December 12, 2019 16:34
Portland Police Officers have had prior encounters with Koben Henriksen in the recent past where mental health appears to have played a role. Officers were able to resolve the prior incidents by getting him to a medical facility without having to resort to force.
On November 14th, 2019, at 11:27 a.m., two East Precinct officers were in uniform getting into a marked patrol vehicle near the 10200 block of Southeast Stark Street. A subject, later identified as Koben Henriksen, approached one of the officers as he was getting into his patrol vehicle.
Henriksen yelled at the officer and the officer asked how he could help him and began exiting the patrol vehicle. Henriksen had a large blanket draped around him. Henriksen flung the blanket away and the officer was able to see he had a knife in each hand with the blades extended toward the officer. Henriksen threatened to kill the officer and took a step toward the officer. The officer yelled at Henriksen to drop the knives.
The officers had a firearm and electronic control device prepared. They requested cover officers and used the vehicle as cover (protection) while they attempted to de-escalate the situation. Henriksen paced and shouted, but retreated. An officer spoke with him and after some discussion, Henriksen listened to the officer's direction and threw the knives down. Henriksen was taken into custody without force being utilized and transported to Providence Hospital on a Police Officer Hold.
On August 22nd, 2019, at 8:00 a.m., an East officer responded to the 1500 block of Southeast 96th Avenue to assist with a subject who was camped on the school's private property (Portland Adventist Academy). The officer arrived and contacted a male, who was identified as Koben Henriksen. Henriksen told the officer he was glad the officer was there because he needed someone to kill him and he thought police officers were the best option. He told the officer he had tried to get several military veterans to purchase firearms for him, but he was unsuccessful. The officer talked to Henriksen and was ultimately able to request an ambulance and put a Police Officer Hold on Henriksen. Henriksen was transported to Portland Adventist for treatment. No force was used in this incident.
"PPB officers have had two prior encounters in the past four months involving the same individual. In each of these incidents, mental health appears to have played a role and the officers peacefully resolved the incidents and connected the individual to medical services," said Chief Danielle Outlaw. "Unfortunately, in the most recent encounter, the outcome was different, which is a tragedy for all involved, including family, the community, the officers, and PPB personnel. The negative impacts are deep and oftentimes irreversible.
"The intent of putting this information out is not to sway the outcome of any ongoing investigations, nor tarnish the character of the involved subject in any way. This series of cases highlights the systemic failures of the mental health system, which continues to recycle individuals rather than resolve the underlying issues. New ideas, such as the Portland Street Response project, are welcome, but would not have resolved this issue differently because that team would not have been dispatched due to the nature of the call involving an armed individual. There are a number of accountability measures in effect for the officers involved, which will scrutinize their every action and decision. Where is the same level of accountability throughout the mental health system? Law enforcement professionals are put in an impossible position and we need the public to help prioritize effective and humane mental health treatment and demand urgent and immediate action."
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