Portland Community Remembers Kendra James, Who Was Fatally Shot By Police
Fifteen years after she was fatally shot by a police officer, Kendra James was honored, celebrated and commemorated by her community in Portland, Oregon.
On Sunday night, May 6, 2018, a new memorial was placed at the site of the 2003 shooting at the North Skidmore overpass at Interstate 5.
Passersby can now see James’ photo with the words “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name.” Another sign says, “Let’s build a beloved community where no one is killed by cops,” according to local TV station KATU.
James was 21 years old when she was riding with a man who had gotten pulled over. Police discovered the driver had warrants and apprehended him. That’s when James got behind the wheel and attempted to leave the scene.
According to Willamette Week, a struggle ensued: “Attempts to pull her out by her hair, and to use pepper spray and a Taser were unsuccessful. James did not get out of the car when ordered, even after McCollister put his pistol to her head and yelled at her to stop. Instead, she threw the car into drive, and it started rolling forward.”
That’s when the officer, who told a grand jury he thought he was going to be run over, shot James. “The bullet hit Kendra James in the hip, traveled up to her lower ribcage, and killed her,” according to Portland Cop Watch.
But this is where callous disregard for human life becomes clearly evident: “The officers pulled James out and handcuffed her, which is standard procedure; however, they left her lying unattended while they set up a crime scene perimeter,” Cop Watch reports.
The police did not check her vital signs, Reynolds said, because he thought she was "faking" being unconscious (the Skanner, May 21). Reynolds also drove away from the scene to use the bathroom at the nearby Northeast Precinct and claims he got lost trying to find his way back,” Cop Watch reports.
To add insult to injury, before they were interviewed by detectives, the involving officers went out to dinner the night after the shooting.
The end result is that community mistrust has grown since then, and another black woman lost her life unnecessarily.
"I think this is another in a line of police shootings in Portland that could have been prevented," said Richard Brown, an instructor at the Salem-based Western Community Policing Center, according to Blavity.