PSU Officers Justified In Fatal Shooting

Photo: KATU

Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced that upon the conclusion of testimony in a two day hearing, a grand jury returned a not true bill regarding the use of force by two Portland State University (PSU) Campus Public Safety officers that resulted in the death of 45-year-old Jason Washington.

The grand jury’s not true bill decision means they have determined no criminal prosecution is warranted, and that the use of deadly force against Mr. Washington by PSU Officer James Dewey and Officer Shawn McKenzie was a lawful act of self-defense and/or defense of a third person, pursuant to Oregon law.

This investigation began on Friday, June 29, 2018, at approximately 1:30 a.m., following the report of an officer-involved shooting involving PSU Campus Public Safety officers. 

The grand jurors who reviewed this case are Multnomah County community members. Each grand juror was selected by Multnomah County’s Chief Criminal Judge from the regularly scheduled empaneled grand jury. This is a process set by Oregon’s Constitution.

Like in the past, the grand jury proceedings in this case were recorded. Pursuant to Senate Bill 505, Officer Dewey, Officer McKenzie, or either of their attorneys have 10 days to file a motion with the Court to seek a protective order regarding the release of the grand jury proceedings or a portion of the proceedings.

In accordance to the District Attorney’s Office policy and procedures set forth in SB 505, if a waiver is filed and/or no objection made within that 10 day period, a request will be made, through this Office, to the Multnomah County Circuit Court Presiding Judge to have the grand jury proceedings transcribed and then subsequently released to the public.

Michelle Washington, the widow of Jason Washington, issued the following statement:

“Although my family and I are disappointed the PSU officers will not face criminal charges, we appreciate the hard work of those serving on the grand jury. I will be looking to my attorney, Christopher Larsen, to guide us through the next steps in this process. We want those responsible for the death of my husband to be held accountable. We will always remember and love Jason and know he was needlessly killed while attempting to keep the peace.”

Washington’s attorney Christopher Larsen issued the following statement:

“I respect the decision of the grand jury. I, along with our team of lawyers and experts, will now have an opportunity to review all the evidence that has been obtained and developed by law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office. We intend to vigorously pursue legal action against those who are responsible for this tragic death.” 

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