Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Portland Police Officer Dane Reister / William Kyle Monroe / Inappropriate Deadly Force

Dane Reister

The Oregonian’s front page article today – “$2.3 M for Officer’s Mistake – is more than a little distressing.  I suppose that’s because the story seems too consistent with what appears to be a sad pattern at the Portland Police Bureau.

For those of you unfamiliar with the background of this story, it concerns a police officer named Dane Reister.  Reister reportedly loaded live rounds in a shotgun designed to shoot beanbags, and then shot a mentally disturbed, unarmed individual named William Kyle Monroe.  Reister contends it was an accident.  (Hard to believe I know.)  Monroe survived, barely, but is physically disabled for the rest of his life.  Reister fired four live rounds at Monroe; and attempted to fire a fifth round, but somehow ejected that round by mistake (or should I say by good fortune for Monroe, or Mr. Monroe would be almost certainly dead).

Relevant facts:

  • Reister has been charged with 3rd and 4th Degree Assault and Negligent Wounding (whatever that is) in the June 2011 shooting.  He has not gone to trial as yet, and remains free on ‘paid administrative leave’ from the Portland Police Bureau.
  • The Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese and the former Portland Mayor Sam Adams have apologized to Mr. Monroe, stating that the incident was most regrettable and admitting that Officer Reister violated several procedures in the shooting.

OK, then what more is there to say?  Well, for example, it has been almost two years since the shooting.  And, the Portland Police Bureau has yet to take any significant administrative action against Reister – other than putting him on a two year paid vacation.

Chief Reese comes-off as something of a weak administrator, even wimpy in his empty apology and his lack of action.  After all, it was not necessary for the Portland Police Bureau to await the outcome of the pending civil case before instituting an inquiry and the appropriate disciplinary action -- which would probably include Reister’s termination.  Maybe this is a little unfair.  The Chief may be a nice guy; but, unfortunately, leadership is apparently not the Chief’s forte.

Or, is it possible that he has been cowed by the strong police union that calls the shots around the Portland Police Bureau?  That would be my guess.

True Nelson
May 1, 2013