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Kendra James was a 21-year-old African-American Oregon woman who was shot to death by police on May 5, 2003. The incident sparked a controversy over the use of deadly force by the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon.
James was a passenger in a car that was stopped by Portland police officers Rick Bean, Kenneth Reynolds and Scott McCollister. After the driver and another passenger in the car were removed peaceably by the officers, James jumped from the back seat into the driver's seat and attempted to flee the scene. McCollister stated that he tried to pull the 115-pound James out of the car, but was unable. He also said that he attempted to use pepper spray to subdue James, but was unable to operate the canister. McCollister said he felt the car move, and was concerned that he could have fallen and been run over. He drew his handgun and fired a single shot. Reynolds also used a Taser on James somewhere in the progression of events.
The James family's lawyers questioned whether evidence existed regarding James attempting to move the car, and whether the tactics McCollister used, especially his attempt to enter the car (McCollister said that he was 80% in the car) were consistent with police training. Powder residue testing indicated that McCollister's handgun was at least 30 to 48 inches away from James when discharged, a fact which lawyers for James' family alleged was inconsistent with McCollister's version of events. McCollister was cleared by a federal grand jury.
In 2005, the bureau announced changes in the guidelines for police use of deadly force, including a prohibition against shooting at a moving vehicle, that were intended to prevent similar incidents. In 2005 a civil suit against McCollister seeking $10 million in damages went to trial. On June 29, 2005, the jury ruled in favor of McCollister, ending the civil case.