PPRC Friday rally and march appeals to community to join Saturday’s action for police reform and accountability


Event: PPRC Rally and March for Peace and Justice
Date: Friday, May 23rd, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition Friday 5:00 p.m. rally and march at Pioneer Courthouse Square will focus on the shooting death of 21-year-old Ms. Kendra James. "This Saturday the many diverse communities of our city are coming together to rally and march for accountability and reform in our Police bureau," said Mikel Clayhold, a volunteer with the PPRC. "If the police officer was acting within the state law when he brought Kendra James’ life to an end at a routine traffic stop, then we have to change state law." The Saturday rally and march begin at 12:00 Noon at Alberta Park, N.E. 20th & Killingsworth, will proceed to the N.E. Police Precinct and then to the Kendra James Memorial site at the N. Skidmore overpass (at N. Michigan).

"They tell us that a police officer is allowed to kill if they ‘reasonably believe’ they face ‘an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury’ and they tell us that Officer Scott McCollister felt just this kind of threat from Kendra James," said Clayhold. Local peace and justice activists are urging the broader community community to question the decision to kill under such dubious circumstances, and to ask whether it was reasonable or ethical to respond to the danger posed by Kendra James with deadly force. "We don’t know why she reacted the way she did that night, we don’t know the fear and panic that she felt," said Clayhold, "but we do know that she did not deserve to die, and we must challenge a system of laws and a grand jury review process that looks at this tragedy and unanimously decides that there was nothing wrong here."

Local community activists believe that responsibility for this latest killing does not lie solely with the police officers directly involved. "This is an issue of training, an issue of police procedures, an issue of state law, and an issue of precedents set by our police bureau’s leadership," said Clayhold. "The awards presented to the officers who killed Jose Santo Victor Mejia Poot sent precisely the wrong message, and we fear for how many others may die before we make the changes needed to prevent future tragedies."



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