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Tort claim lodged against city as prosecutors continue to investigate Jan. 6 shooting

COURTESY PHOTO: MACDUFF FAMILY - Jacob Macduff poses with his mother, Maria Macduff, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. Jacob Macduff was shot and killed by Tigard police on Jan. 6, after police said he had a knife and a struggle followed. As they demand answers in the death of their son, the family of the Tigard man shot and killed by police Jan. 6 has filed a tort claim against the city.

Jacob Macduff, 26, was killed by a Tigard police officer during what was reported as a domestic disturbance call that occurred at an apartment complex near Southwest Hall Boulevard and Bonita Road.

Police allege that Macduff had a knife and that a struggle occurred before the Tigard man was shot. His family and a roommate have said Macduff was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.

The tort claim was filed on April 13 by Scott Levin, a Portland attorney, on behalf of Macduff's mother, Maria Macduff, a retired medical doctor who lives in Santa Barbara, California, according to a news release from the Levin's office.

"It's been over 90 days since the police shot and killed my son while he was in mental health crisis," Macduff wrote in the release. "No one has been able to tell me how or why. I think it's reasonable — more than reasonable — to expect some answers after all this time."

A tort claim is generally an informal notification that preserves the right to file a formal lawsuit in the future. This one was specifically filed based on "what is revealed about the facts of the case," Levin wrote.

Maria Macduff said she was contacted by Tigard police during the incident. Police told her Jacob Macduff was inside a pickup truck, which was registered in her name, and was refusing to get out. They asked her for permission to break the window of the truck. She gave permission "but cautioned them that the event was mental health related and asked them to be 'gentle with my son,'" according to the release.

A death certificate lists "homicide" as the cause of death, the result of being "shot by police during confrontation."

"What steps did (police) take to defuse the situation?" Levin asked. "What protocols did they follow to reach the point where it seemed necessary to shoot and kill a sick young man? Those are some of the things we'd like to find out.'"

Kelsey Anderson, a spokesperson for the Tigard Police Department, confirmed the city has received the tort claim.

"The case is still under purview of the Washington County District Attorney's Office," Anderson responded in an email. "The DA has not yet completed the investigation. As such, members of the Tigard Police Department have not been able to review any of the facts of the case collected by the Washington County Major Crimes Team. We will have the opportunity to do so once the investigation is complete."

Once the investigation is over, the District Attorney's Office is expected to make a report of the shooting available to the public, Anderson said.

Macduff's death led to a protest march against police violence on Jan. 7 in downtown Tigard, which police declared a riot after demonstrators began smashing windows and spray-painting graffiti at Tigard City Hall.

The riot caused an estimated $100,000 in property damage, according to city officials. That included dozens of smashed windows, the majority of those occurring at the Tigard Police Department and City Hall. So far, four people have been arrested in connection with the riot.

The Washington County District Attorney's Office confirmed that the investigation is ongoing and that there would be no comment until it was completed.

"The Tigard Police Department has previously shared with the public that at the time of this incident, most Tigard Police Officers were not equipped with body worn cameras," according to the DA's office. "Some of the involved patrol vehicles were equipped with dashboard mounted cameras.  However, dashboard cameras only capture what occurs in front of the vehicle and this event did not occur in front of a vehicle."

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