Was the fix in?
The City of Portland hired an expert witness, Dr. William Lewinski, to testify before the grand jury examining the death of James Jahar Perez at the hands of a Portland Police Officer, Jason Sery. An attorney for the Perez family claimed that the city hired Lewinski to sway the grand jury not to indict Sery. David Woboril, deputy city attorney said that Lewinski’s purpose before the grand jury not to “support the officers. He didn’t speak to the facts of this case at all . . . What the city provided him for was to speak to the grand jurors about the ‘action/reaction’ dynamics in policing work, generally.” The Oregonian reported that Lewinski told the grand jury that it would take someone a tenth of a second to pull a gun from a console. We can only assume that the grand jury relied in part upon this testimony to decline to indict Officer Sery.
Curious, if an expert witness was needed, why didn’t the county hire one? Why did the city with its vested interest in the outcome of the grand jury proceedings, select and pay the expert witness? Worboril himself stated in a court affidavit:
I retained Dr. Lewinski not only for what he could contribute to the grand jury, the inquest, and any public discussions of the Perez shooting, but also so that he would be available for the defense of this lawsuit. [Worboril is referring to an anticipated lawsuit by the Perez family.]
No matter how you flavor it, the city attorney’s office was covering the city’s butt here, that’s what they get paid for. The fact is that 99% of grand juries do exactly what the District Attorney desires. That’s how the system is designed. Unfortunately, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the supposedly neutral party in this process, decided to make a political decision, rather that one that served justice or the people of this city.