The mother of a 17-year-old African-American teen shot and killed by a Portland Police officer in February is calling for a federal investigation into the death of her son.
“I would like the community to stand with us, with me and my family,” said Venus Hayes, the mother of Quanice Derrick Hayes, during a news conference in downtown Portland on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a Multnomah County grand jury declined to charge officer Andrew Hearst in Hayes’ shooting death.
“Quanice was on his knees when he was shot in the head and in the chest,” Hayes said. “I think that’s important when anybody wants to say that he was this dangerous robber.”
Hayes said her son is the victim in the case and that he was painted by police as a robber or a car prowler.
“All of which is not a reason to be executed in the United State of America or the state of Oregon,” Hayes said.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said Tuesday that there are still many questions surrounding the details of the incident. He said transcripts of the testimony heard by the grand jury would be expedited and, he expects, released to the public.
“Early on, I met with Quanice Hayes’ mother and other close family members to share my sympathy over the death of their loved one,” Underhill said in a statement. “I further recognize the impact on Officer Hearst, his family and co-workers as well as our community as we collectively move forward.”
On Feb. 9, Hearst received a report of an armed robbery at 7:24 a.m. at the Portland Value Inn hotel on 82nd Avenue, police said in a statement Tuesday.
“The victim told police that the suspect, later determined to be Hayes, put a gun to his head and held him hostage for approximately 30 minutes in the car then stole his Oregon Trail EBT card and an item of clothing,” the Portland Police Bureau wrote in the statement.
Police said they also received a 911 call at 7:26 a.m. about a car prowler at the nearby Banfield Pet Hospital.
“An article of clothing found in the victim’s car was linked to the robbery victim at the Portland Value Inn,” police said.
A second 911 call was logged at 7:36 a.m., when a homeowner on Northeast Tillamook Street said an “unwanted person” entered his or her yard.
“The caller provided a description of the suspect consistent with the previous two 9-1-1 calls,” police said. “Near the Tillamook address, Hayes left behind a small bag and items scattered about the ground, some of which were determined to have come from the car prowl at the Banfield Pet Hospital.”
Police said they located Hayes at 7:48 a.m. and he ran. Officers then set up a perimeter and began to search for Hayes using a police dog, according to the statement.
Officers said they located Hayes at 9:21 a.m., crouching in an alcove between a house and a garage located on Northeast Hancock Street.
“Officers believed he was armed with a handgun, as reported by the robbery victim, and was involved in the car prowl and burglary,” Portland police said.
“Hayes was ordered multiple times by officers to keep his hands up, but made repeated and deliberate motions with his hands to the area of his waistband and pockets,” the statement continued. “During this encounter, Officer Hearst fired three shots from his patrol rifle at Hayes, striking and killing him.”
Hayes’ mother indicated that her communication with the Portland Police Bureau and district’s attorney office is strained. She said she’s been referring their calls to her lawyer.
Hayes said she found out her son was killed nine hours after the shooting, and first learned of his death on Facebook.
Police Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson confirmed that Hayes learned of her son’s death on social media before detectives were able to officially notify the family, which he called “truly regrettable.”
Simpson said the effort to notify the family was delayed because Hayes wasn’t carrying ID. His fingerprints initially matched a different name in the police database, and it took officers time to determine his real identity.
The Oregon Medical Examiner determined Hayes was shot twice in the torso and once in the head.
But during Wednesday’s news conference, Hayes’ mother said she and others had been misinformed by police.
“We later found from the death certificate that that wasn’t true, that my son was shot in the head and twice in the chest,” she said.
Hayes had cocaine, benzodiazepine and hydrocodone in his system at time of death, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Hayes said she was originally told by police and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office that there were three officers on the scene.
Speaking Wednesday, she said she now believes there were five officers at the scene. Hayes said those inconsistencies make her question the police force’s account of events.
“None of the other officers felt the need to use deadly force,” Hayes said, “only Officer Hearst.”
Police Spokesman Pete Simpson said the bureau has provided accurate, if limited, information to the Hayes family about the shooting.
“It is standard to keep investigative information private during an open investigation of any kind, not just officer-involved shootings,” he said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said he could not comment on the Hayes family’s request.