The family of Quanice Hayes filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Portland and Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst in U.S. District Court in Portland today, related to Hearst's fatal shooting of Hayes on Feb. 9, 2017.
Hearst shot Hayes, 17, while responding to a report that Hayes earlier attempted an armed robbery. Police found a replica gun near Hayes' body.
Hearst told a grand jury last year that Hayes reached for his waistband while being arrested. The grand jury cleared Hearst of wrongdoing, but Hayes' family notified the city earlier this year it intended to file a civil lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Hayes' death is part of a pattern of disparate treatment of black Portlanders by the police bureau.
“At the time Defendant Hearst killed Quanice, Quanice was unarmed and posed no threat to the officers or anyone else,” says lawsuit, which the Hayes family paid for with a $23,000 crowdfunding campaign. “No officer, including Defendant Hearst, ever saw Quanice with a firearm or anything that looked like a firearm prior to using deadly force. Despite the presence of multiple less than lethal force options immediately available, no other officer used any force against Quanice.”
Today’s filing, which seeks unspecified damages, was first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
"The Hayes family demands answers for Quanice's death," said Jesse Merrithew, who along with J. Ashlee Albies filed the lawsuit said in a statement. "The family is determined to insure that no other family has to endure what they have endured."