A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a Black teen shot and killed by Portland, Ore., police has ended with the city paying over $2 million to the family.
According to ABC News, Quanice Hayes was shot and killed by Officer Andrew Hearst in February 2017 while Hearst was investigating an armed robbery. Hayes’ death sparked multiple protests in the city and has been frequently cited as an example of why police reform is needed in the city. A grand jury eventually found Hearst not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing as a result of the shooting.
From ABC News:
According to previously released investigations, police discovered Hayes in an alcove in front of a home and ordered him to keep his hands up and crawl on the driveway toward officers. When Hayes appeared to reach toward his waistband, Hearst said he fired, killing Hayes.
Officers found a fake airsoft pistol in a flowerbed about 18 inches away from Hayes, according to court records.
The lawyer for Hayes’ family, J. Ashlee Albies, called on the city this week to make meaningful changes so another Black teenager doesn’t die by police hands.
“There was no accountability,” said Steven Hayes, Quanice Hayes’ uncle, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
Forensic biomechanical engineer Jesse L. Wobrock was hired by the family’s attorneys to review the path of the bullet wounds. Wobrock found that Hayes was on his knees and was likely in the process of complying with the officer’s request to “get on his face” when he was shot. Wobrock theorized that Hayes was moving his hand so that he could lay on the ground prone. Even when complying we’re somehow at fault for our own deaths.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who’s also the police commissioner, urged City Council to approve the settlement. He cited how whether it’s education or the law, the systems in place often fail young Black and brown men. He asked city officials to consider how they could “improve the public structures and systems that too often are unable to prevent the circumstances that caused us to be here today,” and noted that no amount of money could replace what the family has lost.
The county commissioners offered the family an apology while approving the settlement.