Dane Reister, the Portland cop who accidentally shot a fleeing suspect with live ammo instead of beanbags last June, has been indicted by a grand jury. It’s the first time a Portland police officer’s been indicted for use of force in the line of duty. The initial reports, as so frequently happens in questionable police shootings, didn’t tell the whole story…

Reister, a fifteen year veteran, mistakenly loaded live ammo in his orange, less-lethal designated shotgun before going on duty. Live ammo shells used by the Portland PD are red or blue. The less lethal stuff is yellow. Tough to confuse if you’re paying attention at all.

He plugged William Monroe with five buckshot pellets and, as portlandlive.com reports, did some serious damage.

Monroe suffered two entry wounds to his left thigh; one of the two was a “through and through” shot. Another hit his buttocks, shattering his pelvis, and puncturing his bladder, colon and injuring his rectum, his lawyer said.

Rectum? Damned near killed him. Monroe, who’s still recovering, also suffered sciatic nerve damage that may prevent him from ever walking normally again. Anyone doubt the effectiveness of buckshot as a home defense round? Didn’t think so.

Here’s the real news, though, which somehow doesn’t appear until the fifteenth paragraph of the story: Reister fired not one live ammo blast, not two, but four. They buried that lede deeper than a proctologist’s scope.

Set aside the fact that Reister somehow fired four volleys of buckshot at Monroe and only managed to hit him with part of one. His crappy shooting was a blessing, as it turned out. No, the question is, how could a trained cop fire a shotgun four times without realizing that it was buckshot coming out of his barrel instead of beanbags? Reister said he didn’t realize he hadn’t fired beanbags until he saw Monroe was bleeding.

Jurors found Reister’s mistake constituted third-degree assault, a felony, ruling Reister “recklessly” caused serious physical injury by means of a dangerous weapon or with “extreme indifference” to the value of human life. Fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, required a finding that Reister acted with “gross deviation” from a reasonable person’s standard of care.

Just before the grand jury hearing – five months after the incident – the police bureau announced new procedures intended to prevent future ammo mix-ups.

The bureau last month adopted a new executive order, requiring that beanbag ammunition be stored only in a carrier attached to the side or stock of the orange-painted, 12-gauge shotguns.

The new order came on the eve of a court hearing where Reister’s lawyer planned to argue that the bureau’s “gross negligence” in the handling of beanbag shotguns and ammunition contributed to Reister’s shooting. For example, the bureau has no policy that prohibits officers from mixing lethal and less-lethal ammunition in their duty bags. In the weeks after Reister’s shooting, the bureau faced criticism for not having taken immediate steps to prevent a similar mishap.

Horse. Barn door. Eleventh hour legal advice.

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16 Responses to Portland Cop Indicted In Mistaken Live Ammo Shooting

  1. Reister is obviously incompetent and needs to find a new job. Maybe he can be a stockboy at Home Depot or the french-fry guy at Wendy’s.

  2. One word: taser.

    Having an inherently deadly weapon in your arsenal only made “safe” because of ammo choice is reckless. Obviously stupid mistakes happen (or stupid people make mistakes when given half a chance)

    Anything a taser can’t handle is either too remote to matter (let them run away) or if a true deadly threat justifies a rifle shot.

    • Yeah, which is why it always makes me shake my head at the people who think the KSG is great cause you can load less lethal in one tube and buck in another.

      Remembering which is which and flipping the selector in the right direction in the heat of a situation…what could possibly go wrong?

      The KSG may have a lot to say for it (look for our review soon), but mixing LL and deadly in the same gun is asking for a tragedy.

      • “Our Review soon”

        TTAG special, or you actually find a store stocking them? I’ve read they promised to be shipped before xmas shutdown, but my local gun stores have just laughed when I asked if they knew anything. My assumption is like 30 will ship nation wide. (WRU longer barrel RFB’s, etc)

    • Tasers? Sure,except that there have recently been several shootings where the officer “thought ” they had their taser, and shot with their handgun, causing death and injury. Crappy training, incompetence or negligence, and in many cases lack of real justice and consequences, along with many officer’s having an overwhelming negative attitude towards “citizens”-Less lethal shotguns? Tasers? No, what we really need is for the Police in this country to drop the quasi-military, gung-ho “kill ’em all”, “Us vs Them” crap. Unless they do, there’s a lot of honest law-abiding citizens who will continue to no longer trust or respect, and even fear the Police. “Us vs Them” goes both ways……………….

  3. The system for identifying shotgun shells based on color is a good one. Of course, with such a policy an officer should never use a “non-lethal” shotgun unless he’s personally loaded it himself.

    While there’s some rationale for having different shotguns for lethal and non-lethal missions, the downside is that it’s another piece of equipment to handle, store, and maintain. And this won’t prevent a future officer BrainStem from using the wrong shotgun.

    Bottom line: Making systems idiot proof often frustrates thinking people and encourages idiots to re-double their idiocy.

    And while I’m on the subject of idiots, this is the Portland PD. This department’s “experts” aided in the media hit piece on the Remington 700 a while back. My guess is that they haven’t dumped their Remington 700’s.

  4. A policy of not loading anything but the yellow shells in the orange shotgun should be all they need.

    The next step would be a 16 or 20 gauge less lethal round only shotgun.

    If they can prove this guy knew the rounds were buckshot, why isn’t the charge attempted murder?

  5. I always thought you were supposed to skip bean bag rounds off the ground, otherwise they can be lethal? Also you left out a lot of the story

    “Reister, according to his lawyer, was concerned Monroe would attack a man and child standing near the corner. Yet the man, Wally Jones, told the Oregonian this summer he was with his 1-year-old daughter and started talking to Monroe to be social, and didn’t feel in danger until Reister pulled out his shotgun.”

    “Reister, 40, a 15-year bureau veteran who in 2006 was a use-of-force instructor”

    “Reister was a “grenadier” training as part of the Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team in October 2006 when he fired a less-lethal TL-1 launcher loaded with a smoke round at an officer posing as a rioter who threw a projectile at Reister’s unit. Reister pulled the trigger of his gun to simulate firing, but his firearm was loaded with a smoke round that struck Officer Zach Kenney in the leg, causing a minor bruise. Reister had forgotten he had loaded a live smoke round in the chamber and admitted he had made a mistake”

    “He’s been on paid leave since the shooting. ”

    So if i’m a cop, I get to be a departments use of force instructor even though I have a previous on the job negligent discharge injuring another officer? And a pension after 20 or 25 years? Even if I fuck up twice, almost killing another person, I continue to get paid while the department figures out what to do with me? Holy shit, where do I sign up?

  6. I always thought you were supposed to skip bean bag rounds off the ground, otherwise they can be lethal? Also you left out a lot of the story

    “Reister, according to his lawyer, was concerned Monroe would attack a man and child standing near the corner. Yet the man, Wally Jones, told the Oregonian this summer he was with his 1-year-old daughter and started talking to Monroe to be social, and didn’t feel in danger until Reister pulled out his shotgun.”

    “Reister, 40, a 15-year bureau veteran who in 2006 was a use-of-force instructor”

    “Reister was a “grenadier” training as part of the Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team in October 2006 when he fired a less-lethal TL-1 launcher loaded with a smoke round at an officer posing as a rioter who threw a projectile at Reister’s unit. Reister pulled the trigger of his gun to simulate firing, but his firearm was loaded with a smoke round that struck Officer Zach Kenney in the leg, causing a minor bruise. Reister had forgotten he had loaded a live smoke round in the chamber and admitted he had made a mistake”

    “He’s been on paid leave since the shooting. “

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