Originally published December 13, 2011:
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland police officer Dane J. Reister pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to charges of third- and-fourth degree assault in a shooting where he fired lethal shotgun rounds instead of beanbag rounds.
He was indicted by a grand jury in November for the incident June 30 in Southwest Portland. Police initially responded to reports of an intoxicated man harassing children in Lair Hill Park.
The man was found several blocks away, and to subdue him Reister fired what he thought were four non-lethal beanbag rounds.
William Kyle Monroe suffered pellet wounds to his sciatic nerve, pelvis, bladder and colon.
Portland Police Bureau safety protocols call for officers to load rounds at the start of a shift and conduct a safety check, Lt. Robert King said after the shooting.
Lethal rounds are red and blue in color, and less lethal rounds are yellow and clear.
There are two separate shotguns. The bean bag shotgun has a bright orange stock and pump lever. The stock has the words "less lethal" on it. The two weapons are the same caliber.
In October, the bureau added some safety measures to prevent another error. Procedures now include loading bean bag rounds only from a carrier already attached to the shotgun, to be checked out from an armory.
The grand jury that charged Reister heard from 44 witnesses and studied a variety of exhibits. Reister faces an additional charge of negligent wounding. That charge was brought forward by the district attorney's office after a court ruling that a grand jury could not consider that statute in this incident.
Negligent wounding addresses failure to use ordinary care in wounding another person with a weapon. Punishment calls for jail, a fine and or revocation of hunting privileges.
The Portland Police Association union issued a prepared statement in support of Reister.
"The indictment of Officer Dane Reister, who was taking legitimate police actions, is devastatingly wrong," said union president Daryl Turner.
The statement made a plea to recognize that Reister remains innocent of any crime and no conclusions should be reached until all evidence is heard. Turner wrote that police work is dangerous and officers have earned the benefit of doubt with our blood and sacrifice.
"This indictment was a bad decision that sends a bad message to all police officers," Turner wrote.