Oregonians descended upon the streets of Portland on Sunday, protesting the killing of US Navy veteran Jason Washington, who was shot by Portland State University Police officers as he attempted to break up a fight.
Washington was attempting to break up a fight outside of the Cheerful Tortoise sports bar on Friday, when the pocket-mounted holster of his legally-carried sidearm (Believed to be a Turkish-made Canik pistol) gave way, causing the pistol to slide onto the ground after Washington was knocked down.
When Washington attempted to pick up his sidearm, Portland State University Police Officers Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey fired a total of approximately 8-14 shots, killing him.
“Drop the f***ing gun,” one officer in the video can be faintly heard saying over the din of shouting at the time, less than a second before opening fire.
“The gun slipped out of the holster when he had fallen, and I think he may have tried to retrieve it,” witness Keyaira Smith told Fox News. “There was absolutely no hesitation at all.”
Washington had served in the United States Navy prior to taking a job with the US Postal Service. He was 45 years old and a father of three.
According to CBS News, the people of Portland -particularly the students at PSU- have had a long-standing grievance with campus police ever since they were authorized to carry sidearms in 2015.
“Community members and staff and faculty were very, very concerned about arming the police,” Jo Ann Hardesty said at Washington’s weekend vigil. “We knew then that somebody would die, and here we are. I had to be here because we knew it would happen- we just didn’t know when.”
The university said the shooting is the first case where lethal force has been used by the department’s police force.
Hundreds turned out wearing black in protest of Washington’s killing, including Mohammed Tuffa, who had been involved in the scuffle on Friday night.
According to Tuffa, police could easily have dispersed the crowd had they utilized other tools and exercised proper escalation of force.
“Pepper spray could have broken everybody up,” he told CBS. “Everybody would be on the ground, crying.”
Officers McKenzie and Dewey have been with the department since 2016 and have been placed on administrative leave while Portland PD investigates the shooting. The university has vowed to conduct a full evaluation of their policies and procedures.
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