No criminal charges will be filed against a now-former Redmond reserve officer over a confrontation with a Bend transient who he reportedly struck with the back of a hatchet, Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty said Thursday.
Here's the full text of a news release issued by Flaherty's office:
A Deschutes County grand jury investigation of Brian Alvarez’s actions on August 29, 2013 ended this week when the grand jury returned a “not true bill," that is, not an indictment. No criminal charges will be filed against Mr. Alvarez as a result of the grand jury’s decision.
On August 29, 2013, Brian Alvarez was acting as a citizen. At the time, Brian Alvarez was an off-duty Reserve Officer for the City of Redmond Police Department.
Mr. Alvarez had no authority to act as an officer while off-duty and outside of the City of Redmond. Mr. Alvarez attempted to assist employees at Lava Lanes Bend with removing an unwanted individual, who was yelling, swearing and advancing toward a bowling alley employee.
Mr. Alvarez stepped in to protect the bowling alley employee and attempted to convince the unwanted person to walk away. Mr. Alvarez immediately observed that the unwanted individual had weapons readily accessible on his person.
During this entire encounter, Mr. Alvarez believed 911 had been called and that the police were responding.
Although Mr. Alvarez believed the bowling alley employee had called 911 as Mr. Alvarez arrived, the employee did not in fact call 911 until Mr. Alvarez pulled a hatchet away from the unwanted individual.
Sometime after the unwanted person had advanced on the bowling alley employee and Mr. Alvarez, a bystander began video-recording the event.
Approximately 10 minutes elapsed between the time the citizen began video-recording and the time the police arrived. Dispatch records reflect approximately six minutes elapsed between the 911 call and arrival of the police. The Bend Police Department responded to the call and conducted the investigation in this case.
The Grand Jury considered the complete, unedited version of the citizen’s cell phone video, a portion of which had been shown via local media, numerous still photos produced from the video, and heard testimony from 10 witnesses, including Mr. Alvarez, who cooperated with the investigation.
Mr. Alvarez has resigned his position as a Reserve Officer with the City of Redmond Police Department. The findings of the District Attorney will be published later, in more detail, on the District Attorney’s web page.
The District Attorney reminds all citizens, when possible, to call 911 or the non-emergency dispatch line at 541-693-6911 when needing assistance with an unwanted individual.
Our local law enforcement officers are highly trained and skilled at dealing with situations involving people who exhibit irrational or threatening behavior, who appear to be under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol or who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
Each police agency has several officers who have participated in Crisis Intervention Training designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises.
The District Attorney also thanks community members who take video or photographs of incidents they suspect may be criminal, but reminds people to first call 911 if they believe they are witnessing a crime.