Reports detail police shooting of Bend, Oregon, driver
By AUBREY WIEBER
Sep. 13, 2017
BEND, Ore. (AP) — At 10:29 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2016, Bend Police officer Scott Schaier radioed to dispatch that he had located a suspected intoxicated driver at the intersection of Bond Street and Franklin Avenue.
The situation escalated rapidly, and resulted in the fatal shooting of the 31-year-old driver, Michael Tyler Jacques.
Schaier pulled up behind the vehicle, a white minivan. Fellow officer Marc Tisher parked his car so it partially blocked the van.
Tisher got out of the car with his gun drawn and yelled at Jacques to put his hands on the steering wheel. Schaier opened the driver's side door and attempted to pull Jacques out of the car.
What happened next, according to law enforcement reports obtained by The Bulletin from the Oregon Department of Justice, turned a traffic stop into a swift, deadly encounter.
It lasted only 27 seconds.
Schaier got into a physical altercation with Jacques and twice tried to subdue him with his Taser. Then Tisher used his Taser before Schaier squirted Jacques in the eyes with pepper gel.
The minivan rolled forward, its tires briefly spinning out on the icy avenue as Schaier pulled out his gun. He fired five times, hitting Jacques in the head and shoulder blade, killing him.
The Oregon Department of Justice took more than six months to investigate those 27 seconds, announcing on July 10 that it would not prosecute Schaier. On Sept. 5, The Bulletin received all the documents state justice officials reviewed in deciding not to prosecute Schaier, or Tisher, for their involvement in the shooting.
The following information — a more detailed account than anything previously released by law enforcement officials — comes from extensive eyewitness reports and interviews Schaier and Tisher gave about a week after the shooting.
Schaier and Tisher had just finished a response to a call on Broadway Street and Riverside Boulevard. They returned to their cars and heard a report of the van heading west on Franklin, and pulled over Jacques when they found him two blocks away. Both put their lights on, and Tisher lit up Jacques with his spotlight.
"As soon as I looked at the driver, I knew this was not going to go well," Tisher told Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Detective James McLaughlin and Oregon State Police detectives Roberto Robles and Erich Timko in his interview Dec. 29.
When state justice officials announced they would not prosecute Schaier, they said the officers approached the van in a "low-key manner." But the officers' own accounts appear to contradict that.
Tisher recalled Jacques looking angry. Several times he described Jacques as "ominous."
In response, Tisher immediately pulled his gun out and aimed at Jacques. Schaier was surprised by this, saying it was "completely out of character for Officer Tisher."
Schaier told investigators Tisher raised the level of aggression by pulling the gun and that his plan was to approach in a calm way and try to convince Jacques to get out of the car.
Tisher told investigators that Jacques didn't look like "a deer-in-the-headlights scared citizen" and that Jacques was looking at Tisher in a confrontational way.
"I knew this was more than a traffic complaint," Tisher said. "I knew this was something that needed to be stopped."
While Tisher aimed his gun at Jacques, Schaier twice told Jacques that the officer would shoot him if he moved.
Both officers reported that Jacques initially complied with orders to put his hands on the steering wheel, though Tisher recalled Jacques moving his hands slowly, which worried Tisher. Twice, Tisher mentioned how the slow raise of the hands was confrontational.
Schaier, saying nothing, then opened the driver's side door. The state Justice Department said Jacques moved his hands from the wheel and reached to his right side, though no information the agency reviewed included a statement to that effect. Rather, Schaier reported Jacques moved his hands toward his jacket pockets.
Schaier said he then grabbed Jacques' left arm and tried to pull him from the vehicle but wound up slipping on the ice and being pulled into the van by Jacques.
Jacques made a "hammer fist" and repeatedly struck him on his head, said Schaier, who then pushed his forearm against Jacques' chin to force him into "pain compliance." It didn't work, and Jacques kept hitting Schaier until he let go of Jacques' arm and stepped away from the van door.
Tisher told investigators he was not in a position to react to the assault.
"I can't really do much with my gun because I'm looking at Scott and the suspect and I can't really go through the window," he said.
The scuffle was captured on videos shot by witnesses and reviewed by justice officials. The entire altercation lasted about three seconds.
One video shows Jacques moving around in his seat while being shot with the Taser by Schaier, but it is not clear if he is reacting to the electricity. Schaier told investigators the Taser was ineffective, as Jacques was able to pull at the wires. Schaier then pressed the Taser directly against Jacques' skin to stun him, but said there was no effect.
Tisher was taken aback.
"It's very alarming to see somebody that knows enough and has enough strength and mindset to take the Taser probes out to prevent the Taser, to defeat the Taser," he told investigators.
In response, Tisher deployed his Taser at the center of Jacques' chest. Justice officials previously said the Tasers had no effect, but Tisher told investigators that he knew he had a direct hit because Jacques' body went rigid.
Schaier then used pepper gel on both of Jacques' eyes.
Throughout the altercation, the van was in drive and Jacques' foot was on the brake. Right after Schaier used the pepper gel on Jacques, the van rolled forward a couple feet and then came to a stop. Schaier said he felt something on the car catch against his utility vest and pull him forward.
Schaier reported hearing the engine accelerate. One video shows the wheels of the van briefly spinning on the ice as it moves forward a few feet.
Schaier said at that point, he was afraid that he or Tisher would get run over, or that Jacques would drive into nearby pedestrians.
"The chances of his back tire running over me was inevitable," Schaier said.
Schaier then yelled "get out of the way," Tisher recalled, right before pulling his gun and firing at Jacques.
The van came to a stop immediately.
Schaier announced the shots over the radio at 10:31 p.m.
Tisher and Schaier took cover behind Tisher's squad car and waited for backup because they didn't know if Jacques was dead. Four minutes later, officers started to arrive, and set up a staging area about 20 yards from the van. They formulated a plan to approach the van behind bullet-proof shields and remove Jacques under the fear that he could regain consciousness and drive off.
Bend Police Lt. Brian Beekman unbuckled Jacques and pulled him out. As he did, the van started rolling forward. It was still in drive, with Jacques' foot still on the brake.
Beekman reported feeling a faint pulse on Jacques' neck.
Police began to administer medical attention, but immediately stopped when an ambulance arrived. Paramedics administered aid for a brief period of time but stopped when they lost a pulse.
At no point did officers step back to reassess the situation. But when talking to investigators, Tisher said that would have been the wrong tactic.
"We attempt to de-escalate," he said. "But there are occasions where there is no de-escalation; it's a confrontation."
Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com