic working at the scene that night recalled being threatened with arrest by police for rendering aid to the gunshot victims, including Smith.
In a collective press release issued before Smith’s sentencing, survivors criticized PPB for its initial characterization of the incident, which incorrectly described the incident as a confrontation between “a homeowner and protesters.” Survivors and witnesses said PPB’s news release gave the impression that Smith acted in self defense, rather than the unprovoked attack that occurred.
“This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces,” a PPB release about the shooting stated, noting witnesses were “uncooperative” with police on scene.
Nathan Vasquez, a prosecutor with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, said he reviewed video footage captured by a helmet-mounted camera worn by one of the traffic control workers that night.
“From that video and from that investigation, it is abundantly clear that those safety volunteers did everything in their power to de-escalate and avoid a conflict,” Vasquez told the court.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Smith would not have that.”
Dajah, a friend of Knightly, who was wearing the helmet-mounted camera and sustained a gunshot wound from Smith’s gunfire, conveyed palpable fury while addressing the courtroom.
Judge Marshall allowed her to play audio from the video footage that captured the moments before and immediately after gunfire broke out.
“I believe I’m sitting here today because the world is full of people who look away,” Dajah said, citing “complacency and indifference” toward suffering. “For just a few minutes, I will not let you look away.”
John Sarre, Smith’s attorney, spoke on Smith’s behalf.
“Mr. Smith knows he can’t take back his actions, as much as he wishes he could,” Sarre said.
“There are no words and Mr. Smith does not believe he can express the unfathomable remorse he has for these folks.”
That set off anger within the courtroom.
“Nothing? You’ve got nothing?! Go fuck yourself,” Dajah called out, before abruptly exiting the courtroom. Others followed, calling Smith a coward before walking out.
Smith, who appeared in court Tuesday in a wheelchair, is scheduled to be transferred to the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility before the state determines where he’ll serve out his sentence.
Vasquez noted Smith, who was shot during the Normandale confrontation, is “still recovering from an extensive medical condition” and will need evaluation before going to prison.>>
<<The man who shot five people, killing one, near Northeast Portland’s Normandale Park last year was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 55 years.
Benjamin Smith, 44, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and four assault charges last month.
On Feb. 19, 2022, Smith walked out of his Northeast Portland apartment and started yelling at a small group of women preparing to help redirect traffic around a racial justice march. The women attempted to de-escalate the situation, but Smith drew a handgun, firing at them.
Smith stopped shooting when an armed bystander returned fire, hitting Smith in the hip.
Smith’s bullets killed a 60-year-old woman named June Knightly and injured four others. Several survivors of the shooting provided victims’ statements at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Marshall.
“I am deeply impacted from the trauma of that night,” said a woman who identified herself as Deg.
Deg, who called in remotely to testify, was paralyzed from the shoulders down by the shooting and needs a ventilator to breathe.
“The majority of my coping skills are no longer accessible,” Deg said. “I used to love to sing. And I really miss the sound of my laugh.”
Deg’s mother, Leslie, said that the financial burden to take care of her injured daughter has been significant. She’s paid over $120,000 to renovate her home to make it accessible to Deg and $60,000 for a wheelchair-accessible van. Leslie and her husband are in their 60s and retired, and serve as their daughter’s main caregivers. She said she worries about what that means for Deg’s future.
“How long will we be able to care for our daughter?” Leslie said. “What happens if we’re no longer able to?”
OPB highlighted Deg’s story and those of other women who survived the shooting in a story published earlier this week.
Smith sat in silence in a wheelchair next to his attorney as the women spoke.
llie Bradley, who Smith shot four times, told Smith his actions have forever marred her life.
“The weight of your bullets have not left my body,” Bradley said. “I thought I was going to die. But you couldn’t steal my strength even when you tried to kill me.”
Several who spoke said Smith’s shooting should serve as an example of what can happen if people with a history of making violent threats aren’t stopped sooner. In the years leading up to the shooting, Smith was reported numerous times to law enforcement for making threats online. That included a threat assessment conducted by the FBI, which said it spoke with Smith in 2021. The FBI did not investigate further.
Dajah Beck, a woman who Smith shot in the chest and arm, used her time in court to play a portion of the audio captured by a GoPro camera attached to her motorcycle helmet the night of the shooting.
“I’m playing this for the world that averts its eyes from political extremism and vigilantism like this,” Beck said before playing the clip.
The recording captured the moments directly after Smith shot at the group, including screams for help from those injured. Beck’s video was the key piece of evidence in the prosecutors’ case against Smith.
Smith declined to speak. His court-appointed attorney, Jonathan Sarre, said that Smith, “Does not believe that he can express the unfathomable remorse that he has for these folks.”
Several shooting survivors expressed their anger with this decision.
“Nothing?” Beck asked Smith, before quickly leaving the courtroom. “You got nothing?”
Several members of the public who were watching the hearing shouted “Coward” and “Seriously?”
Smith did not appear to react.
Marshall, the judge, did not address Smith directly when announcing the sentence, which doesn’t allow Smith the opportunity of parole for at least 55 years. Marshall also reserved $58,000 in restitution for the victims through the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
Marshall thanked those who spoke on Tuesday and encouraged them to continue using their voices to speak out.
“Obviously no one should ever have to be here for something like this,” Marshall said. “There is nothing that the court or the criminal justice system can do to change what has occurred here or make anything that has happened any righter than it is.”>>
<<In 2020, Portland’s racial justice protests brought five women together over the shared interest of keeping their community safe. Two years later, their lives were torn apart when an enraged stranger opened fire on them at a park in Northeast Portland.
Four were shot. One died. Another is paralyzed.
“It’s not the gunshots, or the memory of seeing that unfold,” said Dajah Beck, who was struck in the arm and chest by a single bullet. “It’s the parts of us that we lost that night. It’s the parts that did not leave the park that night.”
The five women initially forged a strong friendship while serving as “corkers,” a term for people who use their bodies, bikes or personal vehicles to redirect traffic around a march. They were used to being harassed on the job, usually by motorists upset that a march shut down traffic or by people who disagreed with protesters.
But they had never imagined that their small team of volunteers — people on the periphery of a political movement that drew national attention — would be the primary target of a violent attack.
Benjamin Smith lived in an apartment adjacent to Normandale Park. On the evening of Feb. 19, 2022, he saw the group of women standing by their vehicles at a nearby intersection. They were preparing to assist a racial justice march at the park later that night. Smith stormed toward the group, shouting misogynistic slurs.
The women responded calmly, asking Smith to go home. Moments later, Smith took out a handgun and began to shoot. He only stopped firing when he was shot by an armed bystander.
The violence took place at what felt like the tail end of nearly two years of frequent protests in Portland focused on police accountability and racial justice. By February 2022, the city was no longer hosting nightly demonstrations that ended in clouds of police tear gas or property destruction. These demonstrations had become increasingly villainized by right-wing groups, conservative media outlets and local officials because they sometimes included acts of vandalism and arson.
Smith’s social media activity leading up to the shooting was saturated with racism, Nazi sympathies and anger toward the Black Lives Matter movement. Since 2006, numerous people had reported him to local and federal law enforcement for his violent and sometimes threatening behavior — raising the prospect that the shootings could have been prevented. He’s pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and four assault charges. He will be sentenced Tuesday and faces the possibility of life in prison.
For the five women, Smith’s sentencing represents a bookend — but it won’t bring them closure. In a series of recent interviews, they described — many for the first time publicly — what happened at Normandale Park and in the year since.
The women’s stories provide a new perspective on a chaotic scene, illuminate cracks in the systems built to protect them and shine a light on the complex trauma that comes with surviving a targeted shooting. OPB agreed to identify some of the women by their first name or their preferred nickname because they’ve received threats.>>
<<The sun had already set by the time the women met at Northeast Hassalo Street and Northeast 55th Avenue — the southwest corner of Normandale Park — on that February evening a year ago. They arrived 30 minutes before the planned 8 p.m. march, which had been organized to memorialize Amir Locke, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police a few weeks earlier. Demonstrators had begun gathering on the other side of the park behind a line of evergreens and out of sight from the corkers.
Before every demonstration, the women would meet up to review the march route and plan where to position their vehicles.
As the corkers discussed the night’s strategy, a man in his 40s strolled by carrying a grocery bag under his arm. He approached Deg and asked what was going on.
“I told him about the march, and he asked what time we were leaving, and I told him around eight o’clock,” Deg said. “And he looked at his watch and was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ I kind of felt like maybe he would come back and join the march.”
Hank overheard this interaction and came away with a different feeling.
She was used to curious neighbors asking questions, but these felt unusual.
“His questions were too specific,” Hank said. “‘When are you leaving? How long are you all going to be at this intersection?’ You know, it just wasn’t right.”
Benjamin Smith returned to the intersection some 20 minutes later, as the women were preparing to work. He was no longer carrying his grocery bag and appeared unarmed. But he was screaming.
Beck was adjusting her motorcycle helmet as Smith approached. She said his words felt more specific than the kind of vitriol she was used to hearing from people angry about the marches.>>
<<It [felt] so clearly targeted,” Beck said. “I mean, what he was saying was so specific, he wasn’t talking about protesters … it was, ‘You fucking cunts, you fucking terrorist cunts.’”
The women quickly attempted to de-escalate the moment by speaking calmly and clearly. Hank told Smith the group was about to leave anyway to assist the march and began walking toward her car. He followed her.
“That’s when he said, ‘If I ever see you again, I’m going to shoot you in the head,’” Hank said. “And it was just like this lightning bolt. I was like, ‘We need to desperately get away from this person.’”
Beck heard Smith threaten Hank. She hit record on the GoPro camera affixed to her motorcycle helmet. The video would later become the key piece of evidence in prosecutors’ case against Smith.
Just then, Bradley, who was running late, pulled up in her Ford Bronco.
She saw a man yelling at her friends and slammed her door to draw Smith’s attention.
“My thought was like, ‘Look at me, look at me … I’m the threat. I’m the scary one,’” Bradley said. “I wanted everyone else to just get in their cars and leave.”
Bradley asked Smith if this was really how he wanted to spend his evening. Smith said he did and then lunged toward her with his hands raised. She put up her own hands to protect her face and stepped back.
Beck said it seemed like Smith was trying to provoke a fight. Perhaps then, he could feel justified in using violence as self-defense, she thought.
“What he kept saying was, ‘Make me, make me leave, touch me, push me, make me go,’” Beck said. “People threaten us all the time. It’s part of the work, but he was different. I’ve never been scared like that.”
As soon as Smith pushed Bradley, Knightly stepped out of her truck. Knightly leaned on her cane as she walked slowly toward Smith. She urged Smith to go home.
Smith pulled a handgun from his pocket and pointed it at Knightly’s head.
Bradley was standing 4 feet away. “For a brief moment before he pulled the trigger, I thought, ‘Maybe he won’t shoot,’” she said. “And he did.”
Smith shot Knightly in the face. As she collapsed, Deg stepped toward Smith with a small canister of mace. Smith shot Deg in the neck. He pivoted toward Bradley, and shot her at the nape of her neck and chest.
Smith then shot Beck in the side of her chest, grazing her arm. Bradley stood to run to her car, which caught Smith’s attention. He shot Bradley two more times. In the melee, Smith also shot and injured an unidentified man who had come to the demonstration to volunteer as a medic. The man had walked over to help the women after he heard Smith’s shouts.
Beck’s memory of the shooting is muddled, but the video she recorded allows her to describe the event with precision.
“The way he moved, you can see he’s in a shooter stance … it’s not uncontrolled,” Beck said. “It’s aim, fire, aim, fire, pause, aim, fire. He was not shooting wildly.”
Then two gunshots rang out that sounded distinctly different from Smith’s bullets. A bystander had run up after hearing gunshots and shot Smith in the hip.>>
<<In Beck’s video, the violence lasts eight seconds. Hank had been sitting inside her truck when Smith shot Knightly, and she ducked below the dashboard. As soon as she saw Smith fall, she thought, “This is my chance to call 911.” A 911 operator told her that an ambulance would arrive in 14 minutes.
“I just completely lost it,” Hank said. “I was like, ‘Cool, every person that’s here … every single one is going to die.’”
After the shooting stopped, Bradley saw Deg and Knightly on the ground, surrounded by blood.
“And I just screamed, I screamed for help,” she recalled. “I screamed until my voice broke.”
The shooting was traumatic. So was the aftermath.>>
<<After what felt like an eternity, dozens of people surrounded the five friends, Smith and his other victim. Many were volunteer medics with emergency medical supplies. Several attempted to resuscitate Knightly, but it became clear that she was already dead. One medic attended to Smith, applying pressure on his wound and wrapping him in an emergency blanket.
Police officers arrived before paramedics. Hank was still on the phone with a 911 operator, who directed her to walk toward the police lights and identify herself as the caller.
As she approached the line of police cars, Hank said officers turned on their headlights, and she could see the silhouettes of rifles pointed at her. Officers shouted at her, she said, to put her hands in the air.
“I was horrified,” Hank said.
Beck, who lost her glasses when she was shot, recalls seeing the fuzzy outline of police standing by their cars. They were not yet allowing ambulances to pass.
“I realized at that moment they’re not coming to help us,” she said. “I lost it. I was so angry.”
Paramedics were eventually able to reach the victims and Smith and check their wounds, while police questioned those present. Bradley recalled one officer repeatedly asking her how many people were in the park when the shooting broke out. She didn’t know. Deg, who drifted in and out of consciousness after being shot, remembers an officer doing what she described as “interrogating” a friend who was comforting her in the back of the ambulance.
Before getting into her own ambulance, Beck handed her helmet camera to an officer.
“This is evidence,” she told him. “I got everything.”>>
<<An Idaho judge issued a civil arrest warrant Tuesday for Ammon Bundy, after he repeatedly failed to appear in court or respond to a lawsuit filed by St. Luke’s Health System.
Ada County Judge Lynn Norton found probable cause that Bundy committed contempt and set his bail at $10,000, a figure she called “reasonable.”
Bundy wasn’t present in the courtroom, though several of his supporters were.
“I can’t really arraign him since he’s not here,” Norton said.
“I think it’s impossible not to conclude that, absent Mr. Bundy having some consequences for his actions, it will just continue,” said Erik Stidham, an attorney who is representing St. Luke’s.
St. Luke’s last May filed a lawsuit against Bundy, his gubernatorial campaign and other business entities, as well as his friend, Diego Rodriguez, and Rodriguez’s organizations.
Protests over the hospitalization of Rodriguez’s infant grandson last year that resulted in the redirection of emergency services and a lockdown of the downtown Boise campus were simply a “grift” to enrich themselves and boost their own publicity, the health system alleged.
It could take several days for Bundy to be arraigned.
Norton considered a few other motions made by St. Luke’s legal team, including a request for a “discovery referee” to help compel Bundy and Rodriguez, his co-defendant, to produce documents and other records that can be used at trial. She said she would rule on the request at a later date.
Norton also ordered that Bundy, Rodriguez, as well as other business entities controlled by one or the other, are required to appear for depositions.
A jury trial in the case is set for July.>>
<<Tuesday afternoon’s court actions come after Stidham and others from St. Luke’s legal team asked the Idaho Supreme Court to force the Gem County Sheriff’s Office to serve Bundy his legal notices as required by state law.
Bundy pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing charges in January, according to Idaho Reports, resulting in a suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation.
In a letter written April 12, Gem County Sheriff Donnie Wunder said Bundy, who lives in Emmett, is “…becoming more and more aggressive with his behavior…” when served with these civil notifications.
Because he has ignored the lawsuit and hasn’t shown up in court, St. Luke’s lawyers said they must use processing companies to serve him with these documents.
Bundy, who unsuccessfully ran as an independent candidate for governor last year, told Gem County dispatchers he considers processors as trespassers, according to Wunder’s letter.
The sheriff said Bundy told him during a phone call that he was “at his breaking point.”
“By the tone in his voice, I believe he is,” Wunder wrote. “My concern is with the safety of process servers and my deputies. I do not want to risk harm over a civil issue.”
In a follow-up email with Gem County Prosecutor Erick Thomson on April 14, Thomson confirmed to St. Luke’s that Wunder would not continue to serve these documents without a court order.
State law requires county sheriffs to serve these documents in legal cases. Failure to carry out these deliveries is a violation of St. Luke’s constitutional rights, according to its legal team. Wunder told Boise State Public Radio in an email Tuesday that he cannot comment on ongoing litigation.>>