On Sunday, September 19, 2021, Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Team and patrol officers arrested Robert L. Banks, 53, at Northwest 23rd Avenue and Northwest Flanders Street. He was charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon related to the incident previously released. However, the victim has not been identified and officers are still asking for information. The victim, or anyone who knows the name of the victim, is asked to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , Attention Central NRT, and reference case number 21-220133.
While the social media post showed alarming behavior, it was not the first incident involving Banks. He has a history of violent behavior, assaulting police officers, and prompting concerned community members to call police. Among the incidents he has been tentatively linked to:
-8/4/2021 Welfare check on man who caller says has history of chasing/threatening people with sticks and crowbars
-8/4/2021 Man threatening people as they walk by
-8/10/2021 Man threatening people with a pipe
-8/15/2021 Unwanted Person call, caller says man has history of threats with sticks and assaulted someone a week before.
-8/27/2021 Man chasing people with a stick
-8/29/2021 Man on the corner with a knife and big stick swinging it at cars and passersby
-9/3/2021 Man aggressive with passersby
-9/6/2021 Man threatens a worker with a knife when he retrieved a scooter. Banks calmed by a community member. Victim declines to press charges.
-9/17/2021 Caller reporting man chased neighbor with a stick
-9/18/2021 Man threatens a worker with a metal bat when retrieving a scooter.
Due to this history, a team of officers was gathered to attempt to safely take Banks into custody. At about noon Sunday, officers approached him. Banks immediately armed himself with the wooden handle of shovel or similar tool, began threatening officers and hitting objects with it, and then held out a wooden pallet as a shield. Specially trained Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team officers were using de-escalation techniques in a deliberate attempt to prevent or reduce the amount of force necessary to resolve the confrontation. Officers spent nearly one full hour attempting to de-escalate the situation. In an extraordinary effort, officers allowed area residents who stated they were friends with Banks to talk to him in an attempt to calm him. At Banks' request, his Probation Officer from Washington County was even called on the phone to speak with him, also in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
However, the efforts were thwarted by a hostile crowd gathered yelling at police and Banks. That served to embolden Banks and undermined the officers' ability to gain any kind of rapport or compliance. Banks refused to put down the weapons and refused to cooperate with police. A custody plan was developed and once the communication team had exhausted all possible avenues of de-escalation and communication, the plan was put into motion. Banks continued to present as an active threat to officers and force was used against him to include tasering, pepper spray, and the use of an impact munition launcher. Those measures gave the officers a chance to move in and arrest him. Banks was evaluated by paramedics, confirmed to have no serious injuries, and he was transported to the Multnomah County Detention Center. Banks was also booked on several warrants.
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Portland Police is seeking public help identifying a potential assault victim in the Northwest District Association Neighborhood.
On July 22, 2021, Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) officers learned of a social media post depicting a potential assault. Officers have been investigating the incident since, and learned it happened at Northwest 23rd Avenue and Northwest Flanders Street. A suspect has been identified, but officers need to speak to the victim seen in the video. The video freezes for a few moments to more clearly show the image of the victim.