Sandy, county officers named in wrongful death lawsuit
Nearly two years after Sandy Police officer Michael Boyes shot and killed Douglas Diamond outside his house in Welches, Douglas' daughter Chelsea Diamond has filed a lawsuit against the city of Sandy, Clackamas County, Officer Boyes, Sandy Police Officer William Wetherbee and Clackamas County Sheriff Sergeant Sean Collinson.
The lawsuit claims Douglas died a wrongful death and that officers involved violated his civil rights by using excessive force.
Both the city and county have declined to comment on the case given the pending nature of the litigation. Chelsea filed the lawsuit on March 4.
"On July 3, 2020, Defendant Michael Boyes, a person that the City of Sandy allowed to work as an armed police officer despite having almost no training as a police officer, shot and killed Douglas Diamond," the lawsuit documents allege. "Mr. Diamond had committed no crime. The shooting was preceded and precipitated by completely unjustified uses of force by Defendants William Wetherbee and Sean Collinson. The acts and omissions of Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and state common law. As a result of Defendants' acts and omissions, Plaintiff suffered economic and noneconomic damages. Plaintiff is entitled to damages and an award of attorney's fees and costs."
According to Department of Public Safety Standards & Training (DPSST) records, Boyes had not completed the basic police course by the time of the shooting, but had passed the firearms fundamentals and qualification, the defensive tactics basic course, the annual TASER certification, expendable baton and straight stick basics training, firearms training and an online defensive tactics course. Of the trainings he had already completed and passed, none pertained to de-escalation tactics or dealing with a person with mental illness.
According to police accounts of the shooting at the time, law enforcement was called and alerted that Douglas was expressing suicidal intentions, was a retired police officer and could be armed.
Deputies — including a crisis negotiator — responded and began a conversation with Diamond that went on for several minutes. During that time, Collinson, Wetherbee and Boyes responded to the scene as well.
The report alleged that as the situation evolved, deputies began to issue verbal commands to Diamond, who refused to comply.
Wetherbee fired a less-than-lethal shotgun, as well as a Taser, but neither subdued Diamond. As the incident continued, an attempt was made by Collinson to physically take Diamond into custody. In the struggle, police said, Diamond produced a semi-automatic handgun, pointing it at Collinson.
Boyes then reportedly fired his weapon, striking Diamond. During the incident, Collinson was also shot, receiving injuries to his arm and finger. Investigators said they believe Boyes was the only person who fired a weapon.
Deputies and officers on scene performed first aid on Diamond and Collinson. Diamond died at the scene. Collinson was taken to an area hospital and recovered from his injuries at home.
The picture painted by the tort claim filed by Chelsea Diamond offers up a different account than that presented by police following the incident in 2020.
One glaring difference is that Chelsea's account claims that crisis negotiator Deputy Gabriel Adel had de-escalated the situation with Diamond before Collinson and the Sandy officers arrived, and that Collinson said that after his Taser probes did not connect through Douglas' sweatshirt, he grabbed him in a bear hug, then "at this point, while he was grabbing Mr. Diamond's arms, he could see the butt of a pistol in Mr. Diamond's pocket. Collinson yelled, 'Gun, gun, gun!,' and Boyes opened fire."
"Even though there was no evidence to suggest that Mr. Diamond fired his weapon, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office put out a press release falsely claiming that he did, in an attempt to justify the police conduct and tarnish Mr. Diamond's name," the tort claim alleges. "The detectives who conducted the investigation into the shooting repeated the same lies to Mr. Diamond's family, exacerbating their distress."
Chelsea is asked the court for compensatory damages against the defendants in an amount to be determined at a trial; award her reasonable costs, expenses, and attorney's fees and grant her "such further relief as this court deems just and equitable under the circumstances." She also demanded a trial by jury.
As with any officer-involved shooting, a joint investigation by members of the Major Crimes Team was conducted. Clackamas County Sheriff Sgt. Marcus Mendoza said at the time that the team for this investigation consists of members of the Clackamas County Sheriff 's Office and Molalla Police Department. Sandy Police Detective Sam Craven is a member of the MCT but did not help with this investigation because of obvious conflict of interest.
Boyes, who was still probationary at the time, was put on paid administrative leave until the grand jury's decision. As a probationary officer, Boyes was accompanied on every call by a training officer; in this case, Wetherbee. New officers remain on probation for their first 18 months. Wetherbee returned to duty within the month of the shooting.
Until the shooting on July 3, Boyes had only been on the force in a probationary capacity for nearly four months, after being sworn in on March 11, 2020. He had not served as a sworn officer anywhere before coming to Sandy, and his only prior experience was with the Clackamas County Cadet Program.
Boyes was officially put on administrative leave on July 6, 2020, and remained on leave until he went to the DPSST basic police academy on Aug. 3, 2020. He attended the academy for 16 weeks and returned to patrol after graduation from the academy. Boyes remains on the Sandy Police force as of March 16, 2022.
Seeking new levels of accountability
In prior reporting on this incident, The Post requested body camera footage from both Sandy officer Boyes and Clackamas County Sgt. Collinson. Both agencies said they did not own or use body cameras at that time. Both agencies do have some, if not all, of their patrol vehicles equipped with cameras, but during the incident in Welches, all vehicles were parked too far away from the scene to record what happened.
In 2020, both agencies gave a similar reason for why they haven't acquired this technology.
"The main reason is funding issues right now," Roberts said. "We've looked into the technology and programs to get them."
At the moment, Sandy Police Department is still working to acquire enough cameras for all of its vehicles.
"We see the need for (body cameras) for transparency reasons," Roberts added.
"We have a request into Clackamas County for body cameras, but the cost of body cameras has been (prohibitive)," Mendoza said of the Sheriff 's Office. "Funding needs to be approved. That request has been made a few times to the Board of County Commissioners."
Fast forwarding to 2021, at the Dec. 6, 2021 meeting of Sandy City Council, Roberts presented an update on the police body camera project and a request for purchase authorization of body cameras.
Roberts wrote in a staff report that the objective of the project was to "provide body cameras for sworn staff which will increase transparency and public trust, and improve evidence records for prosecution purposes. The project also includes in-car video systems for the remaining patrol vehicles."
"Implementing a body worn camera system has been a goal for the police department for several years," Roberts said during the December 2021 meeting. "In the 2019-21 budget process, the budget committee and City Council allocated a portion of the general revenue surplus towards body worn cameras, vehicles and training for the police department. … The department will be purchasing seven cameras, seven in-vehicle cameras and unlimited cloud-based storage. The (total) five-year costs for the camera equipment and storage is $117,803."
Roberts recently told The Post that "all the equipment for the new body-worn and additional in-car video systems has been ordered."
"We have had some equipment arrive already but not all," he explained. "After all the equipment arrives, hopefully by the end of (March), our IT department will work with Watchguard/Motorola personnel on the installation of the equipment. This may take a while with the new software, vehicle installations etc. After this is completed, we will have department wide training on the use of the new cameras. We will then launch a pilot program to test the equipment. This will most likely involve a few chosen officers for about a month. After successful completion of that, we will launch the full program where all of our officers will be wearing body worn cameras full time. I don't expect to have the program fully operational until the summer months."
As for the county, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office public information officer John Wildhaber said: "The passage of measure 3-566 by voters in May of 2021 allowed for the funding of our body-worn camera program. We hope to have the program fully implemented this year."
The Post will keep you updated as this lawsuit progresses.
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