On the holiday evening of November 22, Richard Barry, 52, died in a local hospital while in Portland Police custody, soon after he was taken into custody on Portland State University campus. Four officers from PSU’s Campus Public Safety Office were first to “perform a welfare check” in response to multiple 911 calls regarding a man yelling and running near SW 6th avenue and SW Mill Street. They reportedly struggled with Barry and requested assistance from the two responding Portland Police officers. The six officers struggled to restrain Barry and called an ambulance “based on the subject’s behavior.” He was transported to a nearby hospital “for treatment of an unidentified medical condition,” per Police where he died after suffering a “medical event.” The Oregonian reported that Barry was houseless.
The following day, the Oregon state medical examiner’s office began the autopsy. The cause of death will be released at the end of the investigation. According to PPB’s initial news release, “The Portland Police Bureau will be the lead investigating agency regarding this incident.” Per protocol, Portland Police detectives assigned to the homicide unit investigate the incident for the Multnomah County District Attorney to review. Since it involves PPB members, they conduct an internal review. This involves members of the Bureau’s Professional Standards Internal Affairs Division conducting an investigation to present to the city’s Police Review Board, “which is comprised of community members, Bureau members and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division.”
Per PPB policy, the two police officers involved, James DeAnda and Jared Abby, are on paid administrative leave until the Multnomah County District Attorney reviews the completed investigation. Both have been on the force for less than two years. Campus police officer David Troppe and public safety officers Michael Anderson, Danae Murphy and Nichola Higbee are also on paid administrative leave. The absence of these public safety officers leaves CPSO with only one unarmed campus public safety officer and down one third of the total number of officers at CPSO. Troppe has been with the department for four years (he was involved in a welfare check last spring that led to a PSU student’s forcible sedation and hospital hold). As a sworn officer, he carries a firearm, a subject of fierce debate at PSU in the wake of another fatal campus shooting. In June, Jason Washington was breaking up a fight when he was shot and killed by PSU police officers. Barry’s death marks the second fatality involving PSU police officers this year.