Accused Woodstock gun thief captured
On August 9, a gun was reported stolen from a residence in the northeast corner of the Woodstock neighborhood. Officials believe that gun ended up in the hands of a felon, and was recovered when he was captured on August 31.
When the location became known of a man with an outstanding warrant out of Clackamas County, on a charge of Theft in the First Degree, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers converged on a house near the corner of S.E. 93rd Avenue and Ramona Street in the Lents neighborhood, at 11:29 p.m. on Friday night, August 31.
Officers confronted the suspect, 31-year-old Johnathan Armand Harris, told him he was under arrest.
"That guy made it clear, from the get-go, he wasn't goin' with the cops, anywhere – at least without puttin' up a fight," a nearby resident who witnessed the incident told THE BEE the following day, asking that the name not be used.
"The suspect did not follow the officers' instructions," agreed Acting Portland Police spokesperson Natasha Haunsperger said, as she described the confrontation. "As officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, he actively resisted the officers' efforts and directions. "As the suspect continued to physically resist the officers' attempts to take him into custody, they observed he was in possession of a firearm."
An officer reportedly then attempted to apply a "carotid restraint control hold", after which officers were able to place the suspect in handcuffs and seize the firearm that was in his possession.
A "carotid restraint control hold" isn't a "choke hold"; it uses pressure on carotid arteries and jugular veins at the sides of the neck, which results in diminished cerebral cortex circulation, and reduces the "awake state" of the subject, according to self-defense training manuals.
"Once the suspect was in custody, officers requested emergency medical personnel to provide any necessary medical treatment to the suspect; but the paramedics determined he didn't require additional medical assessment or treatment," Haunsperger said.
Harris was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center at 4:41 a.m. on September 1 on the charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and the Clackamas County warrant.
At the arraignment of Harris in Multnomah County Circuit Court on September 4, in an "Affidavit of Probable Cause" filed by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Shawn M. Overstreet, included was information linking Harris to the theft of a gun taken from the Woodstock house, earlier in August.
The court document reported that the gun Harris had on his person at the time of his arrest was Glock 19 Gen 4 – the same model of handgun, loaded with two bullets of the same brand of ammunition, that were taken in the theft. However, Overstreet's affidavit pointed out that officers observed that the serial number of the firearm had been obliterated and could not be verified.
The court document also affirmed that Harris had been previously convicted of Attempted Murder, and so was not permitted to "own, possess, or have in his custody or control, any firearm".
Judge John A Wittmayer found "probable cause"; Harris learned he'd be facing charges of Burglary I, Theft I, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Resisting Arrest, and Altering Identification on a Firearm. Harris remains in custody in lieu of $72,500 combined bail.
Because of the "reported level of force used by an officer" in this incident, PPB Bureau Detective Division's Homicide Detail conducted an investigation, which is standard Bureau protocol, even though no officer discharged a firearm during this incident. And, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is being consulted regarding this investigation.
The involved officer in this incident has been placed on paid administrative leave, pursuant to Police Bureau policy.
"As part of the 'use of force' review process, the Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident, and the case will go before the Police Review Board, which is comprised of community members, Bureau members, and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division," Haunsperger disclosed.