An investigation was underway in Oregon for what witnesses described as police hastily killing an innocent Black man who was trying to be a peacemaker before officers labeled him a suspect and shot him.
Jason Washington, who was armed, had a valid concealed carry permit when Portland State University officers shot the 45-year-old grandfather early Friday morning in Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Monday.
While trying to break up a fight, Washington’s gun reportedly fell from his holster. As he tried to pick it up, police immediately shot him, witness Keyaira Smith, who recorded the shooting, told the news outlet.
The cops, identified as Officer Shawn McKenzie, who has been with the campus public safety office since 2002, and Officer James Dewey, who’s been there since 2014, were on paid administrative leave, Oregonlive reported.
McKenzie and Dewey were near a downtown bar named The Cheerful Tortoise around 1:30 a.m. when they noticed a fight, the Portland police said. They yelled that there was a gun and at least one of them immediately opened fire, witnesses said, according to Oregonlive.
Washington was at the bar with friends celebrating the Oregon State University baseball team winning the College World Series, Mike Joseph, a friend and co-worker told Oregonlive. Washington, who was not involved in the altercation, tried to calm things down after a man used racial slurs when speaking to another man.
What the cops apparently didn’t see when they came upon the scene was that Washington was “trying to be a Good Samaritan,” Smith noted.
A local newscast showed video footage from the fateful altercation that was apparently recorded by a bystander’s cellphone.
Portland State University President Rahman Shoureshi asked the campus public safety chief to review the incident. The Portland Police Bureau are now investigating the shooting.
Dozens of protesters were demanding justice for Washington and that the campus police are disarmed.
Washington, a U.S. postal worker and Navy veteran, left behind three daughters and a 5-year-old granddaughter.