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What Happened To Fouad Kaady

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Former Sandy officer charged with ID theft, misconduct

From the Oregonian, November 13 2008

A former Sandy police officer turned himself in to authorities today after he was charged with identity theft, first-degree official misconduct and misuse of a license.

William Jacob Bergin, 27, surrendered at the Clackamas County Jail after he was indicted by a grand jury. The indictment did not provide details of the accusations against Bergin.

He was released on his own recognizance, pending his Dec. 11 arraignment in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

In a written statement, the Sandy Police Department said, "Whenever someone in the law enforcement community, past or present, is accused of wrongdoing, law enforcement officers are hurt by it. We are saddened and embarrassed by this."

Sandy police declined further comment.

Bergin remains a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court after Bergin and sheriff's Deputy David Willard shot and killed a naked unarmed Portland man on a rural highway in 2005. The family of Fouad Kaady, 27, has hired high-profile, flamboyant defense attorney Gerry Spence of Wyoming to argue the lawsuit.

The suit names the city of Sandy, Clackamas County and the two officers and seeks monetary damages to be determined at trial for alleged civil rights violations, excessive force, unconstitutional arrest and wrongful death.

Bergin joined the Sandy Police Department in May 2005.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Officer goes on leave; target of investigation

A Sandy police officer is on paid leave while investigators review allegations that surfaced from a separate inquiry into a Clackamas County deputy, Sandy Police Chief Harold Skelton said Wednesday.

William Jacob Bergin, 27, who has been with the Sandy department since May 2005, has been on leave since July 25. Skelton would not comment on the allegations.

Deputy Brandon S. Claggett, 37, who was assigned to the Mount Hood area, has been on leave since July 9.

Bergin was arrested last year in Sherwood on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants and entered a diversion program. He was on workers' compensation leave stemming from his involvement in the fatal police shooting of Fouad Kaady in 2005.

Friday, February 8, 2008

William Bergin hits Rock Bottom (More Sordid Details on Killer Cop's Night Out)

From Portland IndyMedia, by Cat

Last week, Portland Indymedia ran an article detailing the curious downfall of officer William Bergin, the cop who tortured and shot Fouad Kaady to death. Bergin, it seems, was arrested almost a year ago, after drunkenly menacing his former girlfriend at around 3 in the morning on March 8, 2007. I want to make it clear that this incident was a serious one, especially given Bergin's record as a killer. I would like to know why this man is still working as an officer of the law. More than that, I want to use Bergin's own testimony to point out that there is a culture of violence, cover-up and dishonesty in the Sandy PD that bears looking into, especially if one is interested in justice for the many people who have suffered violence and injustices at the hands of Sandy police officers and been ignored. So this week, I am going to quote liberally from the Sherwood police report describing his arrest and subsequent behavior and statements to the police.

On March 8, 2007, Sherwood police officers Newton and Johnson arrived at the home of Bergin's ex-girlfriend (whose name I will not share) to find Bergin just disappearing into the garage and closing the door behind himself. His ex-girlfriend was still inside the home, and was on the phone with police dispatch, asking if it was safe for her to come out. She said she would meet the officers at her front door. The officers told her to come on out. When she did so, the report notes, "She was crying and her hands were shaking." She did not know why Bergin was there, and said that she was uncomfortable having him there. Officers Newton and Johnson asked if she could let them into the garage so that they could talk to Bergin. Here is an excerpt from the police report:

"When I opened the door to the garage, I noticed a male on his knees picking at the door lock with a screwdriver. Immediately, I saw that his eyes were red, watery, glassy, and his face was flushed. There was also a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. The male, who was identified as William Bergin looked up at Officer Johnson and I and said, 'Oh shit.' When Mr. Bergin tried to stand up he fell forward and I had to take hold of his arm and help him up."

The report goes on to note that Bergin was swaying, his speech was slurred, and he was "having a hard time maintaining his balance." Here is another passage from the very long police report:

"I asked Mr. Bergin how much he had to drink tonight. He told me that he would just leave. He then started to walk out of the garage. As he started to walk out of the garage he lost his balance and started to fall to the left. He reached out his hand and I was able to catch him and keep him from falling to the ground. I helped him walk the rest of the way out of the garage by holding on to his right arm. Once we were outside he stumbled in front of his car and had to grab onto his car to regain his balance."

After this, officers asked Bergin how much he had to drink. He initially said he had had "a few drinks" at Kel's, and (appropriately enough) at Rock Bottom. He admitted to driving from downtown Portland out to his ex-girlfriend's Sherwood home. When the police asked him how long he had been at his girlfriend's house, he initially said 10 or 15 minutes, which matched what his girlfriend had told them. However, as you will see, his story changes as officers begin asking more questions. He was asked whether he had anything to drink after he got to her house. According to the report:

"He paused for a second and said, 'Um, yeah, I had two or three beers in the garage.' I asked him if he was being honest. He said, 'I am a cop, I know what's going on.' I asked him if he could show me where he put the beer cans of the beers [sic] that he just drank. He told me that they are somewhere in the garage and that he had a ton of beer cans in there. I asked him again how long he had been here and drank the beers. He told me that he has been here for about 45 minutes. I explained to him that he just told me that he has been here for 10-15 minutes. He said, 'No, I have been here.' He then asked if he could call a friend to come get him. His speech at this time was very slurred and hard to understand."

It is interesting to note that, as drunk as he was, Bergin was still about as adept as ever at covering up for himself. Because, in the above exchange, it is clear that he understands that the Sherwood officers are asking him whether he had anything to drink after arriving at his girlfriend's house in order to establish that he was driving drunk. "I'm a cop, I know what's going on," he said. And then he told them he had been drinking after he stopped driving, so that he could claim he was sober when he was driving. But he's as transparently bad at his lies while drunk as he is when sober. Because he was apparently unable to produce any empty beer cans. The officer's report continues:

"I told him that I was just doing my job and had to ask him these questions. I then asked him not to lie to me and to be honest with me about drinking. He told me that he is a cop and was sorry. I asked him again if he drank anything since he arrived here. He said, 'No, I have not had anything to drink here.' I asked him why he lied to me. He told me that he was a cop and knew the routine. As we were talking, Mr. Burgin [sic] seem to be having severe mood swings. He would be talking with me one minute and then the next minute he would be crying and mumbling to the point where I had to keep asking him to calm down because I was unable to understand anything he was saying."

Again, Bergin tells the officers that he is a cop and "knew the routine," and he appears to be explaining that this is why he lied. In other words, he knows what kind of evidence can be used against him, so he is carefully trying to tamper with that evidence. He is lying in order to cover up after himself, after doing something that he knows was wrong. This is a very interesting revelation, given the wild discrepancies between Mr. Bergin's story about what happened to Fouad Kaady and the stories of the many witnesses to that shooting. Was he lying to protect himself then, too? I have always believed so, given the overwhelming evidence in that case. But the corporate media just took his word for it all. Will they be able to do so now? Now that he's admitted that he fabricates evidence to protect himself?

But back to the report. Bergin then refuses to take any sobriety tests. Not only does he refuse initial field sobriety tests, but he later admits that he is stalling, in the hope that he might sober up before they are able to detect the amount of alcohol in his system. Again, to quote the report:

"I asked Mr. Burgin [sic] if he would be willing to perform some voluntary field sobriety tests. Mr. Burgin, 'No, I am a cop and I am not doing test.' He then started crying and told me that he is a cop and he shot someone. I informed him that I could imagine he is having a hard time, but I had to do my job."

I do not know what to make of Bergin's statement about shooting "someone." A skeptical part of me is angry that he would try to use the murder of Fouad Kaady to get off the hook like this. It's beyond grotesque that this murderer could attempt to use his victim in such a disgustingly self-serving manner. On the other hand, if he really is suffering as a result of the shooting, then perhaps he does have the kernel of a soul after all. This shooting SHOULD bother him. It should be destroying him. He tortured a bleeding accident victim, and then shot him to death for no reason. Afterward, he lied about the incident, and made the victim out to be some sort of "monster" who deserved the killing. This SHOULD hurt. It's hurt everyone else in the community -- particularly Mr. Kaady's family, I would think -- so he should be feeling this pain with every fiber of his being.

If he really is feeling this, and not merely using the shooting to invoke sympathy and get him off the hook, then perhaps there is hope of some salvation for him after all. It will not come easy, and it will not come soon. It will certainly not come without a lot of work on his part. As a comment below the previous story on this subject suggested, he will need to take responsibility for what he did before he can ever hope for any kind of forgiveness from this community, or from himself. And he will need to get rid of the badge. He is clearly neither capable nor deserving of holding a position of authority -- much less a gun -- over other people. His behavior and his words indicate someone who has a lot of power issues. He should never be in a position to hold power over other people again. But, if he really is suffering, perhaps he is less of a monster than his original behavior would appear, and more of a human being who has done a very bad thing and knows he must atone for it. One would think that this atonement would take some other form than drinking himself into a stupor and terrorizing women, though.....

Returning to the report, Officer Newton asks Bergin numerous times if he will take a sobriety test, and Bergin refuses each time. Officer Newton then attempted to read Bergin the "SFST Revised Admonishment" (in other words, explaining that he needs to take the test or face arrest). Bergin interrupted to remind the officer, yet again, that he's a cop and knows all this stuff, and no, no test. At that point, according to the report, "He then stumbled forward and fell back against his car. I noticed that at this time he appeared to be having a hard time holding his eyes open." Bergin was then placed under arrest at 3:41am."

When they arrived at the police station, Bergin lost his balance as he was stumbling out of the police car. According to Newton, "He had a hard time maintaining his balance and could barely walk." Again, this is a man who just drove himself, in a large, red, SUV (a Chevy blazer), all the way from downtown Portland out to Sherwood.

Once inside the police station, officers attempted to check the level of alcohol in Bergin's system using the sci-fi sounding "Intoxilizer 8000 internal clock." However, Bergin said that he wanted to talk to his lawyer, and that he would take twenty minutes to do so. He was given a telephone and left alone to make his call. And here, things get strange. To quote the report:

"At about 4:20am, Officer Johnson contacted me and asked me if Mr. Burgin was making phone calls. I told him that he was in the holding cell talking with his lawyer. Officer Johnson informed me that [ex girlfriend's name] just ran up to him and that Bill was calling her from the police phone. He told me that she reported that he left her a voice message saying that when he is released he is going to put a bullet in his head. At that time dispatch also called me and informed me that [ex girlfriend's name] called them and reported that her ex-boyfriend was calling repeatedly from 503-625-5522, which is the department's number. Dispatched [sic] informed me that he was threatening to hurt himself."

So Bergin, given the opportunity to call a lawyer, chose to call and harass his former girlfriend instead. He then lies about it. Newton's report goes on:

"I went back into the holding cell and asked Mr. Bergin what he was doing. He told me that he was trying to call a lawyer. I informed him that I knew he was calling his ex-girlfriend. He asked me if I was monitoring his phone calls. I told him that the other Officer was still at his ex-girlfriend's house. He told me that he called her once. I asked him why he would call her when I advised him to only call a lawyer. He told me that he had to talk with her. I asked him why he was threatening to hurt himself. He told me that he did not and said that he was sorry. I told him that this time was given to him to call a lawyer and that what he was doing was inappropriate. He again said he was sorry and asked if he could try two more calls to contact a lawyer. I told him that I would allow him five more minutes to contact a lawyer. A few minutes later he waved me back into the room and said that he was done. He said that he was able to talk with a lawyer and that he would take the breath test."

It is worth noting, again, that Bergin appears to be very comfortable with lying to cover up for himself. It is also important to acknowledge that his threat to "put a bullet in his head" is a classic ploy used by perpetrators of domestic violence. Men who want to control women often threaten to kill themselves in order to manipulate their victims. As a former domestic violence counselor, I can say with some confidence that this is generally regarded as a very dangerous symptom among perpetrators. When a woman takes control over her life by ending a relationship with an abuser, it can be a very dangerous time for her. Abusive males seek to hold power over their victims, and can become very manipulative, and often very enraged, when they see that power slipping away from them. Murder-suicides are more common at this time. (See, for example, link to

Bergin obfuscates some more at the police department, telling officers that he only drank two beers at Kel's and two beers at Rock Bottom, between 9pm and 3am. He continues to stall, trying to sober up before a sobriety test can be performed. Again, quoting from the report:

"I asked him why he lied to me about drinking after he drove to his ex's house. He told me that he was sorry and that he will blame it on nerves. I also asked him if he was on any medications. He told me that he took one 100mg Trazadone and one 10mg Celexa. He also said that he is on Wellbutrin, but did not take any today. I asked him if he was supposed to mix alcohol with the medication. He told me that he could have a few drinks, but not to many [sic]. I asked him when he took his medication. He told me that he took it 6-8 hours ago. I asked him how the medication makes him feel. He told me that the Celexa makes him really light headed. I asked him if he felt the effects of the alcohol tonight. He said, 'Nope.' I asked him if he was being honest with me. He said, 'Yup, I am being honest, I mean come on I have to try you can understand.' I asked him why he lied to me and called his girlfriend. He told me that he called his girlfriend and a union rep. He then said well the more time that goes by the better off I am. He then asked me what I think he was going to blow. I informed him that I felt he had too much to drink. He said, 'O it has been a lot of time, so who knows I could blow under a .08%.' He then said, 'I'm around a .09 or .10 I bet.'"

So again, we can see that Bergin is playing the system, angling around to escape responsibility for the crime he knows he has committed. He admits that he has been stalling for time, and that he thinks he may have stalled long enough to beat the DUI charges. Although he stalled until after 4:30am, however, his ploy did not work. At 4:50am, his blood alcohol content was recorded at .12%. Newton notes, "As the breath test was printing, Mr. Bergin just kept saying "fuck, well good thing for diversion." In other words, still angling to avoid any consequences for his actions.

Finally, according to Newton's report:

"As I was completing the paperwork for Mr. Bergin asked me if I could just take him to Detox [sic]. He said that he has pulled over plenty of drunken cops and has given them a ride home. I informed him that I had to do my job and that Detox was not an option, he was already arrested. He told me that in Sandy it is still the 'good old boy' system and he could just go to Detox or home. I informed him that I had a job to do and it was nothing personal. He told me that he understood and apologized for trying to mess with me. He told me that it was at least worth a shot."

I actually find this to be the most revealing statement in the entire report. It's not that those of us who paid any attention to the abuses going on out in Sandy did not already know that there is a very serious "good old boy" problem going on out there. But to have it spoken aloud, by the biggest old boy himself, that's quite a confession. It blows apart any plausible deniability that the Sandy city government may have claimed.

I take no joy in pointing out this man's obvious personal pathologies. If he were an ordinary private citizen who did not carry a gun and a badge, who had not already tortured and killed an unarmed accident victim for no apparent reason, then I would leave him to his own implosion. But he is not an ordinary private citizen. He is a police officer, with power over the people of Sandy. Power that he is prone to mis-using. He has killed someone, and he got away with it. And then, the corporate media took his word for gospel when he lied and obfuscated about what really happened. They let him define who Fouad Kaady had been. They let him portray his innocent victim as a "monster," as a drug addict, as a freak. These are labels that did not fit Fouad Kaady, but they do fit Mr. Bergin. And where is the corporate media now? Are they so willing to drag a man's name through the mud, so long as he is "just an ordinary guy," and yet so unwilling to tarnish the good name of an officer of the law, no matter how ill-suited that good name may be? Why? Who do they work for?

The problems in Sandy go much deeper than this one man, and the public should know this. As Bergin himself has stated, there is a "good old boy system" in Sandy, that has caused immeasurable suffering for the people of that town. The Fouad Kaady murder has helped to bring this nest of nasties to light, but Mr. Kaady was not their only victim. For years, the people of Sandy have been telling horrific tales of racism, abuse, persecution, and cover-up. And for just as long, they have been ignored. Carlos Rubio and his family were hounded by police until they feared for their very lives. Carlos was falsely arrested, and then disappeared shortly after police threatened him in front of his family. He was later found dead under very mysterious circumstances. Juan Rubio, Carlos's father, who surely had already lost enough at the hands of the Sandy police, was then hounded by officers as well. He was threatened and called racist names, and when he demanded accountability from Chief Harold Skelton, Skelton had him arrested. So Mr. Bergin is not an isolated individual. He is one small bacteria in an oozing petri dish of disease. And it is time for some disinfectant.

I encourage anyone who would like to independently verify the facts in this article to contact the Sherwood police and ask for a copy of the paperwork involved with Case #07240403. You may reach the Sherwood police dept here:

Address: 20495 SW Borchers Dr. Sherwood, OR 97140
Business Hours: M-F 8:00AM - 5:00PM (503)625-5523
After Hours & Holidays: (503)629-0111

You may also wish to call the Sandy PD. The Sandy police are a little more difficult to reach, and a lot more dangerous. So be intrepid, and be careful. This is their contact info:

Business hours: 8am-6pm Monday-Friday, office number 503-668-5566
38970 Proctor Blvd., Sandy, Oregon 97055
FAX 503-668-4093

According to the police report, however, Mr. Bergin can be reached at 503-668-9186. So this might be a more direct line, should anyone care to get a comment from him personally.

If anyone can reach Mr. Skelton, the Sandy police chief, to see how he can justify keeping this disturbed and violent man on the police force, I would be very interested to hear what he has to say. Please feel free to become the media, and post what you find out here. It's going to take a lot of us, working together, to find out what's really going on over in the Sandy police dept, and to shake that old boy system apart.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sandy officer's DUII arrest surfaces

From the Sandy Post

A Sandy police officer was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants while off-duty in Sherwood, recent court proceedings revealed.

Sherwood officers took William J. Bergin, 26, into custody early on March 8, 2007, after he showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s house drunk. According to police reports, he then repeatedly lied to officers, refused a breath test and threatened to hurt himself.

The information surfaced several weeks ago, during depositions for the federal lawsuit contesting the fatal police shooting of Fouad Kaady in 2005 – of which Bergin was a part. Kaady family attorney Michelle Burrows’ law office said the information wasn’t entirely important to their case, however, it was used as a test to see if Bergin would lie about what happened.

He didn’t.

At about 3:21 a.m. March 8, 2007, Amy Lynn Seely called Sherwood Police in tears, telling them that her ex-boyfriend, Bergin, had showed up at her house, unwanted, according to police reports. Bergin was off duty at the time, on personal leave.

Seely told authorities that Bergin probably was there to collect some of his items, since he was in the process of moving out of the Bedstraw Terrace home, but she didn’t feel comfortable with him there at such a late hour. She said he had been having emotional problems since the 2005 shooting.

When police arrived at the house, they found Bergin on his knees in the garage, trying to get inside the house by picking the door lock with a screwdriver.

“It was apparent to me that Mr. Bergin was likely intoxicated,” wrote Officer Randy Johnson. “(His) eyes were watery and bloodshot and his movements were slow and lethargic.”

For at least the next hour, Bergin had trouble keeping his balance, and officers caught him several times as he stumbled.

Bergin told the Sherwood officers that he was at the house to get some of his personal belongings and tools.

When Officer Jason Newton asked Bergin how much he had to drink, Bergin replied, “I don’t know, I had a few drinks downtown,” later specifying that he had four drinks at Rock Bottom and Kell’s Pub.

He admitted that after having four drinks in downtown Portland, he drove 18 miles to Sherwood. Then he said he drank two or three more beers in the garage.

He changed his story a couple times, the report stated.

“I asked him why he lied to me,” Officer Jason Newton wrote. “He told me that he was a cop and knew the routine.”

Bergin refused to perform voluntary field sobriety tests, saying, “No, I am a cop; I am not doing (a) test.” He said that as someone who nabs about three DUII drivers a week in Sandy, he knew the drill.

Bergin’s behavior stuck out to Newton.

“As we were talking, Mr. Bergin seemed to be having severe mood swings,” he wrote. “He would be talking with me one minute and then the next minute he would be crying and mumbling to the point where I had to keep asking him to calm down …”

According to the report, Bergin started crying, mentioning that he had shot Kaady.

“I informed him that I could (imagine) that he is having a hard time, but I had to do my job,” Newton wrote.

About an hour and a half after police were dispatched, Bergin agreed to take a breath test, and registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08.

At the Sherwood Police Department, Bergin asked to call his attorney alone in his holding cell. When given the chance, however, he decided to call Seely instead.

Officer Johnson, still at Seely’s house, was about to clear the scene, when Seely ran up to him.

“She was crying and told me she just got three or four calls coming from Bill,” Johnson said.

After Seely told Bergin their relationship was over, Bergin hung up the phone. He then called two more times, leaving chilling voicemail messages.

On one, Bergin said, “I hope you are happy because I’m dead!” On another he said, “Apparently you don’t care, I love you anyways. I’m done; I lost my job, my career, this is the last straw!”

He ended the message by saying, “I will get access to a gun and as soon as I am released I’m going to put a bullet in my head.”

Bergin later revealed that he was taking the antidepressants Trazodone and Celexa, as well as Wellbutrin.

(Recent studies have revealed that those antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.)

As Newton completed Bergin’s paperwork, Bergin asked him if he could just go to Detox. He then told Newton that he “has pulled over plenty of drunken cops, and has given them a ride home,” the report stated.

“He told me that in Sandy it is still the ‘good old boy’ system, and he could just go to Detox or home,” Newton wrote. “I informed him that I had a job to do and that it was nothing personal.”

Sandy Police Chief Harold Skelton denied that claim, stating, “Drunk people will say anything.”

Bruce Mowry, an attorney representing the city, wondered if Bergin was responsible for what he said when he was drunk, and said that it’s important to consider the context of the statements.

Bergin was lodged at the Washington County Jail, and his bail was set at $3,710 – the standard for misdemeanor crimes. He also paid $408 in court fees.

The officer opted to enter a one-year diversion program. Diversion, a program designed for first-time offenders, allows lawbreakers to enter into counseling and/or community service work. At the end of diversion, the case is dismissed.

Bergin’s diversion ends April 9.


Chief Skelton found himself in uncharted territory when he was notified of the incident in the middle of the night. Flabbergasted at what he said was one of the department’s worst personnel crises, he consulted others to come up with an appropriate response to Bergin’s actions.

“I checked with other chiefs who have had similar incidents, as well as legal counsel and labor attorneys, and they suggested things to help,” Skelton said. That advice led him to levy a punishment he said was “probably the most harsh any of us have faced in the 30-plus years I’ve been here.”

City officials wouldn’t specify what the punishment entailed, calling it a private personnel matter.

“It was an off-duty incident, but the city responded appropriately,” said Bruce Mowery, an attorney representing the police department in several lawsuits. “It was not ignored; if anyone thinks the city ignored it, they’re sadly mistaken.”

Sandy Mayor Linda Malone would not comment on the incident, due to its connection to the ongoing Kaady case.

Eriks Gabliks, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, said that when it comes to disciplinary action for officers arrested for DUII, there is no norm.

“It’s very much handled on an agency-by-agency basis,” Gabliks said. Punishments range from immediate dismissal to reassignment, and everything in between. It all depends on what occurred during the incident and each department’s policies and procedures.

“We understand that officers make mistakes, make poor decisions in their life,” Gabliks said. “And DUII, unfortunately, is one of those for some people.”

He said an officer’s certification is not typically at risk for a first-time DUII offender.

“You’ll never hear us say we stand behind officers that drink and drive,” Gabliks said. “We don’t stand behind inappropriate decisions.”

Burrows, the Kaady attorney, says Bergin’s punishment didn’t go far enough.

“He should be fired,” Burrows said. “If not for the shooting, for the DUII.

“My guess is that after I talked to him, this (the shooting) has completely traumatized him,” Burrows continued. “He told me he has a hard time pulling people over. I don’t think he can function anymore; he shouldn’t be a police officer.”

The city disagrees. They say Bergin has got his life back together, and is a productive, upbeat, rehabilitated member of the department.

“He went to court, and took responsibility for what he did,” he said, noting that Bergin also wrote a letter of apology to the entire department. “He did everything and beyond what the courts asked him to do. Before he came back, he was thoroughly examined, and was 100 percent fit for duty.”

Bergin has reportedly given up alcohol, not touching a drop since his arrest. He recently was given the task of being the field-training officer for new police recruit Lewis Sytsma.

“If I didn’t think he was stable, I would not have given him that responsibility,” Skelton said. Although dealing with a disorder that has left many officers “surly,” Skelton said, Bergin has shown himself to be positive and competent.

City officials believe that the use of this incident in the Kaady case is an attempt to discredit the entire Sandy Police Department.

“Why would someone want to resurrect an off-duty incident that happened about a year ago?” Mowery asked. “It must be a psychological ploy, hoping to somehow upset and destroy Bill Bergin … and take advantage of it somehow.”

Skelton says that while the department takes the incident very seriously, he also understands the level of stress Bergin has dealt with since the September 2005 shooting.

“It’s been real hard for him,” the chief said. “I know a lot of people who have been involved in shootings, and everyone says it changed them.”

Some of those officers, he said, went on and finished their careers, but others – about 80 percent – ended their career in law enforcement within five years of a shooting.

“Bill Bergin is a victim of a tragic scenario that he had limited participation in, with quickly unfolding events, and not a lot of time for reflection,” Mowery said. “Some people may have handled it better than he did, but he got help, and it’s worked well. He’s got his life back together.”

“You know, he’s been going through some hard times,” Mayor Malone said of Bergin. “The chief is responsible for determining whether an officer is fit for duty. He has made that call, and at some point we’ll decide whether that call was the right call.”

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Officer William Bergin: Killer, Liar, Perpetrator, Convicted Criminal

from Portland IndyMedia
On March 8th, 2007, a year and a half after he gunned down Fouad Kaady in the streets of Sandy, officer William Bergin had another kind of showdown, in another kind of town... A town where police officers are not so quick on the trigger, and not so shy on the truth.

Bergin, a violent and angry man, showed up at the home of his former girlfriend, in the wee hours of the morning, around 3am. He was drunk, he was frightening, and he was despicable. His ex girlfriend was terrified. With a shaking voice, she called the Sherwood police in tears, requesting assistance. When the police arrived at her home, they found the drunk and belligerent Bergin, and arrested him. He was charged with DUI, and taken downtown. So far as I know, despite the presence of intoxicants in his system, and despite his bizarre behavior, no one tasered him, and no one shot him. Apparently, Sherwood is a more enlightened town than Sandy.

According to the police report detailing this disturbing event, Bergin initially refused to take a breath test to determine the alcohol content in his bloodstream. He was belligerent and non-cooperative with the Sherwood police, at one point demanding that they just let him go, just drop him off at detox. He told them that he has done that for other officers in his situation many times. (An interesting revelation, to be sure.) He also made it clear to them that, in Sandy, cops do not treat cops so shabbily, due to the "old boys" network that we've all suspected but never heard from the horses' mouth before. To their credit, the Sherwood officers informed him that, as this is not Sandy, they would be expected to actually do their jobs here.

Mr. Bergin demanded that he be allowed to call his attorney. He was given access to privacy and a telephone to make his one phone call, but he elected not to call an attorney. Instead, he called, of all people, his ex girlfriend. Yes, the very one whose home he was arrested in front of earlier in the night. He left a voice mail, thankfully, so that there is a record of the entire call. He told the woman that he hoped she was happy with herself, and that "I'm done." He said that this incident would mean the end of his career, that he would be fired, and again, "I'm done." (One would have thought so. But that's not how they do things out in Sandy. Not when you're a good ol' boy.) He then told her that, as soon as he gets out of jail, and as soon as he could get a gun in his hand, he intended to "put a bullet in my head."

But he did not lose his job, and he did not kill himself. Instead, Bergin's miraculously bullet-free head can still be seen, these days, propping up his police hat in the streets of Sandy. Because, despite his violent behavior, despite his inability to follow the laws he is supposed to be upholding, and despite Bergin's admission that he readily skirts the law according to who the perpetrator is, chief Harold Skelton thinks he's "the right stuff" for the Sandy PD. It cannot be argued that Skelton did not know about this incident. Because, while they were still holding Bergin in their jail, the Sherwood police department contacted the Sandy police department to let Sandy know that they had one of their "good ol' boys" in their pen. And it was Chief Skelton himself who returned the call. He actually had the nerve to ask for leniency for Bergin. He told them that Bergin was simply "going through a rough patch." He then told them, in order to plead his case, that Bergin had been having severe emotional difficulties ever since... a shooting incident.

In other words, for a year and a half after Bergin brutally tortured and then killed an unarmed, bleeding accident victim, he has been having "emotional problems." And Skelton, the chief of the Sandy police, knew of Bergin's mental health problems all that time. ...and he kept him armed and out on the streets of Sandy anyway.

Bergin's arrest happened just shy of a year ago. The Kaady killing was nearly two and a half years ago. And yet, Bergin has kept his job as a police officer. What can they be thinking out there? Is there nothing that the citizens of Sandy can do to protect themselves from such a violent and unstable man?

As I reported yesterday, domestic violence is an enormous problem among police officers. Sometimes, this epidemic of violence makes the news, as when Tacoma police chief David Brame shot his estranged wife and himself in front of their two small children in 2003. Usually, however, this abuse is shrouded in secrecy. As Bergin's abuse has been, until now.

Police officers who abuse their spouses and partners are an especially dangerous subset of the population, because they have the means to stalk, harass, and oppress their victims more than ordinary citizens. They have access to all the tools of law enforcement to intrude upon their victim's private lives, they have weapons, and they have friends who can help them evade responsibility for their actions. They have first-name relationships with judges, prosecutors, and fellow officers, and are often not held accountable for their abuse. It's been very difficult to get police officers to recognize domestic violence as a criminal matter at all. When the abuse involves a fellow officer, they are even less likely to consider the incident to be a crime, no matter how serious.

It's a very serious breach of the public trust when an officer who has been a perpetrator of domestic violence is allowed to continue to work in a position of authority, carrying a badge and a gun. How are we to expect him to react when he is expected to respond to a domestic violence call? Will he take the crime seriously? Or will he identify with the perpetrator?

It is also a serious breach of the public trust for an officer to treat defendants differently according to who they are, and who they know. Justice itself depends upon all people being treated equally in the eyes of the law. Bergin, in his drunken stupor, let it slip from his mouth that, in Sandy anyway, this is not how things work. One would hope that a revelation such as this one would lead to some house cleaning out there. (It's high time that Chief Skelton, and all his good ol' boys, be swept out of Dodge. If anyone is awake over at the Sandy city hall, one would think that some kind of action would be taken once this information reaches the public.)

But these revelations call into question more than just the character and judgment of officer Bergin or chief Skelton. They also call into question everything that Bergin said in his statement regarding the killing of Fouad Kaady. As damning as his own words were in that statement, it is clear that there is much more to that story than he was willing to tell. It's also pretty clear that, by his own admission, he is not above bending the law to protect fellow officers, and he expects his fellow officers to do the same for him. So the places where officer Bergin's and Deputy Willard's statements regarding the Kaady killing differ from the statements of the many witnesses to that event become even more suspect.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Another Month of Delayed Justice for Fouad Kaady

author: Lew - published on Portland IndyMedia

I think by now, most readers of Indymedia are aware of the circumstances surrounding the death of Fouad Kaady. If not, search out a copy of a very fine video (now on DVD!), "28 Seconds: The Killing of Fouad Kaady." You will be astounded.

If you ever believed that the system of justice works, you will re assess your views. Since another month has passed without justice, I need to publish a reminder. It is all I can do.

A short synopsis here: On September 8, 2005, 27 year old Fouad Kaady was involved in several wrecks, described by police as hit and run incidents. Investigation reveals that he was probably on fire at the time, so he might be forgiven for failure to stop and render aid. He was transporting gasoline in his father's vehicle, in an attempt to bring fuel to his own vehicle which was out of gas. At some point, apparently the gasoline burst into flames.

Fouad was first observed, driving erratically (go figure) , and appeared to be waving his arms wildly. The car appeared to be cloudy inside, possibly from smoke. After striking a couple of vehicles (no injuries), he ran his father's car off of the road, and bailed out, shedding his remaining clothes which were on fire. He was pretty likely in shock, and a great deal of pain (police described him as very badly burned, skin hanging from his body, and bleeding.) He ran into the woods.

Enter the first responders: Fire department and EMTs were first on the scene, which was soon saturated with police. Two intrepid officers (Clackamas County Deputy David Willard, and Sandy Police Officer William Bergin) were first to locate the victim who was (in the officer's words) "seated Indian style alongside the road, rocking back and forth, moaning, and catatonic." The officers both stated that they knew immediately that the naked man was unarmed, but for some reason began shouting unreasonable orders (to lay his burned body on the hot pavement), and when they were not obeyed, began discharging both of their tasers into the victim. When this senseless response to an obviously injured and in shock victim failed to immediately achieve the desired results (results which neither officer could articulate), the victim fled the pain. He jumped up to the top of the police cruiser, which in Oregon is apparently a capital offense. At this time, because neither officer was willing to touch his bloody body, they chose instead, to exterminated him.

This obvious miscarriage of any form of justice was given sanction by the District Attorney, who could not seem to find an indictment to save his career. Then, the Sheriff even went so far as to state that good police guidelines were followed, and no policies were violated.

We disagree. Apparently, we are not alone, as the Gerry Spence (Ruby Ridge, Silkwood, and many other high profile cases) Law Firm has taken the civil case pro bono. See the film, see if you agree. It is available on You Tube at the following links, but the DVD is much easier to watch. Keep watching in your local library or supermarket, for free copies.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

the state of mind of kaady's killers

author: global roaming - published in Portland IndyMedia

Fouad Kaady was killed on September 8 2005, by a Clackamas County Sherriff's deputy named David Willard and Sandy police officer William Bergin, despite being unarmed and seriously injured from burns. He had evidently torn his clothes off to escape the flames of a fire in his motor vehicle.

The basic scenario is so outrageous that it has left many people completely appalled. But one thing that hasn't been talked about much is the state of mind of the cops who killed Kaady.

Fouad Kaady was killed on September 8 2005, by a Clackamas County Sherriff's deputy named David Willard and a City of Sandy police officer named William Bergin, despite being unarmed and seriously injured from burns. He had evidently torn his clothes off to escape the flames of a fire in his motor vehicle.

The basic scenario is so outrageous that it has left many people completely appalled. But one thing that hasn't been talked about much is the state of mind of the cops who killed Kaady.

The officers responded to a series of calls reporting a vehicle fire and a number of ensuing hit-and-run collisions, and reports of an irrational, severely injured burn victim running naked from the scene. (See

Officers chose to focus on suggestions that the man was "irrational" and -- they surmised -- "on drugs," as a catchall to explain "irrational" behavior, and chose to react by treating Kaady as a "suspect" instead of a citizen in need of urgent assistance.

This initial choice on their part proved disastrous. Even though they observed, by their own admission, that the man was in a "catatonic" state and incapable of following their orders, they proceeded to bark a series of senseless orders at him, including trying to force him to lie on the ground, a totally illogical demand in view of Kaady's burn injuries. When he refused to heed these commands, they immediately escalated to "less lethal" weapons (tasers), and finally, when Kaady attempted to flee, they shot him to death, citing his proximity to an unattended weapon they had left on the hood of their squad car as the reason.

It seems clear that the reports the officers received from witnesses of Kaady's behavior prior to their confrontation with him completely framed their own eventual interactions with him. Over and over again, they cited their fear of coming into physical contact with him, emphasizing that he was "covered in blood." They explicitly described their fear of contracting blood-borne pathogens, which risk they thought was heightened by their assumption that the man "must be a drug user." This fear of coming into physical contact with the man they killed helps explain their rapid escalation to force, and finally lethal force.

When the officers were asked if they could have or should have handled the situation differently or better, they responded "no."

Despite the appalling mistakes committed by the officers, it seems patently unlikely that they were motivated by bloodlust, and wholly believable that they were in fact "afraid," afraid of fantasies concocted in their own imaginations on the strength of partial and partially digested reports from previous eyewitnesses. Out of these reports they concocted a scenario of a "bloody, deranged drug addict," possibly infected with hepatitis or HIV, against whom they had to protect themselves. All of these notions turned out to be totally false.

Based on what we know so far, it would probably be a mistake to paint the officers involved in the killing as being far outside the norm. It is not at all hard to believe that many if not most other officers, faced with the same circumstances, would make the same or similarly appalling errors in judgment. Hence the quick decision by the Grand Jury not to prosecute them. Of course, however, all of this makes the situation MORE APPALLING, not less. Because the odds are that, even were Willard and Bergin cashiered, even prosecuted, the underlying social and cultural assumptions that led the officers to behave as they did would persist unaltered amongst the rest of their colleagues.

Thus, it could be useful for those who know more about the case to explore the ramifications of the state of mind of the officers, their cultural and social backgrounds and assumptions, and how prevalent the same assumptions are amongst their colleagues. Because unless these underlying mental dynamics are challenged and altered, it is inevitable that tragedies like the one that befell Kaady will happen again, if not at the hands of these officers, then by their colleagues.