Campus police at Portland State University shot and killed a man late Friday night outside of a campus dive bar. A fight had apparently broken out outside of the bar, the decades-old Cheerful Tortoise. Navy veteran and licensed concealed carrier Jason Washington intervened to try to break up the fight. At first the officers serve as spectators, watching the brawl go to the ground without intervening.
As Washington falls to the ground, his gun allegedly came out of his holster. As he reached for his gun, that’s when police drew their guns and opened fire, killing Washington.
The man killed by Portland State University campus police officers was “first and foremost a family man” and a Navy veteran according to friends.
Multiple friends identified the man as Jason Washington.
David Norton, president of the National Letter Carriers Association Branch #82, says he worked with Washington for about seven years with the U.S. Postal Service.
“He loved his daughters. He loved his granddaughter. He talked about them all the time,” said Norton.
“I love you Dad! You didn’t deserve this. Tell Papa I miss him too. Kai Loves you!” said one message, apparently from one of his daughters.
Another message said, “Cousin Jason — We all love you so much and can’t believe you are gone! Life won’t be the same without you! See you in Heaven! Watch over us!”
Norton described Washington as the type of person you want to get to know and spend time with. He said Washington was friends with everyone.
Witnesses told KATU that Washington was trying to break up a fight when the shooting happened. They said a gun fell out of Washington’s holster during the altercation. When he reached for it, they said police shot him.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said Washington had a concealed carry permit.
A bystander caught the entire incident on cell phone video. Let’s examine some of the key moments.
Jason Washington is in the grey shirt, seen here trying to hold back one of his friends from getting into a fight.
Washington’s gun had fallen out, and he reached to grab it, likely before anyone else could get to it and use it to shoot someone. A second cop enters the scene. Officer Trigger Happy immediately reaches for his own gun. Note that Washington’s back is turned to the officers.
And here’s where officers start to fire. Washington’s back is still turned toward the officers and there are two bystanders in the backdrop.Now, I don’t know where these two police officers trained, but most firearms instructors tell people that you cannot shoot someone in the back. If their back is turned to you, then they cannot possibly be a threat to you. Instructors also teach that you need to be aware of what is around and behind your intended target, so that should you miss or have a flyer it won’t harm any innocents.
It’s also interesting that the officers don’t seem to care all that much about the preceding physical altercation, as they didn’t intervene to break that up.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave, and have been identified as Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey.
PSU has only had armed police on campus since 2015, though McKenzie had been part of campus safety in an unarmed capacity since 2002, according to an article by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
And here’s the full video, courtesy of KOIN6: