The grandmother of an African-American teenager who was shot and killed by police called the officer who shot him a “racist serial killer” while testifying to Portland's City Council on Wednesday.
In February, 17-year-old Quanice Hayes was killed by Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst. Police believed Hayes was armed after responding to a report of a robbery in Northeast Portland.
Hayes’ death has incited a series of protests in downtown Portland, some of which have disrupted City Council proceedings.
The family of Quanice Hayes and their supporters testified about the shooting after being invited by city commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz.
“Our job is to be active listeners and to make sure that we hear what the family is saying,” said Fritz as she introduced the two hours of testimony.
Hayes’ grandmother, Donna Hayes, called for Portland's police to be demilitarized. She also criticized the way her grandson was portrayed after his death.
“You can take my grandson and drag him through the mud,” she said. “Calling a kid a grown man and a drug addict. Hearst is a grown man and may be a drug addict. We don’t know because no one checked. Why wasn’t Hearst checked? Quanice was.”
According to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office, Quanice Hayes had cocaine, benzodiazepine and hydrocodone in his system when he died.
Donna Hayes also called Hearst “a racist serial killer.” Hearst was one of three police officers who shot and killed 50-year-old Merle Hatch in 2013.
“Hearst shot my grandson because he shouldn’t be a cop,” Donna Hayes said.
Officer Darryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, said he thought Donna Hayes’ statements about Hearst were “way off-base.”
“She’s never talked to him; she’s never met him; she doesn’t know who he is,” Turner said. “I understand their frustration because they’ve lost a loved one. However, I think to transfer that frustration and that feeling to someone else, I think, is something that they should look at before they make those statements.”
In March, a Multnomah County grand jury cleared Hearst of any wrongdoing in the shooting.