About 100 protesters gathered in Tigard on Thursday night, a day after police there fatally shot a man during a domestic violence call.
Demonstrators gathered downtown for a march to the city’s police department. While they were gathering, protesters said, someone threw a firework into the group from the freeway.
Tigard police shot and killed Jacob MacDuff, 26, Wednesday night when, according to the department, they were responding to a domestic violence call. MacDuff was in his car when officers tried to arrest him.
“Officers confronted Mr. McDuff in his vehicle to effectuate their arrest and discovered that he was armed with a knife,” a Tigard police press release said. “Mr. McDuff refused to surrender to police, and during the struggle to arrest Mr. McDuff, a Tigard Police Officer shot and killed Mr. McDuff.”
But according to the Oregonian/OregonLive, a dispatcher told responding officers that police had been called to the apartment the prior day for “12-34” issues, which are concerns about mental health.
Reports that MacDuff had been in a mental-health crisis mobilized protesters Thursday night. The group marched toward the police station, where they spray painted the building and broke windows.
Tigard police took to Twitter to declare the protest a riot, but multiple protesters said the riot delcaration was not announced on the ground. After the group dispersed, a vigil was held at the apartment where MacDuff was killed.
Police said they arrested one person who is being charged with one count of riot.
Law enforcement responses to people experiencing mental-health crises have been a concern for years. People with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit working to improve access to mental-health treatment.
“Because of the disproportionate volume of contact between individuals with serious mental illness and law enforcement, reducing the likelihood of police interaction with individuals in psychiatric crisis may represent the single most immediate, practical strategy for reducing fatal police encounters in the United States,” a Treatment Advocacy Center study concluded.
Use of force against people in mental-health crisis led to the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against Portland in 2011, which ultimately resulted in a settlement agreement currently in place mandating reforms to policing in that city.
Police haven’t identified the officer who killed MacDuff.