The family of a Portland teenager who was shot and killed by police spoke out a city council meeting Wednesday, demanding justice for their son.
On Feb. 9, Officer Andrew Hearst was investigating an armed robbery in northeast Portland when he confronted 17-year-old Quanice Hayes and opened fire. Hayes died at the scene and police said they found a replica handgun near him.Protesters with Don’t Shoot PDX held up pictures of Hayes and shouted his name Wednesday, disrupting the City Council meeting several times. But the room took a quiet and somber turn when Hayes’ mother, Venus Hayes, stepped up to the microphone and spoke directly to council members. “Quanice was not a thug or a gang member or some homeless street kid,” Venus Hayes said, crying. “He was a budding, adventurous teen who, at times, could be a little rebellious. He was my child. His life mattered.”After Venus Hayes made her comments, Mayor Ted Wheeler walked over and hugged the grieving mother. Relatives and protesters spilled into the hallway, talking to reporters about their quest for justice. They say they want to know exactly what happened the the day Quanice Hayes was killed. “If Officer Hearst’s life was not in danger, he doesn’t have the right or authority to murder anybody,” said Quanice Hayes’ cousin Terrence Hayes. “No one deserves to die for the possibility of a crime being committed.” Wheeler eventually came into the hallway to address the family and protesters directly. After numerous interruptions by demonstrators, Wheeler said he wants a full and transparent investigation of the shooting.
He said he's not going to rush the process, however. “There is a justice process that is underway. There’s an investigation. I have asked that a transcript of the grand jury proceedings be made public so that the family – so that the public can see everything that can be said in that grand jury,” Wheeler said. Quanice Hayes was Venus Hayes’ oldest child and she said her other children cry at night over his death. Until she gets answers, she said she won’t back down. “I am asking the public to stand by us as we demand justice. Let my son’s life be the means of change," she said. Officer Hearst is still on administrative leave until an investigation is complete. A spokesman with the district attorney’s office told FOX 12 that a grand jury will convene on the matter after the investigation is complete. If the grand jury finds that Officer Hearst did nothing wrong, the transcripts will be made public. But if Hearst is indicted on criminal charges, the transcripts will be sealed.
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