Portland police release video of officer-involved shooting to quell 'misinformation' after violent protest

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Portland police released video and the name of the man killed in a recent officer-involved shooting in an effort to dispel “misinformation” about the incident a day after a mob of protesters showed up to smash windows and flatten tires while the use of force investigation was still underway. 

The Portland Police Bureau on Friday identified the man killed as 40-year-old Michael Ray Townsend. 

The police department also released video of the incident showing Townsend lunging at a group of six officers with an object in his hand before he was fatally shot. An autopsy conducted by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office showed he died of a gunshot wound. 

“While the investigation is still in its early stages, and releasing evidence at this point is rare, providing this video is critical to combat misinformation being spread,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement Friday. “Transparency and community trust are extremely important to us, but so is a full, complete, and thorough investigation. This illustrates how important it is to allow the investigation process to unfold before spreading unverified information. An officer use of deadly force is among the most important investigations that we do, and it’s crucial that we take the time to do it right.”

“Townsend’s family has been notified of his death,” the bureau said. “They did not provide a photograph and do not want to speak to the media.” 

The bureau released a prior mugshot of Townsend provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff. 

On Thursday, North Precinct officers were dispatched at 7:06 p.m. to a report of a welfare check on a White adult male dressed in all black at a motel in the 500 block of Northeast Holladay Street. 

“After officers arrived with paramedics, they encountered a man matching that description and an officer-involved shooting took place,” the bureau said in an initial statement. The man shot was transported by ambulance to a hospital, but lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. 

Police previously identified the officer who fatally shot the man as Curtis Brown, an 18-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau assigned to the North Precinct. Brown will remain on paid administrative leave until the completion of the bureau and Multnomah County District Attorney Office’s investigation.

As members of the Portland Police Homicide Unit were still at the scene Thursday, a group gathered at the crime scene and began yelling, throwing items at officers, and attempting to interfere with the investigation, the Portland Police Bureau said. Protesters grabbed a female officer’s baton and pulled her toward the crowd until other officers intervened, police said. 

Someone from the crowd pepper-sprayed an officer, police said. At least one police vehicle’s tires were punctured and a window broken. Police officers citywide were called to assist with scene security.

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