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What Happened To Fouad Kaady: Police named in wrongful-death suit

Friday, September 8, 2006

Police named in wrongful-death suit

from the Oregonian

The family of Fouad Kaady, a 27-year-old Portland man shot and killed by police a year ago today on a rural Clackamas County highway, has hired high-profile, flamboyant attorney Gerry Spence of Wyoming to argue a wrongful-death lawsuit in federal court.

Kaady was naked, burned and bleeding when he was shocked with a stun gun then shot by Officer William Bergin of the Sandy Police Department and Deputy David Willard of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

The 31-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, names the city of Sandy, Clackamas County and the two officers and seeks monetary damages in an amount to be determined at trial for civil rights violations, excessive force, unconstitutional arrest and wrongful death.

Willard and Bergin shot the unarmed man seven times. A Clackamas County grand jury heard testimony from at least 40 witnesses and decided against bringing charges against the two. Additionally, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Shooting Review Board and a review by the Sandy Police Department found that Willard and Bergin acted appropriately. Both have returned to duty.

Kaady's family and friends bitterly criticized the grand jury's decision and insist he had no history of mental illness and did not take hard drugs. They think his behavior was caused by the shock of being badly burned in a car wreck about a half-hour before the shooting.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this was not a justifiable shooting," said Portland attorney Michelle Burrows, who also will argue the case with Spence's son, Kent Spence.

Burrows said main arguments in court will be handled by Gerry Spence, who has represented high-profile clients such as white separatist Randy Weaver and Brandon Mayfield, a Portland attorney who was jailed for two weeks in 2004 after his fingerprint was mistakenly linked to terror bombings in Madrid, Spain.

Spence --who often sports a black felt hat and leather-fringed, buckskin jacket --made national headlines in 1984 after winning a $10.5 million settlement for the estate of Karen Silkwood, an Oklahoma plutonium worker.

Lawyers for the Clackamas County counsel's office are ready to take on the case.

"We feel sorry for the family, but we believe this is a very defensible case, and we will fight it," said Ed McGlone, an attorney with the office.

Scott Lazenby, Sandy's city manager, said city officials have been instructed not to discuss pending litigation.

In the official police report, a detective speculated that Kaady's bizarre behavior before the shooting may have been caused by "excited delirium," a rare but often deadly medical condition associated with illegal drug use, mental illness or injury, experts say.

People with the condition commonly display incredible strength, are impervious to pain, growl like an animal, are aggressive and take off their clothing because they become superheated.

Clackamas County prosecutors confirmed that Kaady had traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system.

Shortly before he died, Kaady smashed his car into three other cars on Southeast Bluff Road. Callers told 9-1-1 dispatchers he was combative and had assaulted a man who went to help him.

The lawsuit claims that both the sheriff's department and Sandy police have cultures that encourage officers "to taser and/or 'shoot first,' a pattern of repeated serious violations of the constitutional rights of citizens."

The suit claims Kaady was not presenting any "objective danger." It seeks damages for burial and memorial services; general damages for depriving his civil rights; monetary losses to his estate, including the loss of earnings; pain and suffering; punitive damages; and attorney fees.

"Every holiday, every birthday is hard," said Kaady's sister, Andrea Kaady. "His death was a huge earthquake, and the aftershocks will go on forever."

A memorial service marking the one-year anniversary of Kaady's death will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 2101 N.E. 162nd Ave.


Anonymous said...

why are you people in the mental health department getting rid of the obviously substandard human beings infesting your police departments?

Anonymous said...

why are you people in the mental health department not getting rid of the obviously substandard human beings infesting your police departments?

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