FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) - The Washington County Major Crimes Team is investigating following a man's death days after a confrontation involving Forest Grove police.
Officers on Oct. 7 responded to Elm Street and 15th Avenue after someone reported that a man with no shirt man was “running up and down the street with a flagpole.”
Officers found James Marshall, 44, behind St. Anthony’s church trying to damage church property, according to investigators, who said Marshall did not cooperate and made aggressive movements towards the officers while still holding the 10-foot aluminum flagpole.
Officers said they tried to deescalate the situation for several minutes but it appeared the man was “either suffering a behavioral health or narcotic-induced episode.”
When one officer tried to detain Marshall, Marshall punched the officer in the face, the Washington County District Attorney's Office said, prompting multiple officers to use force. While struggling with officers, Marshall tried to grab a stun gun off one of the officers, inadvertently causing it to discharge, with one probe hitting his arm, the attorney's office said.
Later in the struggle, one of the officers intentionally discharged his stun gun into Marshall's back. The struggle continued until Marshal stopped breathing, the attorney's office said, with officers immedietly attempting life-saving efforts. Paramedics arrived on scene less than a minute later, according to the attorney's office.
Marshall was transported to Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro in critical condition and died two days later. The state medical examiner's office performed an autopsy on Sunday, with preliminary information indicating that Marshall had underlying health conditions and had used methamphetamine before the incident, according to the attorney's office. Marshall's official cause of death is pending a toxicology report.
On Sunday, Marshall's adopted daughter, Brittany Getsinger, said she wants people to remember Marshall for who he was—a loving father, husband, grandfather and friend.
“He’s not a criminal," Getsinger said. "He has no background. He’s not a bad person. He was a family man. He loved people.”
Marshall’s family said he was a logger and a true family man.
“He’s kind of old-fashioned, like sticks to morals and principles and has his own honor code that he goes by,” Sean Kalinoski, Marshall’s cousin, said.
The attorney's office says the case is not a clear case of homicide or deadly force, which is why The Washington County Major Crimes Team was activated. The police officers involved in the incident were wearing body cameras. That footage is being analyzed, though preliminary analysis indicates the officers violated no laws and did not act in "an assaultive manner," according to the attorney's office.
For now, the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
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