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Jacob Macduff was shot and killed by a Tigard police officer as he sat in his truck outside his apartment in January 2021.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Attorney Dave Park discusses the circumstances that led up to the shooting of Jacob Ryan Macduff (whose enlarged photo appears in the background) during a July 27 press conference in Portland. The Tigard city government has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the mother of a 26-year-old man killed by a then-Tigard police officer in January 2021.

The settlement announced Wednesday, July 27, will also allow for an independent audit of officers' actions the night that Jacob Macduff was shot and killed.

However, it does not acknowledge fault or liability on the part of Tigard, the Tigard Police Department, or the police officers at the scene, including Gabriel Maldonado, who fired the fatal shots on Jan. 6, 2021.

Scott Levin, an attorney representing Maria Macduff, Jacob's mother, nevertheless said Wednesday that he believes the $3.8 million settlement speaks for itself.

"We came to the conclusion that … this killing wasn't justified," said Levin, "and we believe the terms of the settlement bear that out."

Reviews

Last year, in an unusual move, Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton asked the Oregon Department of Justice to review the fatal shooting. Barton said he believed an "independent evaluation" was needed "given the concerns I have developed regarding this incident."

A Washington County grand jury ultimately declined to indict Maldonado, who had left the Tigard Police Department months after Macduff's death.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum described Jacob Macduff's shooting as "a very tragic situation" but said she was satisfied with the grand jury's decision.

Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine announced right away that her department would conduct its own internal investigation into the incident. That review also concluded Maldonado's actions were justified, as he reported that Macduff was ignoring officers' commands and he feared for his life.

At the time of the shooting, Macduff was sitting in the driver's seat of his truck outside his apartment in Tigard.

Maldonado said he saw Macduff holding a knife and reaching in between the seats for something he believed may have been another weapon. He then fired his weapon, striking Macduff multiple times and killing him.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Attorney Dave Park shows the trajectory of a bullet fired at Jacob Ryan Macduff after a Tigard police officer shot and killed him on Jan. 6, 2021. Macduff was struck with seven bullets, lawyers said.

Maria Macduff's attorneys brought in their own expert, "crime reconstructionist" Dave Park, to analyze the evidence.

On Wednesday, Park showed both recreations using the drawings of a graphic artist to show the scene inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting as well as police camera footage to show what happened that night.

Parks said officers were aware that Jacob Macduff was having a psychotic episode after talking with his roommate.

Macduff, who reportedly suffered from mental issues, locked himself in his truck and refused to get out. That eventually resulted in six officers being called to the scene, where they attempted to communicate with Macduff and coax him out of his vehicle for about an hour and 14 minutes, Park said.

During that time, Maria Macduff said last year, an officer at the scene called her and asked if she could speak with her son. She agreed, but as she waited on the line, it went dead.

Police eventually fired "less-lethal" beanbag rounds into Jacob Macduff's truck in an attempt to get him out of the vehicle.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Attorneys for Maria Macduff, the mother of Jacob Ryan Macduff, displayed a photo showing damage done to the windshield of Macduffs car by beanbag shots on Jan 6, 2021. Two of the shots went inside Macduffs vehicle and one did not. Macduff was killed when an officer opened fire from the drivers side of his vehicle.

Maria Macduff's lawsuit claimed that after the beanbag shots — two that went through the windshield and one that bounced off — were fired, Maldonado opened fire on Jacob Macduff through the open driver's side window just two seconds later.

"Eight rounds were fired by Maldonado at close range through the shattered driver's door of Jacob's truck, one of which missed, and seven of which entered Jacob through his back, killing him," stated the lawsuit.

Park said Maldonado didn't know who was fired the beanbag shots but believes he thought Jacob Macduff was shooting at officers.

Park said only Officer Nathan Will's dash cam was on during the shooting, which recorded only the shots and officers' yelling but no conversations.

No personal remote microphones that connect to officers' dash cams were functioning the night of the shooting, according to Park. "For reasons that aren't explained, and still are not explained, the officers decide to formulate a plan to remove him from his car by force," said Park. "That plan involved breaking the driver's door window, reaching in and grabbing him and pulling him out either the open door or through the window and taking him into custody."

Park said there was nothing that participated that action.

"Jacob wasn't threatening. He wasn't making threats. He didn't have any obvious weapons in his hands. He was simply seated in his car, talking to Officer Will and refusing to get out," said Park.

Park said after Maldonado fired the first five shots, he paused but "because he can't see Jacob's hands, he shoots him three more times."

The attorney called police actions simply indefensible because officers could have waited for the situation to be resolved.

"We never got an explanation for the impatience of these officers," said Park.

Police response

Maria Macduff shared a "sympathy card" she said she received from McAlpine, the Tigard police chief, late last year.

"I am deeply sorry for your loss, one that I can't imagine. My son was the same age as Jacob so I can understand a grief that is overwhelming," the card states.

It concludes: "I will not bother you further or cause additional grief but I did want to personally acknowledge your loss. And how you must feel we did not protect or serve Jacob."

In a statement Wednesday, Maria Macduff pointed to the significance of the settlement.

"We now know what I believed all along — there is no way my son Jacob should have been shot and killed that night," Macduff stated. "My deepest desire since this happened has been to do everything possible to make sure no other family loses a child the way I have. I believe we've accomplished that."

Along with the $3.8 million payout and the independent audit, the settlement also lays out several Tigard Police Department policies and procedures that it says the department has already changed, or has agreed to re-evaluate, in light of Jacob Macduff's death.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - An artists rendering shows how Jacob Macduffs body was positioned when he was shot and killed by Tigard police on Jan. 6, 2021.

In her own statement Wednesday, McAlpine confirmed that.

"I want the community to know that this police department is committed to learning and growing from our experiences," McAlpine stated. "We did our own thorough review of this case and have made several updates to policies, procedures and training as a result."

Among the steps the Tigard Police Department has begun implementing are department-wide body-worn cameras for all officers; a drone program that allows police an aerial view of a person in a car so officers don't have to get so close; moving away from beanbag shotguns to 40-millimeter foam projectiles as a less lethal weapon option; and more.

"These updates were the result of several factors, including the death of Mr. Macduff as well as national calls for police reform, legislative changes at the state level and evolving community expectations for police response," said Kelsey Anderson, a spokesperson for the Tigard Police Department, in an email.

As for the $3.8 million settlement, Anderson said that money will be paid out by Tigard's insurance company. She said the insurer "also makes the decision whether to settle and determines the settlement figure."


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