Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has upheld the Portland Police Bureau’s decision to deny the release of 911 tapes that led up to the fatal police shooting of Robert Delgado in Lents Park on April 16.
“Although this office remains committed to a public disclosure and examination of all of the investigative materials in this case upon the conclusion of enforcement proceedings, we find that the public interest does not require release of the 911 calls today,” Schmidt wrote May 25 in response to an appeal from WW.
On April 19, three days after the fatal shooting, the Police Bureau released an abridged version of police radio transmissions from the incident. The 18-minute recording begins as the Bureau of Emergency Communications dispatcher relays information to police about Delgado, who was believed to be armed.
However, the recording omits audio from any 911 caller or callers, making it impossible to determine the type of information police had about Delgado as they arrived at Lents Park. Police later announced the gun they say they found near Delgado was not a real firearm but a replica.
On April 19, WW requested the audio of any and all 911 calls relating to Delgado on the morning he was killed. On April 23, PPB denied WW’s request, citing an ongoing investigation.
On April 26, WW appealed the denial to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. On May 12, in response to the appeal, deputy chief city attorney Linda Law asked that the DA’s office deny the petition.
“Release that is premature would interfere with a complete and thorough investigation and could impact witness testimony at grand jury or trial,” Law wrote. “The public interest in the orderly progress of this investigation and prosecution outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this time.”
On May 25, Schmidt denied WW’s petition, effectively upholding the Police Bureau’s denial.
“The city has stated that this is not a permanent denial of release of the records, but that the records should not be released while the investigation is open,” Schmidt wrote. “For the reasons discussed below, we deny the petition.”