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Protesters Demand New Investigation into Death of Jacklynn FordKevin Hays Salem-News.com
Video by: Salem-News.com's Jerry Freeman.
(SALEM, Ore. ) - About a dozen protesters took to the streets of downtown Salem Friday afternoon, demanding that a new investigation begin in the death of 25-year Jacklynn Rashaun Ford.
Ford was shot on Friday May 9, after 12-year veteran Salem police officer Trevor Morrison, made a traffic stop on a vehicle on Watson Ave NE near Alameda St NE at approximately 10:07 p.m.
A foot pursuit ensued and shortly thereafter shots were fired and the suspect was wounded. Officer Morrison is a canine officer, and his canine, Baco, was also involved in the pursuit. Officers administered emergency first aid to the suspect until medics could arrive, and the suspect was transported to Salem Hospital and was declared deceased at the hospital.
An autopsy was conducted by Oregon State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson. The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
An independent police investigation by the Oregon State Police Major Crimes Division, and a Marion County grand jury determined that Ford pointed a loaded handgun at Morrison just before she was shot, and that the shooting was justified.
According to findlaw.com, in Oregon, a grand jury hearing, like a preliminary hearing, is to determine if enough probable cause is present to send a case to trial. The difference between the two is that with a grand jury hearing, that decision is made by a panel of seven people with no Judge present.
If 5 of the 7 jurors believe sufficient evidence is present, they will return an indictment, or formal charge, to the court.
Once it has been determined that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and there is reason to believe that person may have committed it, the case is bound over to circuit court.
Under normal courtroom rules of evidence, exhibits and other testimony must adhere to strict rules before admission. However, a grand jury had broad power to see and hear almost anything they would like.
However, unlike the vast majority of trials, grand jury proceedings are kept in strict confidence. This serves two purposes: first, it encourages witnesses to speak freely and without fear of retaliation. Second, it protects the potential defendant's reputation in case the jury does not decide to indict.
However, the protesters who marched from the Marion County Courthouse to the Salem Police Department, say Salem Police and officer Morrison have changed their stories about the shooting on multiple occasions and they want a new independent investigation to begin.
"Salem police have more than one, two, three different stories of the tragic shooting." "None of which even come close to what the eye-witnesses told investigators and my family," said Marci McClellan, the victims Aunt.
"In order for people to maintain respect for authority, authority needs to be accountable for decisions made that affect the lives of those they are sworn to protect and serve, particularly with regards to use of deadly force," says local citizens advocate Michele Darr.
The family said in a statement that Morrison's own original report stated that the victim had no weapon and subsequent conflicting reports lead family members and others to believe that the grand jury decision to exonerate Morrison was grievously erroneous and needs to be reconsidered.
Eric Pierce and Sherry Williams were held up in traffic during the traffic stop, and Pierce said, "We had pulled off the road and heard, Pow! Pow!"
There were no arrests or confrontations with police during Friday's protest march.
Video from Friday's Protest March by Salem-News.com's Jerry Freeman
Video from the scene on May 9 by Salem-News.com's Jerry Freeman
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