The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office has released transcripts from its grand jury investigation into the March 12 fatal police shooting of Kelly Vern Mark Swoboda—a wanted felon sought in a brutal kidnapping and more recently accused of creeping past middle school girls in Southwest Portland.
John Romero, the officer who shot Swoboda, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in connection with the case, the DA's office announced earlier this month. Police news releases have told some of the story of how the shooting went down. But the transcripts provide, for the first time, an exhaustive retelling—including Romero's firsthand accounting of what was going through his mind when he first saw Swoboda.
And how Romero reacted when, he says, Swoboda fired first.
There are more than 300 pages of transcripts, with 30 or so pages from Romero's inteview alone. I've pulled just a sampling of his testimony here: when he heard Swoboda fire, his "instantaneous" decision to fire his own weapons, and a bit that could see this shooting, in after-action reports, reinforce police training on something called the "action-reaction" principle.
That's particularly important. Police officers are taught that they'll almost always be beaten off the draw by a potentially armed subject—that their reaction will always be a few seconds behind someone's potentially lethal action. This is why, in most cases, police officers who fire first are found within policy.