Yesterday, I posted about news reports that Mayor Sam Adams, Portland's police commissioner, had said in an interview that the officer who fired his gun amid the fatal melee Saturday morning outside Club 915 may have done so accidentally.
That claim was fairly jaw-dropping. As big a deal as a police shooting already is, an accidental shooting would be an even bigger one. And the bureau on Sunday, when I asked them to confirm what the mayor said, firmly told me that was "not accurate."
So then my next question was this: Was it the mayor's fault—or the media's? (KATU first reported the statement; we picked it up but attributed KATU). Turns out, according to Adams' spokesman Roy Kaufmann, the blame kinda, sorta falls on Adams. (Adams also apparently tweeted other information about the case, including that the victim was working as a bouncer.)
"That was the mayor's assumption based on the information he had. It was very, very preliminary information at the scene," Kaufman said this morning. "It's not the final assessment."
He said the mayor gave the interview "shortly after the incident occurred" and wanted to provide as much an update as he could for TV viewers tuning in. The problem, of course, was that the update might have been incorrect. Police are not releasing information about why the officer fired the gun, beyond denying that it was an accident.
Notably, Adams didn't come anywhere near the TV cameras at last night's media vigil outside 2011's second police shooting.
"Sam is very much a hands-on police commissioner," Kaufmann says. "When there's an incident like this, it's a priority for him to be on the scene, to understand what happened initially, knowing information will come to light throughout the investigation."
Expect this to come up later today when Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese address reporters about the five police shootings in Portland since late November.