After fatal traffic stop shooting, Springfield agrees to pay $4.55M, review police use of force
UPDATE 12/28/2020: Added links to recent Washington Post podcast and Atlantic story.
UPDATE 10/17/2020: Added information from Washington Post story about police shootings involving people in the throes of a mental health crisis.
- On March 31, 2019, during a traffic stop, Springfield police killed Stacy Kenny, a 33-year-old Springfield resident, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Court records show Kenny legally changed her name and gender in Lane County Court on September 20, 2018.
- On April 16, 2019, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow ruled that a Springfield police officer was lawful in his use of force.
- On July 15, 2020, lawyers for the family of Kenny announced that the city of Springfield had agreed to pay $4.55 million and to undertake police reforms.
- Nationally, about a quarter of all fatal police shootings involved someone police said was in the throes of a mental health crisis.
On March 31, 2019, the final moments of Stacy Kenny’s life are captured on a recorded 911 call. The 33-year-old Springfield resident, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, begs an emergency operator to explain why she’s been pulled over. Amid screaming and rustling sounds, police officers smash the windows on her red Nissan, Taser her twice, punch her in the face more than a dozen times and try to pull her out by her hair.
But Kenny, 33, who legally had changed her gender but still appeared to be a man, was anchored to the car by a locked seat belt. Her life ends, as does the 911 call, when she tries to flee by driving away with one of the officers still inside the car. There’s a burst of gunfire, then an officer says: “We are all okay. Bad guy down.” (Source: Washington Post)
Police officers not charged
On April 16, 2019, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow ruled that a Springfield police officer was lawful in his use of force to shoot and kill Stacy William Kenny.
The D.A. identified Sgt. Rick A. Lewis as the officer who fired his service weapon six times at Kenny. (Source: Register-Guard)
City of Springfield settles wrongful death lawsuit for $4.55 million
The city of Springfield will pay $4.55 million and review Springfield police’s use-of-force policy and its accountability as a result of a settlement of a civil rights violation lawsuit filed by the family of a woman fatally shot by police during a 2019 traffic stop.
The settlement, announced by the family’s lawyers on July 15, 2020, requires the Springfield Police Department to submit to a comprehensive top-to-bottom review of its use of force accountability processes; make needed changes to its use-of-force policy; train its police officers to use the minimum force necessary to accomplish their lawful objectives; and create transparency by requiring a public annual report on use of force.
In addition, the city of Springfield agreed to pay $4.55 million, the largest settlement for a police use of force case in Oregon, according to the family’s lawyers. (Source: Register-Guard)
Death part of national trend
The death of Stacy Kenny was one of 1,324 fatal shootings by police over the past six years that involved someone police said was in the throes of a mental health crisis—about a quarter of all fatal police shootings during that period.
Although the number of these fatalities has declined, these confrontations remain a deadly and vexing issue, especially in small and midsize metropolitan areas. A Post analysis shows fatal police shootings of those who are mentally ill are more likely to take place in areas with populations of fewer than 1 million, like Springfield, which is part of a metropolitan area of about 382,000. (Source: Washington Post)
- An Alternative to Police That Police Can Get Behind (Atlantic, 12/28/2020)
- PODCAST: Policing mental health crises (Washington Post, 12/11/2020)
- Fatal police shootings of mentally ill people are 39 percent more likely to take place in small and midsized areas (Washington Post, 10/17/2020)
- Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg stepping down immediately (Register-Guard, 8/18/2020)
- Kimberly Kenny: Crisis Intervention Training Didn’t Prevent Four Police Officers From Assaulting and Killing My Brother (Pete Earley blog, 7/30/2020)
- William LeGro: Perlow Not a DA ‘Slam Dunk’ (Eugene Weekly, 7/23/2020)
- Fatal traffic stop shooting leads to Springfield paying $4.55M, review of police use of force (Register-Guard, 7/21/2020)
- Family reaches $4.5M settlement with Springfield Police in wrongful death case (KVAL, 7/21/2020)
- Springfield settles police lawsuit for more than $4.5M (KEZI, 7/20/2019)
- City of Springfield pays $4.55 million to family of woman killed by police, in record settlement (Oregonian, 7/17/2020)
- City of Springfield settles in lawsuit after Stacy Kenny’s death (KLCC, 7/16/2020)
- Justice for family of Stacy (Patrick) Kenny Killed by Springfield Police (David D. Park, Elliott & Park, P.C., 7/15/2020)
- Calls for police reform and altered investigations into police shootings raised in Eugene (KVAL, 7/14/2020)
- Hundreds march through downtown Springfield in protest organized by Black Unity (KVAL, 7/8/2020)
- Pro-Police Supporters in Springfield Face Off Against Counter Protesters (KLCC, 6/23/2020)
- Family of person shot, killed by Springfield Police file $10M lawsuit (KVAL, 9/24/2019)
- Parents of person killed by Springfield police in March sue for $10 million (9/23/2019)
- Family of police shooting victim sues Springfield for wrongful death (OPB, 9/21/2019)
- Parents of Springfield woman with schizophrenia who was shot by police file wrongful death suit (Oregonian, 9/20/2019)
- Audio, video released in Springfield police shooting (Register-Guard, 4/17/2019)
- Lane County D.A. Rules Police Shooting Justified (KLCC, 4/17/2020)
- 911 tapes and video record harrowing details of officer-involved shooting (KEZI, 4/17/2019)
- Springfield police shooting lawful; injured officers identified (Register-Guard, 4/16/2019)
- ‘Stop! You are going to kill us both!’ Officer shot man during struggle in speeding car (KVAL, 4/16/2019)
- Fatal officer-involved shooting in Springfield ruled justified (KEZI, 4/16/2019)
- Lane Co. DA to hold Springfield officer-involved shooting briefing Tuesday (Register-Guard, 4/15/2020)
- DA to provide update on deadly March 31 officer-involved shooting in Springfield (KVAL, 4/15/2019)
- No new details in death of Springfield woman in officer-involved shooting (Register-Guard, 4/3/2019)
- Suspect in Springfield officer-involved shooting identified (KEZI, 4/3/2019)
- Person killed in Springfield officer-involved shooting identified (Register-Guard, 4/2/2019)
- DA identifies driver killed in officer-involved shooting in Springfield (KVAL, 4/2/2019)
- DA identifies person who died in officer-involved shooting in Springfield (KEZI, 4/2/2019)
- VIDEO: Kenny pursuit and shooting (Register-Guard on YouTube, 3/31/2019)
- Stacy W. Kenny (family blog)
- Final Settlement Agreement (9/27/2020)
- Oregon Legislature testimony (8/2/2020)
- Press Release (7/15/2020)
- Who was Patrick (Stacy) Kenny (7/15/2020)
- Complaint (10/21/2019)