The mother of a man fatally shot by Tigard police while barricaded inside his locked truck during a 2021 standoff addressed City Council last month to discuss deeply critical findings of an independent review and to ask that Council hear directly from its author.
The 45-page report released jointly in February by attorneys for the family of Jacob Macduff and the OIR, an independent agency that reviews police shootings, concluded there was no reason for his death.
It left Tigard and the Washington County Major Crimes Team with 31 reform recommendations aimed at improving future responses and follow-up investigations. Twenty-two were directed specifically at the Tigard Police Department.
“We were in control. Time was on our side, and we initiated contact (with Jacob),” Police Chief Kathy McAlpine said. “We own it. We are trying to move forward and put all these things in place.”
McAlpine and Jacob’s mother, Maria Macduff, were among several people who spoke about the incident during a March 15 City Council meeting.
Topping Macduff’s list of four requests was an invitation for independent review author Michael Gennaco to present and discuss his findings to City Council publicly.
“I know that Chief McAlpine has discussed (the report), but maybe the city needs to hear it from the author himself,” she said. “We requested this last month, but to date, no response from the City Council.”
Her 26-year-old son was shot eight times by then-officer Gabriel Maldonado outside the apartment complex where he had lived with his former girlfriend after police responded to a neighbor’s report of domestic violence.
Jacob was having a mental health crisis, locked inside his barricaded truck, and showing no aggression when police initiated the action that led to his death. Maria Macduff commissioned the $38,000 inquiry after settling with the city of Tigard for $3.8 million last fall last summer.
In the two years since Jacob’s shooting, Tigard police have implemented changes that address 15 of the report’s 22 recommendations, including the addition of bodyworn cameras, targeted training for responding to barricaded suspects, de-escalation training, and adding an officer to Washington County’s Mental Health response team.
Sixty-seven percent of calls to Tigard police have a mental health or substance abuse component, according to McAlpine. Jacob’s death is the sole fatality in the department’s 45-year history, a statistic McAlpine acknowledged is of little solace to his family and loved ones.
“One of the things we knew right from the get-go was we had a failing camera system,” McAlpine said. “In that incident, we had one dashboard camera that only caught a little bit of this.”
They’ve since added a drone, which McAlpine said has already helped to peacefully resolve a situation in which police used the close-flying camera to positively identify a cellphone, not a weapon, in the suspect’s hand.
The full list of OIR recommendations and the corresponding changes in place or in progress is posted on the Department’s transparency page, fulfilling another of Maria Macduff’s requests – that the list of changes be made public.
“I appreciate what Chief McAlpine has done, and I know how difficult it must be,” she said. “I know it is difficult for the police, also. I appreciate that. It’s just that I really miss my son. I really miss him.”
Macduff additionally urged city officials and community members to press Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton to release grand jury findings in fatal police shooting cases and called for the formation of a citizen’s review board to oversee and provide public feedback on procedural changes in the Tigard Police department.
“Public access to grand jury findings in police cases of fatal shootings has peer precedence in Multnomah County under the District Attorney Mike Schmidt,” Macduff said, her voice cracking with emotion. “It can be done, and I think it should be done.”
Though she praised McAlpine’s open and swift response to the report saying she’s very “reassured and encouraged” by changes the department has already implemented, “It shouldn’t have to take an expensive independent review paid for by the bereaved family to expose the readily apparent flaws in a police department and that state judicial system,” she said.