Man praised for helping out Tigard officer during tussle
Kent Willey was sitting inside his pickup in front of the Tigard Public Library around 2:45 p.m. Monday when he saw an incident involving a Tigard police officer quickly unfold and get nasty.
Police reported that the library staff was having trouble with a man inside so they called police.
That's when Tigard Police Officer Brian Jackson arrived and asked the man if they could talk outside. However, they only made it to the foyer.
Getting ready to go inside, Willey, a Lake Oswego resident, said he knew something was up.
"I saw the suspect's demeanor change and become aggressive," said Willey. "I could see it was coming."
What happened next was Willey "saw the officer go down," along with the suspect, tussling on the floor inside the glass-enclosed front entryway.
The 52-year-old Willey quickly exited his truck – on two bad knees no less – and started sprinting toward the front door.
"I jumped on the guy and we were rolling around," said Willey. "The guy reached out and started choking me."
In fact, the suspect choked Willey not once but twice, something Willey called to the attention of Officer Jackson.
"(The officer) tapped me on the back and said, 'Let's lay on him' (until backup arrives)."
Other officers quickly raced up and took the man, later identified as Devonte Anthony Boatright, 23, who has no permanent adddress, into custody.
He was charged with interfering with a police officer, resisting arrest, fourth-degree assault and assault on a public safety officer and lodged at Washington County Jail.
(Both Willey and Jackson, a 17-year veteran of the Tigard Police Department, received minor injuries in the melee.)
On Thursday, Tigard police honored the Good Samaritan with a certificate of appreciation and a police coin during a brief ceremony and reception at Tigard City Hall with remarks of appreciation from Tigard Chief Kathy McAlpine.
She praised Willey for his selfless actions.
"People are more apt to record (the situation) and catch it on video," McAlpine pointed out after the ceremony. "When somebody does put themselves in harm's way … it is appreciated."
Willey, who has law enforcement individuals in his family, said he was completely taken by surprise by the recognition, thinking he was simply going to be a time where he would shake the chief's hand.
Meanwhile, Willey, who already had surgery scheduled to replace those aching knees of his, said he has been impressed by the police department and its officers.
"I think the Tigard Police Department has been amazing," he said, noting that after the incident four or five officers called to personally thank him.