The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is seeking information from the public about the May 27 death of Otis/Titi Gulley, a Black, transgender homeless person who was found hanging from a tree in Rocky Butte Park.
PPB's request comes one day after the Mercury reported that, although Gulley's death had been declared a suicide by Multnomah County Medical Examiner, her family had reason to believe she may have been murdered. In an interview with the Mercury, Gulley's family members said they attempted to share information with police about rumors from Gulley's friends and acquaintances suggesting foul play. Some even mentioned having video evidence of her alleged murder.
But Gulley's family said they weren't listened to by PPB officers. The Mercury also received little information from PPB when we inquired about police efforts following Gulley's death.
"Today, the Police Bureau has learned from a media report that there may be community members with additional information and/or video of the incident," reads PPB's June 11 press release. "A member of the Detective Division has made contact with family in an attempt to gather more details."
PPB asks anyone with information about the incident or the circumstances leading up to it to call detectives at (503) 823-0400.
In the press release, PPB adds new details about how police responded immediately following Gulley's death:
On May 27, 2019, East Precinct Officers were dispatched to a call of a death in the 3500 block of Northeast Rocky Butte Road. Upon arrival, officers discovered a deceased individual, later identified as 31-year-old Otis Gulley, who we later learned identified as a trans-gender community member. Medical personnel responded and confirmed Gulley was deceased.
The Medical Examiner's Office responded to the scene to assume the investigation. Criminalists from the Portland Police Forensic Evidence Division also arrived to photograph and collect evidence.
The Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death to be suicide.
PPB also attempts to clear up confusion expressed by Gulley's family—and the public—around which law enforcement agency is responsible for a death investigation.
"For example," the release continues, "the Police Bureau does not determine cause or manner of death, does not perform autopsies, does not determine whether or not an autopsy should be performed, and does not have the authority to release documents from other agencies. The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office has these roles."
The Mercury has yet to receive Gulley's autopsy records from the state medical examiner's office.