Portland has moved on since 25-year-old Keaton Dupree Otis was shot to death by police during a traffic stop May 12, 2010 – but his family and friends are not letting go.
His father, Frederick Bryant, has held a vigil – rain or shine -- on the 12th of every month since the shooting, near the Lloyd Center-area street-corner where it happened.
The police department says a bond developed between Officer Chris Burley, who was shot in the incident, and Keaton's mother Felesia, which has led Burley to dedicate himself to working with people living with mental illness.
A one-year anniversary memorial celebration of Otis' life is Thursday, May 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Miracles Club, 4069 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Bryant says it is possible to repair some of the bad relations between law enforcement and community members over incidents like his son's shooting, but he believes the job is made worse by distrust on both sides.
"Just be willing to stay open minded and know that we're not trying to say our whole police department has gone wrong but we know there are issues and we need to address them," he says.
"Our deepest desire is for healing for all people touched by this tragic incident," Portland Police spokesman Robert King said Wednesday.
Otis had been experiencing episodes of depression and paranoia before the summery afternoon when one police officer decided to pull him over because, officers later told investigators, Otis was wearing a hoodie pulled up over his head and quickly turned his car onto a side street when he realized he was being followed by police.
His mother told reporters that her son had stopped taking his medications for a diagnosed progressive mood disorder, and that she and his step-father were investigating how to get Keaton committed to a mental health facility.
He was shot the afternoon before the family was to meet with his health practitioner to discuss it.
Grand jury records show that as police decided to pull over Otis' car, they noted it wasn't linked to any offenses, but that it came back "registered to a woman." After they put on sirens, his driving became erratic; eventually seven police officers surrounded the vehicle with guns drawn.
All were members of the Hotspot Enforcement Action Team, which monitors and investigates gang activity. But despite the fact that Otis was carrying a handgun in his vehicle he had no gang ties or police record.
The police investigation found that Otis, who never got out of his car, began screaming obscenities at the officers.
Police reports said Otis pulled his gun and shot Officer Burley twice in the groin before dying in a shower of bullets from Officers James Defrain, Cody Berne and Andrew Polas.
Three of the officers fired more than 30 bullets into Otis' car; the autopsy showed he had been hit 23 times. Although witnesses videotaping the scene with cell phones said they never saw a gun, a grand jury ruled the officers committed no wrongdoing.
Burley was hospitalized and released.
The incident led to a change in bureau leadership and a roster of proposed reforms including construction of a new mental health crisis center and rules on how officers respond to individuals with mental health problems.
King says Burley now works with the new Mobile Crisis Unit, which partners with Project Respond and other social service providers when police are called out on mental health disturbances.
"The Unit is proactive in helping people struggling with mental illness and people in mental health crisis," King said. "Officer Burley continues to work closely with NAMI, (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) but recognizes there is much work left to do to help people when they need it most."
"We want the people to come out and know that we're working for change," Bryant said of Thursday's memorial. "We need to hold people accountable.
"We're supposed to be able to walk down the street and live our lives, and not walk down the street and cringe when we see officers creeping up behind us or whatnot," Bryant said.
"They have a responsibility to us, and we have one to them, it's mutual. And there's a break in there that needs to be closed up."