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The statement came after local Latino leaders said there needs to be more communication to the community.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The family of the man shot by Hillsboro Police on Aug. 19 held a press conference demanding justice a few days after the incident. To date, HPD has yet to hold a press conference on the matter.

Hillsboro's mayor, Steve Callaway, released a statement last week on the August shooting that happened behind the Hillsboro Police Department precinct on 10th Avenue, following the urging of local leaders who said the city's relative silence on the matter was deafening.

Police say that Lt. Neil Potter was attacked near his patrol vehicle behind the precinct on Aug. 19 by 20-year-old Jose Juan Aguilar-Mandujano. Potter shot Aguilar-Mandujano four times. He was hospitalized at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland in critical condition.

Police have said little about the incident since, other than to identify Potter and his alleged attacker and released what officials say is the only available footage — which is largely obscured.

Calling on Callaway

The city's lack of a press conference or statement on the incident has stood out to some in Washington County's Latino community.

"It just seems like something that a community-oriented city or police department would do," said Maria Rubio, executive director of Cornelius-based Centro Cultural de Washington County. "We've been patiently waiting for weeks for some sort of statement to come out to the community."

Rubio said she can only speak for herself, but she's also heard from others who shared this concern.

"Our community, and myself included as a local elected official, expect there to be urgency, communication and accountability when there's an officer-involved shooting — especially when you hear stories on the streets of people being scared to walk to their local corner store," said Juan Carlos González, Centro's communications director and District 4 Metro councilor.

While the Hillsboro Police Department said that it considers its press releases and responses to media requests to be the city's official response, Rubio said she contacted Mayor Steve Callaway last week to share her concern.

The city released an official statement a day later.

"Any officer-involved shooting is traumatic for everyone involved," Callaway said in the written statement. "City leaders have had many conversations with community members regarding the officer-involved shooting on August 19, 2022, and we understand there are questions and concerns specifically from our Latino community."

"The Hillsboro Police Department promptly released facts and information immediately following this incident, and days later when surveillance video was available," he added. "We recognize and respect the independent role of the Washington County Major Crimes Team to review the facts of what happened — and we await the outcome of their work." COURTESY PHOTO: HILLSBORO POLICE - Surveillance video from a business behind the Hillsboro Police precinct on 10th Aveue shows Potter's vehicle outlined in yellow. The ensuing incident, which led to the officer firing at a Latino man, is almost completely obscured behind a cement wall and trees.

Valued relationships

The statement, released in both English and Spanish, also pointed to a message the city shared in June titled, "Latino Community Members Make Hillsboro Great," which can be found on the city's website and social media pages.

"We value our partnerships with Latino community groups and we are committed to building relationships and supporting residents and businesses," Callaway's statement concluded.

Rubio and others say that they also value the relationship with the city's police department and government. They don't want to jeopardize the trust being built with the agency.

Isabell Mendoza, owner of the Su Casa Supermercado in Hillsboro, said she is always impressed by the responsiveness and communication from the HPD.

"We have a very tight connection with the police department," Mendoza said. "They communicate what we should know. They were just here the other day… just making sure we were aware of our surroundings and what we should know."

She said this communication was especially important this summer, since it was in her business's parking lot where a man was found dead from a gunshot wound late at night on July 11.

Enrique Tapia was arrested as the suspect in the murder of Juan Javier Moncivais, 40, who was found dead in the parking lot of Su Casa Supermercado near Southeast 11th Avenue and Walnut Street.

Mendoza's store was closed and she wasn't around when Moncivais's body was found following the shooting, which appears to have resulted from an altercation that spilled over from a nearby tavern. But she knows the family well.

"They are good customers of ours and have been for many years," she said.

There was another shooting on April 8, when 27-year-old Carlos Arellano-Garcia was shot to death just after 4 a.m. at a Les Schwab on Southeast 10th Avenue, near the OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center.

Rubio said it can come off as especially "disconcerting" when there is no official comment from the city during a time when there has been violence in and around the city's historically Latino business district.

"It does impact trust-building," Rubio said. "It's just kind of that the sentiment among our community is that we've felt invisible for so long. And now we're hearing, 'I guess we are invisible.'"

COURTESY PHOTO: HILLSBORO POLICE  - In this screenshot from the surveillance video released by police after the officer-involved shooting, Hillsboro police say 20-year-old Jose Juan Aguilar-Mandujano is seen here within the orange highlighted area turning around to walk back to the vehicle of Lt. Neil Potter. Police say Aguilar-Mandujano attacked the officer, who then discharged his weapon.

What is known

Aguilar-Mandujano's family held a press conference a few days after the shooting at Dawson Park in Portland, demanding answers from the city's police department and justice for their loved one.

"Unfortunately, the Hillsboro Police and the detectives who are supposedly in charge of this case have not reached out to us to give the details," said Aguilar-Mandujano's sister, Gabriella, the morning that the press release was called on Aug. 22. "That's why we're working with an attorney … just to get some answers because no one has reached out to us and we don't really know what happened at all."

Part of the lack of information surrounding the shooting is due to the circumstances of the incident itself.

The only camera angle to have captured the alleged assault shows an almost completely obscured vantage of what happened between Aguilar-Mandujano and Potter, a 23-year veteran of the police force.

The footage came from a business behind the precinct because police commanders do not wear body cameras — since they aren't out on patrols — and there are no surveillance cameras facing out to this street from the precinct itself.

The result is video that doesn't show much of what actually transpired.

When police identified Potter as the officer who was involved, the press release included a still frame from what appears to be another officer's body-worn camera. Pamplin Media Group requested this footage from the Hillsboro Police Department, but the request was denied.

"Since there is an ongoing investigation into this matter, HPD believes that the interest in maintaining the integrity of that investigation supersedes the public's interest in receiving copies of the responding officer's (body-worn camera) video," said Leah Turner, Hillsboro Police Department executive manager, responding to Pamplin Media's request.

The Washington County Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident. COURTESY PHOTO: HILLSBORO POLICE  - Hillsboro police say Lt. Neil Potter was 'attacked' near his car behind the 10th Avenue police precinct on Aug. 19 and this photo shows the aftermath. The incident resulted in Potter shooting 20-year-old Jose Juan Aguilar-Mandujano.

Hillsboro Police Lt. Mike Rouches says that the lack of cameras here is a product of this not being a public entrance to the precinct, and the agency saw no need for cameras here prior to the incident. Now, however, the police department is reconsidering.

"We would consider camera expansion," said Rouches. "We continuously review the use of cameras with considerations of usability, cost, data storage. We would also look to expand external cameras and consider that in the construction of the new police building."

Hillsboro is in the process of constructing a new police headquarters at the intersection of Northeast 25th Avenue and Beacon Court, near the Hillsboro Airport.

But Rubio says a larger, more targeted effort at communicating about violence happening now is needed when there's so little information to go on, especially after a string of deadly incidents in the area often referred to as Hillsboro's Latino business district.

"An officer-involved shooting, that's a big deal," Rubio said. "And the police need to know that it's not OK anymore not to say anything. It may have been OK two or three years ago, before the death of (George) Floyd, but people are just not there anymore." PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - The family of Jose Juan Aguilar Mandujano during a press conference at Dawson Park in Portland on Monday, Aug. 22.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Pamplin Media Group's request for body-worn camera footage was denied by the Hillsboro Police Department.

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