Despite activist demands, grand jury clears Portland officer who fatally shot man who tried to stab him

PORTLAND, OR- On Wednesday, September 15th, prosecutors reported that a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing in a fatal officer-involved shooting where a man brandished a screwdriver at police.

According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Portland Police Officer Curtis Brown will not face criminal charges related to the fatal June 24th shooting of Michael Ray Townsend. 

Four Portland firefighter medics and two police officers initially responded to Townsend’s 911 call for help during an alleged mental health crisis. Townsend was at a Motel 6 off Northeast Grand Avenue and Holladay Street.

The two officers reportedly talked with Townsend as he sat at the bottom of an outer stairwell and asked him if he wanted to be taken to a hospital. When Townsend said he did, the officers told him they would need to pat him down to check for any weapons.

According to authorities, that is when Townsend became agitated and pulled out a sharp-ended screwdriver with his right hand. He began moving toward Brown, who rushed backward with his duty weapon pointed at Townsend. 

The district attorney’s office said that as Brown moved backwards, he told Townsend to drop the weapon. While brandishing the screwdriver, Townsend increased his pace toward the officer. Brown then fired two shots at Townsend. 

Townsend collapsed in the motel parking lot and died in an ambulance on the way to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. The district attorney’s office said that he had consumed a “large amount” of methamphetamine before calling 911 for help. 

Rachel Steven, Townsend’s sister and a behavioral therapist, said in a statement:

“He did what we train people to do, which is ask for help when you need help. He did the right thing.”

Motel surveillance video released by the bureau showed Townsend advancing toward Brown, lunging at him with a screwdriver that had been modified in some way. In a statement released with the video, Chief Chuck Lovell said:

“While the investigation is still in its early stages, and releasing evidence at this point is rare, providing this video is critical to combat misinformation being spread.”

He added:

“Transparency and community trust are extremely important to us, but so is a full, complete, and thorough investigation.

This illustrates how important it is to allow the investigation process to unfold before spreading unverified information. An officer use of deadly force is among the most important investigations that we do, and it’s crucial that we take the time to do it right.”

According to reports, after the shooting a crowd of protesters grew at the scene throughout that evening and the situation became tense at times between protesters and police. Police said people in the crowd threw objects and that someone grabbed an officer’s baton.

Another officer intervened and was sprayed with a chemical. Officers from around the city responded to the scene to provide security. 

Court records show Townsend had numerous misdemeanor convictions in California between 2000 and 2016, including driving with a suspended license, possession of controlled substances, and disorderly conduct. 

He was on federal supervised release and state probation at the time of his death in Portland, having convictions in state court for robbery in 2016, criminal mischief and menacing in 2020 and in federal court for an unarmed bank robbery in 2018.

In December, he violated the conditions of his federal supervised release and it was revoked. He had been convicted in 2018 for an unarmed robbery in downtown Portland and sentenced to two years and six months.

A prosecutor attributed Townsend’s violations to his “mental illness and heavy use of methamphetamine.” Court records show he failed to participate in required mental health treatment, report to his federal probation officer or take his mental health medications. 

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Officer-involved shooting in Portland sparks protests because people thought the victim was black

June 26th, 2021

PORTLAND, OR – An officer-involved shooting of a reportedly armed suspect in Portland stirred unrest within the community, resulting in protests forming around the crime scene where the shooting transpired.

Some individuals within the mob that gathered around the crime scene were said to have been throwing various objects at officers on-scene.

According to police officials, Portland Police were dispatched to a motel within the 500 block of Northeast Holladay Street on June 24th at approximately 7:06 p.m. in response to “a welfare check on a white adult male dressed in all black.”

While Portland Police have furnished few details regarding what led up to the officer-involved shooting, all that was noted via the press release from the department was that officers “encountered a man matching that description and an officer involved shooting took place.”

The subject was transported to an area hospital, but unfortunately succumbed to his wounds.

A local report from KOIN 6 noted that a witness to the officer-involved shooting spoke with their news crew on scene, and proclaimed the officer-involved shooting occurred as a result of the subject stabbing another individual:

“A witness told KOIN 6 the incident may have started as a fight between two men and one stabbed the other. The witness said police shot the stabbing suspect twice in the back in the parking lot of a Motel 6. That account has not been confirmed by police.”

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell shared a video to Twitter where he provided a statement on the investigation, only describing the incident as a “difficult and dynamic situation” and not affording additional context beyond that:

“Our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face. I want to thank all our members who responded to the scene as well as those who were out taking emergency calls in the city. I’m thankful and proud of their efforts.”

As officers were working the scene, a crowd had begun to form around the area, consisting of protesters bemoaning the officer-involved shooting.

Apparently, there was misleading chatter online regarding the incident, which the Portland Police issued a tweet addressing misinformation around the incident that was circulating:

“There is erroneous information being circulated on social media regarding in the officer involved shooting in the Lloyd district. We can confirm that the subject involved is an adult white male. No one else was injured.”

The source of the misinformation seems to have been from Grace Morgan, a Portland based activist that moonlights as an “independent journalist” that shared the following captioned tweet accompanied by a video of the crime scene:

“I’m on scene in NE Portland at the sight where Portland Police shot an unarmed brown person. There is speculation that this person is deceased, but not confirmed. Protesters are quickly arriving – the crowd chant “fuck 12!”. There’s around 30 people here now.”

According to reports, some of the officers on scene had various objects thrown at them by members of the crowd that had formed, as well as one officer who nearly had his baton stolen by a member of the crowd after the officer shoved the man away.

The instances of objects thrown at officers and the baton incident were captured on video.

It’s unclear if any of the criminal acts that occurred around the crime scene resulted in any arrests.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case.

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In other news related to Portland, a man who is facing charges of attempted murder of police officers during the riots from 2020 found himself bailed out of jail by a local bail fund. 

However, that freedom was short lived, as the man was arrested days later by the FBI under federal charges connected to his alleged criminal exploits that saw him charged at the state level. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in June. 

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PORTLAND, OR – A Portland-based bail fund recently fronted the money to see an alleged attempted murderer freed from jail back in May.

However, that freedom was apparently short lived, as the FBI arrested the individual freed by this bail fund three days after he walked out of the Multnomah County jail.

Back in April, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office filed a litany of felony charges against 24-year-old Malik Muhammad in connection with criminal acts committed by the defendant during protests and riots that occurred in September and October of 2020 in Portland.

Among the most serious of charges coming from prosecutors in Portland are attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder and unlawful manufacture of an explosive device, which reportedly stems from a September riot where Mohammed had thrown Molotov cocktails at police.

On April 29th, Muhammad was booked into the Multnomah County jail and was being held on a $2.125 million bond.

Flash forward to May, and in comes the Portland Freedom Fund into the fold, an organization that professes a desire to see an end to cash bail. This organization fronted the 10% needed to post Muhammad’s bond, and he walked free from the jail on May 26th.

With good reason, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office tried to have the defendant’s bail revoked considering the severity of the charges. However, the FBI managed to solve the problem relatively quickly, arresting Muhammad three days after he was released on bail.

The Department of Justice brought charges against Muhammad in connection with the very case he’s facing in Portland, which these charges relate to what Portland Police discovered in a trailer belonging to Muhammad back in October of 2020.

Portland Police Bureau Detective Meredith Hopper was investigating the case being built against Muhammad and reported finding several firearms stashed in a trailer belonging to Muhammad back on October 12th, which included “an AR-15 and shotguns.”

State court documents note that this AR-15 that was uncovered by the detective belonged to a man that lived in Indianapolis, who claimed that Muhammad “was attempting to recruit people to engage in violent activities including an armed forceful takeover of a radio or television station.”

This AR-15 owner also described Muhammad as “a communist revolutionary who was attempting to gather people with firearms to engage in acts of violence.”

Federal court documents outlining the charges brought by the Department of Justice note that Muhammad isn’t even a Portland resident, but a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana. Which, according to the DOJ press release on Muhammad’s charges, he was travelling to other states to plan violent uprisings with various “extremist groups”:

“Muhammad’s trip to Portland does not appear to be an isolated event. Investigators obtained evidence that he traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, in August 2020 to meet with anti-government and anti-authority violent extremist groups to conduct firearms and tactical training.

Investigators also obtained several public social media posts by Muhammad promoting violence toward law enforcement in other cities including Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Chicago.”

The federal charges brought against Muhammad consist of possession of unregistered destructive devices, engaging in civil disorder and obstructing law enforcement, and using explosives to commit a federal felony.

While Muhammad managed to be bailed out of county jail in Oregon for the state-level charges, a U.S. Magistrate Judge ordered him to be held in custody on his federal charges on June 1st.

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We at Law Enforcement Today recently shared a report about how despite the violence and lawlessness that has plagued the city of Portland, city officials decided it was a great time to promote tourism in the city. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR- In the last year, Portland has descended into nightly violent protests, anarchy, chaos, and madness; a path that the once vibrant city chose for itself.

Mayor Ted Wheeler was chased from his multi-million dollar home by Antifa and Portland’s Soros-backed District Attorney Mike Schmidt continues to let violent rioters out of jail night after night, freeing them to riot over and over, destroying their local businesses, police buildings, and federal buildings.

Decisions made by the mayor and city council actually handcuffed police from taking necessary actions to keep the city safe and even went as far as charging an officer for his actions during the riots. The entire Rapid Response Team (RRT) quit in protest of how Portland is ran from top to bottom. 

It took 18 months of steady abuse by rioters and leadership in the city of Portland for police to say no more.

As one retired Portland police detective said:

“If anyone did to a horse or a dog what has been done to PPB cops for 18 months, that person would have amassed hundreds of counts of felony animal abuse, but it’s perfectly OK to do it to cops, wholesale, and with an army of anarchist pals.”

Portland single-handedly destroyed its reputation for being peaceful and one-of-a-kind to being violent, dangerous, and even insurrectionist. And instead of replacing its awful elected leadership or backing its police to solve their problems, it bought a full-page ad in the New York Times to tell people they should really, truly visit Portland. 

They purchased the full-page advertisement in an attempt to repair its image and attract tourists following a tumultuous year of violent demonstrations.

Travel Portland purchased the ad, which is set to run through August to encourage overnight local hotel and short-term rental stays from leisure travelers from the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Reportedly, it is part of a campaign called “This is Portland.” Travel Portland also released a video featuring more than 20 Portland chefs, store owners, athletes, performers, and artists that is narrated with the same text written in the full-page Times ad.

As if videos of chefs and performers can replace videos of Antifa taking over the city night after night, setting buildings on fire night after night. The full-page ad undoubtedly leaves out events like what is show below:

The ad, written in a format resembling a poem, said, in part:

“This is Portland. You’ve heard a lot about us lately. It’s been awhile since you heard from us. Some of what you heard about Portland is true. Some is not. What matters most is that we’re true to ourselves.

“This is the kind of place where new ideas are welcome, whether they’re creative, cutting edge or curious at first glance. You can speak up here. You can be yourself here. We have some of the loudest voices on the West Coast and yes, passion pushes the volume all the way up. We’ve always been like this. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The ad signs off by saying:

“Come see for yourself. Love, Portland.”

The ad was launched just days after nearly 50 Portland Police Bureau officers resigned from their voluntary positions on the RRT over the indictment of Officer Corey Budworth, who prosecutors are alleging assaulted a photographer during an overnight riot in August 202o.

Portland Police Association, the union representing rank-and-file officers, stated that Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt of failing to hold those rioters bent on destruction accountable, pointing out that at the time of the alleged assault, crowds of demonstrators with shields and dressed in black bloc attire tossed a Molotov cocktail at the Multnomah Building, setting it on fire.

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Author: Jenna Curren


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