A memorial for Robert Delgado hangs in Lents Park.
A memorial for Robert Delgado hangs in Lents Park. JORDAN BROKAW

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt are partnering to broaden the current investigation into the April 16 fatal shooting of Portlander Robert Delgado by Portland police officer Zachary DeLong.

According to a Thursday announcement by both elected officials' offices, an assistant attorney general will work with two Multnomah County deputy district attorneys to oversee the criminal investigation currently being conducted into Delgado's death. Similar to past officer shootings, the investigation's results will then be presented before a Multnomah County grand jury to determine whether or not DeLong violated state law by using deadly force against Delgado.

Brent Weisberg, a spokesperson with the Multnomah County District Attorney's office, says that it’s common for the office to send at least one deputy district attorney to oversee an investigation involving a police using deadly force. Weisberg said that this type of partnership between the District Attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s office has not taken place within the past two decades.

This news comes a week after Delgado's family made a public plea to Rosenblum to assign a special prosecutor to investigate the case. Delgado was unhoused at the time of his death, and his family believes he had a mental illness. He was shot by DeLong at Lents Park after PPB received a call, claiming Delgado was playing with a gun near the park's baseball field. PPB alleges Delgado was carrying a fake gun at the time.

Last week, Delgado's family pointed to PPB's record of disproportionally killing and injuring people who are in a mental health crisis as reason to bolster the investigation.

"I have listened carefully to the family of Robert Delgado and to the community members who have asked for a justice system that is rooted in fairness and transparency," said Schmidt in a Thursday press statement. "This partnership between the Oregon Attorney General’s Office and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will ensure the death investigation of Robert Delgado is just and impartial. It will serve to help restore legitimacy and trust in the criminal justice system. I look forward to having conversations that address how these investigations are handled in the future to maintain consistent and standardized practices statewide the moment an officer uses deadly force.”

Thursday's announcement came as good news to Skyler Delgado, one of Robert's four adult children. In an email to the Mercury sent through his family's lawyer, Skyler said that his family "appreciates this change in procedure, and the responsiveness to the family’s request."

PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said he's open to the county and state prosecutors' extra involvement in the investigation. Asked about the requested investigation in a Tuesday press conference, Lovell said he "would never stand in the way of an independent look at an incident or the [PPB].”

It's not clear how long the criminal investigation will continue, and when a grand jury will be convened.

The Thursday announcement urges the public not to read too much into the involvement of the state and county prosecutors' offices. Per the offices' joint press release: "The joint prosecution of this matter does not opine on the individual and unique facts existing in this case."