Portland Police Bureau Declines to Release 911 Tapes That Led to Fatal Shooting of Robert Delgado

The denial lands one week after the shooting in Lents Park.

A man appeals to Portland police officers.

The Portland Police Bureau on Friday said it will not release audio of the 911 call or calls that preceded the April 16 fatal shooting of Robert Delgado by a Portland police officer in Lents Park.

On Monday, WW requested the audio of any and all 911 calls received by the city’s Bureau of Emergency Communications “on the morning of April 16, 2021, in which the caller reported a man causing a disturbance at Lents Park.”

Today, the city denied the request, citing an open investigation.

“The information you have requested belongs to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB),” the city wrote. “At this time, your request has been denied by PPB as it is directly related to an open investigation and therefore the records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to ORS 192.345(3), investigatory information for criminal law purposes.”

Update 10:05 am, Monday, April 26: PPB spokesman Sgt. Kevin Allen provided more reasoning for the bureau’s denial.

“It is rare for much information to be released prior to presentation before a grand jury, but I know that there has been a lot of discussions between the District Attorney’s office, the Police Bureau, and the Mayor’s office about wanting to be as forthcoming as possible while still protecting the integrity of the investigation,” Allen said. “That’s why additional details have been shared already.

“I don’t have a timeline of when the 911 calls will be released,” Allen continued. “In past incidents, when a grand jury has issued a not true bill decision, we have proactively release investigative documents on our website.”

The denial leaves a hole in the center of public understanding of what happened the morning of April 16.

On Monday, the bureau released a truncated version of police radio transmissions from the fatal shooting. That version omitted any audio from the 911 caller or callers that subsequently triggered a police response to Lents Park.

The recordings of 911 calls could provide insight into the description of the so-called firearm that police believed Delgado had, and what exactly he was doing with it.

As the Police Bureau announced April 19, the gun Delgado allegedly had with him turned out to be a replica handgun, with an orange tip that indicates the gun is fake.

Portland Police Officer Zachary DeLong shot Delgado from 90 feet away, according to PPB. Video shows him standing behind a tree and aiming at Delgado with an AR-15 rifle.