Fired Portland police officer death ruled suicide

Dane Reister fired a less lethal beanbag shotgun, which “inadvertently” contained lethal rounds in 2011

Portland police officer Dane Reister in an undated, file photo
Portland police officer Dane Reister in an undated, file photo (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — An officer fired by the Portland Police Bureau in 2013 two years after a shooting incident was found dead Monday.

Dane Reister’s body was found Monday along BNSF property near milepost 26 in Washougal. An autopsy confirmed he died of multiple blunt force trauma and ruled the death a suicide. He was 43.

BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said a crew on-board a train headed from Camas to Washougal spotted the body Monday around 10:30 a.m. The crew stopped, reversed the train and notified authorities. Melonas said the train that discovered the body was not the train that hit the man. A vehicle was located at the scene near the Sixth Street crossing, but the vehicle was not impacted by the train, Melonas said.

Washougal Police Sgt. Geoff Reijonen said two officers initially responded to reports of a train versus pedestrian crash at 10:51 a.m. Monday in the 300 block of Sixth Street. When the officers arrived, they confirmed Reister was dead. Reijonen said Reister’s vehicle was located nearby.

Reijonen said detectives still have not determined the specific train involved in the incident but believe the impact occurred “early Monday morning.”

Reister was fired Oct. 15, 2013 after he violated bureau policy involving less lethal weapons and munitions and unsatisfactory performance, records show.

On June 30, 2011, police were called to the area of Lair Hill Park in Southwest Portland after getting reports that a man named William Monroe was possibly harassing children. Another 911 caller told dispatchers the man had a pocket knife and was acting in a peculiar manner, police said.

Reister, a 15-year- veteran, fired a less lethal beanbag shotgun, which “inadvertently” contained lethal rounds, police said. Reister fired four times and an additional round was ejected. Monroe was hit by five pellets in the hip area, police said.

On November 18, 2011, Officer Reister was indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury for charges of negligent wounding, third-degree assault, and fourth degree assault.

On July 17, 2012, Judge Jean Kerr Maurer granted a motion by Reister’s defense attorney to have the charge of negligently wounding another dismissed. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office filed an appeal and the case has been on hold ever since.

The City of Portland reached a $2.3 million civil settlement agreement with Monroe in April 2013. Records show Reister lived in Washougal.

Jim McIntyre, who was representing Reister, said by phone Tuesday, he was in “shock” over news of the death.

“It was completely unanticipated,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre last talked to Reister about two weeks ago. He said that they were in regular contact as they waited on word from the court of appeals.

“It was extremely hard on him,” McIntyre said. “He put his faith into his career and ultimately, as part of that faith, they turned their backs on him.”

McIntyre called the decision to terminate Reister “grossly unfair.”

“Prior to this accident, he was considered to be an excellent police officer,” McIntyre said.

Reister was made an example of, McIntyre said. He placed much of the blame on then-Mayor Sam Adams, who served as police commissioner, and on former chief of police Mike Reese.

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