PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — City commissioners apologized Wednesday to the family of a 17-year-old shot and killed by Portland police, before approving a $2.1 million settlement of the family’s federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Quanice Hayes’ grandmother and two uncles said they remain disturbed that Officer Andrew Hearst who fired the deadly shots and had been involved in a previous shooting still works for the Police Bureau and faced no discipline, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Their lawyer, J. Ashlee Albies, called on the city to make meaningful changes so another Black teenager doesn’t die by police hands.
“There was no accountability,” said Steven Hayes, Quanice Hayes’ uncle who was named as the family’s representative in the lawsuit.
A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Hearst.
The shooting happened Feb. 9, 2017, after police discovered Hayes, a suspect in an armed robbery earlier that day, 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.
The family’s lawyers hired forensic biomechanical engineer Jesse L. Wobrock, who reviewed the paths of the three bullets that hit Hayes and his wounds.
Wobrock found that Hayes was on his knees, his head and neck bent forward and his torso leaning slightly forward to comply with officer orders to “go down to his face” when Hearst fired the shots.
Hayes likely moved his hand to the ground to help him lie prone, Wobrock’s opinion said.
Officers found an airsoft pistol in a flower bed about 18 inches away from Hayes’ body, according to court records.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as police commissioner, urged the council to approve the settlement, recognizing that money won’t replace the family’s loss.
He urged everyone to consider how “to improve the public structures and systems that too often are unable to prevent the circumstances that caused us to be here today,” citing how schools, workplaces and other institutions fail young men, particularly Black and brown young men.
Commissioners Carmen Rubio, Dan Ryan, Jo Ann Hardesty and Mingus Mapps all apologized to Hayes’ family members for the pain and suffering they’ve endured.