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What Happened To Fouad Kaady: Jury clears officers in fatal shooting

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jury clears officers in fatal shooting

from the Oregonian

A Clackamas County grand jury Monday voted not to indict a sheriff's deputy and a Sandy police officer who fatally shot a 27-year-old Gresham man last month.

Fouad Kaady died Sept. 8 of gunshot wounds on a rural highway north of Sandy after a bizarre chain of events.

Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote said the six-person jury heard testimony from at least 40 witnesses and visited the scene of the shooting last week.

"It was a challenging case, and the grand jury wanted to hear all the evidence," Foote said. "The grand jury members did not find that they were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there was evidence that a crime had been committed by these police officers. Their decision today deserves our respect and consideration."

Foote said at least five of the grand jurors, whose vote tally remains private, would have needed to vote "yes" to indict the two officers: Sandy police Officer William J. Bergin, 24, and Clackamas County sheriff's Deputy David E. Willard, 46.

Kaady's family and friends condemned the grand jury's decision.

"It's a sad day for justice in Oregon when law-abiding citizens can be murdered in the streets when they are not a threat," said Albert Kaady, a cousin. "It's a mark of shame for Oregon."

A friend of Kaady's, Tereq Amhaz, 26, of Portland, said, "Everybody is really disappointed. It sure seems like police have a license to kill."

Fouad Kaady, who was suspected in at least three hit-and-run crashes in the hours before he died, was bloody, naked and combative, sheriff's officials said. He was unfazed by 50,000 volts from a stun gun and refused to respond to commands.

Both officers testified that Kaady jumped from the ground to the top of a police car in an instant as he screamed at the officers, "I'm gonna kill you!" They fired eight times, hitting Kaady with seven rounds. Kaady was unarmed.

"This is a case in which there are no winners," said Sandy Police Chief Harold Skelton. "A decision made in an instant can have results that will affect the individuals and the community for a lifetime."

Skelton said it was the first time a Sandy police officer has used lethal force.

Kaady's family said his bizarre behavior was not the result of drugs or mental illness, but of burns from a gasoline can that exploded into flames inside his car, and of a head injury suffered during one of the three car crashes.

One witness, Elaine Thornlimb of Boring, told the grand jury that Kaady had burned skin hanging from his arms. Paul White, who lived near the scene of the fatal shooting, said Kaady was grunting and howling as he walked along Southeast 362nd Avenue north of Sandy.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said his office will convene a shooting review board to examine the incident during the next 30 days. Skelton said the Sandy Police Department also will conduct an internal review of the shooting.

Roberts and Skelton offered their condolences to Kaady's family.

"We acknowledge the tragic loss to the Kaady family as we keep them in our thoughts and prayers," Skelton said in a statement.

Bergin was hired as a Sandy police officer in May, having previously worked as a Lincoln City police officer for about 1-1/2 years. Willard has been a Clackamas County deputy since 1994. He previously worked for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Willamina police and Portland Public Schools police.

Both men have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting and will remain on leave until their respective agencies complete reviews of the shooting.

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