Content warning: This post contains videos of a fatal shooting.
Body camera videos released by Portland State University today show the chaotic moments leading up to the fatal shooting by campus police of a patron outside downtown bar the Cheerful Tortoise.
A Multnomah County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict the officers, Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey. This morning, PSU released the body camera footage from McKenzie and Dewey.
It offers a more detailed—if not necessarily clearer—picture of what happened in the brief moments between the officers arriving at a sidewalk bar fight and shooting James Washington, 45.
Previous witness reports said Washington had dropped a handgun from his waistband, then reached for the gun before McKenzie and Dewey killed him.
Today's body camera footage, which includes audio, doesn't show the gun falling to the sidewalk—that remains inconclusive. Instead, it shows Washington falling down, then standing up holding the gun, as one of the officers screamed at him to drop it.
"He's got a gun," one person is heard saying.
"Drop the gun," one officer, apparently Dewey, yells. "We will shoot you."
"Drop the gun," McKenzie yells. "Drop the gun. Drop the fucking gun!"
Then they open fire. About five seconds elapse between Dewey recognizing a gun and the officers shooting Washington.
The video footage shows a chaotic and rapidly escalating scene. Police shot Washington less than a minute after arriving at the bar fight.
It may be the first fatal shooting in Portland to be captured on body cameras. The Portland Police Bureau has discussed purchasing body cams for years, but floundered over budgets and community objections.
Update, 2:15 pm: The police report shows that Washington had "holstered" a friend's gun, not his own, OPB reports.
We have also updated this post to clarify that the body camera footage does not show the gun falling out of Washington's waistband.