Deadly incident with Forest Grove police under investigation
An ongoing investigation presently shows no sign of wrongdoing on behalf of the Forest Grove Police Department in an incident around midnight Oct. 8 that led to the death of Forest Grove resident James Marshall, according to prosecutors.
While no final determinations have been made, the investigation being conducted by Washington County's Major Crimes Team said that based on the evidence thus far, including body camera footage from the officers involved, the preliminary analysis "shows that the police officers violated no laws, did not act in an assaultive manner and did not do anything that would directly explain Mr. Marshall's medical crisis," the Washington County District Attorney's Office announced late Friday, Oct. 16.
Marshall stopped breathing after an officer discharged his Taser into his back, according to police. He died at the hospital the following day.
Forest Grove police officers reportedly responded to a welfare check at 11:50 p.m. Oct. 7, near the intersection of Elm Street and 15th Avenue in Forest Grove after a caller had reported a male with no shirt was "running up and down the street with a flagpole," police said Oct. 9.
Shortly after, at about 11:58 p.m., an officer located the man behind St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in the 1600 block of Elm Street, where the altercation occurred.
Marshall, 44, was "verbally hostile" with officers, wielding a 10-foot-long pole and making "aggressive movements" toward police, the District Attorney's Office said Friday. He was also allegedly attempting to break the windows of the church.
The DA's Office said Marshall punched an officer in the face who tried to detain him. At one point as Marshall struggled with officers, prosecutors said, he attempted to grab an officer's Taser and it discharged into his arm.
"This discharge appears to have been inadvertent, and one probe struck Mr. Marshall's arm," the DA's Office said.
Another officer tased Marshall in the back "in an effort to stop the ongoing resistance," the DA's Office statement added. Shortly thereafter, Marshall stopped breathing.
Police say officers on the scene immediately called for medical assistance and began lifesaving efforts upon seeing that Marshall was no longer breathing. Marshall was taken to OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center, where he died Friday, Oct. 9.
An autopsy was conducted on Sunday, Oct. 11, by the state medical examiner, according to the DA's Office. The autopsy found that Marshall had used methamphetamine prior to the altercation with police and also had underlying health conditions.
The incident remains under investigation. Detectives from outside agencies, including the Hillsboro and Tualatin police departments and the Washington County Sheriff's Office, are conducting the investigation in coordination with the DA's Office.
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