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No Justice for Keaton Otis yet... US DoJ v City of Portland

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The public lynching was recorded on the i-phone of a witness, see  No attempt was made to stop traffic or pedestrians before the shooting, with witnesses watching in horror. 

An hour after the shooting a gun -- stolen four years previously but never reported -- was found sitting on the driver's seat. Police claimed Keaton Otis had shot an officer.

No cartridges from the gun were found at the scene, one was found two days later in the police car pound. No evidence -- no finger or palm prints, blood, gunshot residues -- has ever been presented linking Keaton Otis to the gun.

Officers who took control of the shooting scene had met with the HEAT officers in a local coffee bar before the shooting. They numbered some of the most notorious of Portland's officers, including one who had months before been in court for bean-bagging a 12-year-old girl at point-blank range after hitting her in the face with the heel of his hand.

The officers say they first saw Keaton Otis driving by the coffee bar as they were leaving.

At the Grand Jury key witnesses were not called, the video was shown edited, one witness who claimed Otis had shouted "they're gonna kill me"  was discredited while the police were given free reign, in one case spending five pages of lurid testimony to describe the look in Keaton Otis's eyes.

The seven officers immediately involved were protected from immediate questioning following the shooting by Portland's notorious 48-hour rule.

The shooting occurred on the same day Portland's mayor had sacked the city's chief of police, who had taken direct control of the HEAT officers a month before. The officers admitted they had spent most of the day together discussing the sacking of their chief.

The Portland Police Review Board concluded the application of deadly force was "within policy". Today, all the officers remain part of the same team, or Portland's Gang Enforcement Team, working almost exclusively in the boundaries of the traditional black area of the city.

At the Fairness Hearings Judge Simon was presented with extensive documentation detailing the many anomalies and inconsistencies in the police investigation and the grand jury. He was asked to refer the police killing of Keaton Otis back to the DoJ and FBI for an independent and transparent investigation. He has yet to respond to that call.


For the detail of the case, anomalies, inconsistencies, video, links, etc, see:

Links to publicly available documents, police/witness statements, grand jury transcript, detective reports, etc:

Oregon District Court Fairness Hearings

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David Whitfield was a progressive journalist in the UK for 25+ years. For the past nine years he has taught math at a public high school in Portland, OR. Blogs on education at, on general stuff at (more...)

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