The mother of a Portland teenager killed by police in January has decried the decision not to indict the officer who killed him, and demanded a federal investigation into what she called "the execution-style murder of my son."
Venus Hayes was quiet and firm this morning as she stood outside the Portland Building, describing a "bloodthirsty, murderous-minded" officer who shot her 17-year-old son, Quanice Hayes.
"Obviously the D.A.'s office is not for us," she said, "so I would like a higher authority to help us do an investigation so we can learn the truth about what happened to my baby."
On Tuesday, a Multnomah County grand jury ruled Officer Andrew Hearst's Jan. 9 shooting of Hayes was justified. A Portland Police summary of the grand jury's findings revealed that Hayes was crouched in an alcove of a Northeast Portland home, reached for his waistband, and had a replica gun beside him.
Police pointed to evidence that suggested Hayes had, earlier that morning, carjacked a man for his Oregon Trail card and held him at gunpoint for 30 minutes.
Venus Hayes disputed that account. "Quanice was on his knees when he was shot in the head and in the chest," she said. "I think that's important when anybody wants to say that he was this dangerous robber, which is irrelevant at this point because he's not here to stand up for himself."
In a City Council meeting, Mayor Ted Wheeler described Quanice Hayes' death as a "tragedy."
Here is the full video of Venus Hayes' remarks, from WW's news partner KATU-TV. (Scroll forward to the 30-minute mark.) The transcript of her remarks is below.
Hello. I am the mother of the real victim, Quanice Hayes. I would like to speak on behalf of myself and my supporters. Let's start by looking at the facts as accounted in summary provided by Police Detective Camora and also by District Attorney Don Reese.
Let's not lose sight of the real issue at hand. My son, Quanice Hayes, is the real victim in this situation. According to police, in cahoots with DA Don Reese, who tried to paint my son, my 17-year-old child, as a robber or a car prowler, all of which is not a reason to be executed in the United States of America or in the State of Oregon.
The fact remains that we will never know the truth about whether Quanice even committed those crimes because on the morning of Feb. 9, 2017, Quanice had the misfortune of having a bloodthirsty, murderous-minded Officer Andrew Hearst arrive on the scene. And, the same as in the Merle Hatch case, when Office Hearst shows up, someone has to die. Unfortunately, my son was his latest victim.
As reported by all news stations as of today, none has reported, nor has the DA mentioned, that Quanice did not in fact produce a replica gun and point it at officers, at any of the five officers that were on the scene.
I'd also like to say that since the beginning of this, on the day of Feb. 9, we have been misinformed or given false information. I found out that Quanice was killed nine—four—hours after he had already died, and I found out through Facebook. Nobody at the D.A.'s office or the Portland Police Bureau felt the need to contact me or my family to let us know that our loved one had passed away. Any information that we received after that we learned from the media. I've asked numerous times that the Portland Police contact us directly before releasing any kind of information.
They misinformed us, and told us Quanice was shot three times in the chest. We later found out from the death certificate that that wasn't true, that Quanice was shot in the head and twice in the chest. Also, the Portland Police and Detective Camora and the D.A,'s office told us that there was three officers on the scene. There was in fact five officers on the scene. None of the other officers felt the need to use deadly force, only Officer Hearst.
Quanice was on his knees when he was shot in the head and in the chest. I think that's important when anybody wants to say that he was this dangerous robber, which is irrelevant at this point because he's not here to stand up for himself.
We would like to ask that the federal government step in and do a full investigation into the execution-style murder of my son.
From the very beginning, we've been lied to about my son's death, and still any information I have received about my son's death has been verbal through the D.A.'s office and my attorney. I learned how he died from the death certificate. They didn't even tell us the exact place that he had died; I had to learn that from the death certificate.
I would like the community to stand with me and my family. Obviously the D.A.'s office is not for us, so I would like a higher authority to help us do an investigation so we can learn the truth about what happened to my baby.