Kendra James remembered at Portland rally

KENDRA JAMES-File
Kendra James as seen in an undated image taken before her 2003 death. (KOIN 6 News, family photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ten years after a Portland police officer shot and killed 21-year-old Kendra James, her friends and family are still pushing for change in the Portland Police Bureau.

And on Sunday, a decade to the day of her death, they remembered her life lost.

“It’s been 10 years later, justice has still not served,” said her mother Shirley Isadore, surrounded by family and friends. “God bless those who were supportive 10 years ago, and are supportive today.”

Kendra James died from an officer’s shot during a 2003 traffic stop on Portland’s Skidmore overpass. The officer was disciplined by the police chief at the time, but much of that discipline was later overturned.

James’ shooting sparked protests and calls for justice back in 2003. Those calls continue.

A rally and memorial service was held at a north Portland church Sunday, feet away from where the fatal shooting took place.

Those rallying said they believe, in many ways, James’ death and the outrage that followed led to federal oversight of the bureau. The Portland Police Bureau has begun mediation talks — and rolled out a new behavioral health unit — after a Department of Justice review found officers have used excessive force.

“We are on the path, but there is still room for a lot more change,” said Leroy Haynes Jr. with the AMA Coalition. “Change to make sure another Kendra James will not happen.”

James’ mother said she still struggles every time she hears about another police shooting in Portland.

A September 2012 DOJ letter to Mayor Sam Adams cataloged 12 Portland police uses of deadly force in the previous three years. Three of those cases, according to the Department of Justice, involved people without mental health issues. The other nine involved people with mental health issues.

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