Grand Jury Clears Cop Who Fatally Shot Man During Crisis

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A grand jury has cleared a Portland police officer in the deadly shooting of a man who called for help during a mental health crisis and later brandished a screwdriver, prosecutors said.

Officer Curtis Brown will not face criminal charges in the fatal June 24 shooting of Michael Ray Townsend, 40, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.

Four Portland firefighter medics and two police officers initially responded to Townsend’s 911 call for help at a Motel 6, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

When Townsend said he wanted to go to a hospital, the officers told him they would need to pat him down and Townsend became agitated and pulled out a screwdriver, the district attorney’s office said. He began moving toward Brown, who rushed backward with his gun pointed at Townsend and fired two shots when he kept advancing, the district attorney's office said.

He had consumed a “large amount” of methamphetamine before calling 911 for help, the district attorney’s office.

“He did what we train people to do, which is ask for help when you need help,” his sister Rachel Steven, a behavioral therapist, previously told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Steven said she was told the first responders were aware her brother had a screwdriver or some makeshift weapon before they approached him — and that he had shared that he had been using meth.

Townsend is one of six people shot by Portland police this year.