PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland police officer who loaded the wrong ammunition in a shotgun then shot a suspect was fired on Tuesday, according Chief Mike Reese.
Officer Dane Reister meant to load his shotgun with “less-than-lethal” beanbag rounds on June 30, 2011, but inadvertently put lethal shells in his weapon and shot a suspect, according to a police investigation.
Reister was fired this week after a more than two-year investigation.
"This has been a long and thorough investigation, which had complexities due to the pending criminal charges," Reese said. "The events of June 30th devastated the lives of those involved, but we hope that this action will bring some sense of closure."
That morning Reister responded to a call about a man armed with a knife and acting intoxicated. Police said the suspect, William Monroe, wouldn’t listen to commands and Reister fired what he thought was a beanbag round.
He fired four times and at least one of the shells was a live round. Monroe was hit by five shotgun pellets in the hip.
Monroe was critically injured but survived.
The inadvertent shooting led to Reister facing criminal charges and the city agreeing to pay a massive settlement to Monroe.
The city council signed off on a $2.3 million settlement for Monroe, which is the largest settlement in the city’s history. The city was on the hook for about $1 million of the settlement, with insurance covering the rest.
Reister was also indicted in November 2011 on charges of third- and fourth-degree assault. That case is still pending.
Reister had been on paid administrative leave until he was fired on Tuesday.
A police spokesman said he was fired for violating two specific police directives. The first, titled “Unsatisfactory Performance,” states that officers must “maintain sufficient competency to properly perform their duties and assume the responsibilities of their positions.”
The second, titled “Less Lethal Weapons and Munitions”, states that officers should only load lethal shotgun rounds into designated weapons.
“Under no circumstances will a member carry any standard 12-gauge lethal rounds on his/her person or utility belt while also carrying a less lethal weapon,” the policy states.
We have calls in to Reister's lawyer for comment but have not yet heard back.