March 28, 2004
24 seconds after Portland Police officers notified their dispatch center that they had stopped a vehicle, Jahar Perez was shot and killed. 24 seconds. Of all the shooting incidents that I've examined, this is the one that confuses me the most. Perez was hinky, reaching around, being suspicious. Cops run into hinky dudes all the time. Guys that reach under the seat as the officer approaches the vehicle or those who poke around in the glove box with the cop at their window. Not the wisest thing to do, but not unusual. There are three generally accepted methods of reacting to this knucklehead behavior: First, verbal command: "Hands on the steering wheel, motherfucker." Second, verbal command while screwing the barrel of your handgun in the driver's ear (not recommended but effective) or third, beat a tactical retreat and access the situation from adequate cover. For some reason, Jason Sery and his partner, Macomber went to option four, grapple with the guy and then shoot him.
What I want to know is what happened in that police car between the time the officers spotted Perez and the time they initiated the stop? Something happened in that car between; a conversation between Sery and Macomber that caused them to approach Perez ready to rock and roll. I've looked through the old news reports, but haven't found anything. Sery has resigned and I'm sure his partner is keeping mum. Maybe it'll come out at the civil trial, but I'm not hopeful.