The city of Portland, Oregon will pay $2.1 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the police-involved death of a Black teen in 2017.
Commissioners apologized to the family of Quanice Hayes on Wednesday (March 10) before approving the settlement during a City Council meeting. The 17-year-old’s death sparked widespread protests in 2017 and served as a flashpoint during months-long demonstrations over racial justice in summer 2020.
A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Officer Andrew Hearst, who fired three shots at Hayes on February 9, 2017, during an investigation of an armed robbery.
Quanice’s family doesn’t believe justice was served as Officer Hearst received no punishment for killing the teenager. J. Ashlee Albies, the family’s attorney, called on the city to make meaningful changes so police don’t kill another Black teen.
Additionally, Steven Hayes, Quanice’s uncle, said, “There was no accountability,” according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
He said he watched his attorneys question Hearst during a deposition.
“I sat across the room from him,” Hayes recalled. “That was one of the worst things I’ve had to endure was this man not showing any remorse for killing one of my family members.”
According to a forensic biomechanical engineer hired by Hayes’ family, Quanice was on his knees with 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 fatal shots.
In his opinion, engineer Jesse L. Wobrock, said Quanice likely moved his hand to the ground to help him lie prone, according to ABC News.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, asked the council to approve the settlement. He also 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.”
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