April 29th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: Environment, Health, Housing, PDX News, Multnomah County

Vigil Set for Kendra James, Killed by Portland Police 10 Years Ago

     
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The Albina Ministerial Alliance will hold a vigil May 5 to remember Kendra James, who was shot and killed 10 years ago by Portland police during a traffic stop.

James, 25, was shot by Portland Officer Scott McCollister on May 5, 2003, when she tried to drive away while McCollister climbed most of the way into the car in order to remove her.

According to a June 2003 WW story, "attempts to pull her out by her hair, and to use pepper spray and a Taser were unsuccessful. James did not get out of the car when ordered, even after McCollister put his pistol to her head and yelled at her to stop. Instead, she threw the car into drive, and it started rolling forward."

James was not armed, although police reported that McCollister's foot was run over as she attempted to get away.

McCollister fired, killing her—the shooting sparked massive protests. A Multnomah County Grand Jury declined to prosecute McCollister, saying his actions were in line with department policy.

"James' death was a touchstone for many in Portland who saw the shooting of an unarmed African American woman as a symptom of a Police Bureau needing major reforms," the AMA says in a press release. "In many ways her death led the accountability efforts down the path to the changes now being sought as a remedy by the Department of Justice in their lawsuit against the city."

The memorial will be held at 5 pm outside the Greater Faith Baptist Church, at 931 N Skidmore St., just yards away from the spot where James was killed. The release says members of James' family will be in attendance.

AMA chairman Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr, was not immediately available for comment.

 
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