PORTLAND, Ore. — The president of the Portland Police Association is speaking out following a violent weekend that included a fatal shooting by police and two other violent incidents that resulted in three officers being hospitalized.
The police shooting happened early Sunday morning near the intersection of Southeast 148th Avenue and Clinton Street. Video obtained by KGW shows two Portland police officers trying to arrest a man under investigation for domestic violence.
The video shows the suspect and officers begin to fight each other and fall to the ground. A gunshot can then be heard, apparently coming from the gun in the suspect's hand. The video shows an officer disarm the man. Officer Mina Cavalli-Singer then shoots and kills him.
"This is really hard on me right now," said Wednesday Lapin, who said the man the officers were struggling with is her brother. KGW is not identifying him until police do.
Lapin said she wants to see the officer who fired the shots held accountable.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that cop was very, very excessive with her six bullets," Lapin said. "I'm sorry, but at the point he was shot he was unarmed already. They had taken his gun and he didn't have it."
The shooting is under investigation and the case will eventually be presented to the Police Review Board.
Sgt. Aaron Schmautz, president of the Portland Police Association, had a different take: he said the two officers were almost murdered, and the whole situation could have been avoided.
"It drags at you," he said. "It pulls at you."
Schmautz put the blame on the staffing crisis at the Portland Police Bureau, saying that the incident might have unfolded differently if there had been more than two officers at the scene.
"If we have three or four officers there, that subject may not be so willing to pull out a gun and shoot at police," he said, "but when he sees there's two and it's dark and the street is dark and nobody's around, that level of courage to take that violent act rises," he said.
He said he believes low staffing levels also played a part in two other incidents over the weekend.
Around 8:30am Sunday, a police officer — who was on duty that morning because of staffing shortages — was hospitalized after being run over by a suspect in a stolen vehicle investigation.
In a third incident, two more officers were hospitalized with injuries they sustained while trying to apprehend somebody. At the time, they were waiting for backup from a short-staffed bureau.
"The reality is, the truth of the matter is, our members are humans," Schmautz said. "They're individuals and they're out there every single day trying to make this city safer and they need help. And a lot of help they need is a real culture shift in understanding what's truly going on."