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Multnomah County DA will present Israel Berry case to grand jury, 1 year after deadly police shooting

A private Portland attorney will serve as co-lead prosecutor to review the case.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nearly one year after a Gresham police officer shot and killed Israel Berry in Southeast Portland, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced plans to present the case to a grand jury.

Schmidt appointed Samuel Kauffman, a private practice attorney in Portland to serve as co-lead prosecutor in the case, according to Brent Weisberg, a spokesperson for the DA’s office.

Witnesses are expected to begin testimony before the grand jury within the next three to five weeks, explained Weisberg in an email to KGW Wednesday morning.

The findings of the grand jury will be made public after it reviews the case.

It is not clear why the investigation into the May 31, 2020 police shooting of Israel Berry has taken so long. 

A review of deadly police shootings in Portland by KGW found since 2018, the average investigation takes 49 days from the day of the shooting until a grand jury determines whether police use of deadly force was justified.

Few details have been released since Gresham officer James Doyle shot and killed Berry in Southeast Portland. Officer Doyle remains on paid leave, according to city records.

According to a press release issued after the shooting, Gresham police officers were providing mutual aid in the city of Portland while Portland police managed several large demonstrations on May 31.

Around 9:30 p.m., a Gresham officer and several Portland police officers responded to a call of a disturbance in the 12400 block of Southeast Kelly Street in Portland involving a white man who was making threats, according to the press release.

RELATED: ‘We just want to know what happened’: Few details released 11 months after Gresham police shot and killed man

Emergency dispatch recordings suggested police were told there was some type of dispute over a phone. When officers arrived, witnesses said they blocked Berry’s car with their patrol vehicles.

“He had nowhere to go,” said witness Julie Goss, who explained police shot through Berry’s windshield. “He wasn’t trying to accelerate or use the vehicle as a weapon in any way.”

RELATED: ‘Absolutely frustrating’: Witnesses waiting to testify 11 months after deadly police shooting

“The Gresham Officer deployed deadly force and a male subject was shot and pronounced deceased at the scene. The Portland Officers on scene were witnesses and did not deploy deadly force,” explained a press release from the Portland Police Bureau.

Goss, the witness, said she is disappointed the investigation has dragged on so long.

“Absolutely frustrating,” said Goss, who believes the lack of transparency raises questions about police accountability.

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