James Jahar Perez
January 11, 1996
March 28, 2004
Age at Death:
James Jahar Perez lived and died in Portland Oregon. He had a large family including his sister, son, wife, and Aunt Vietta Lowe and Uncle Paul Lindsay. Family members said Perez was the father of a 5-year-old son; James Jahar Perez Jr. and his wife Debra Perez had separated. 'He was a good father. He was always with his son,' his sister Tahliva Perez said. His family loved him very much and they fought very hard for justice. The Perez family released this press statement: "Which unarmed motorist will be the next victim of Portland police--a police force that we learned is trained to use deadly force whenever they rightly or wrongly fear for their physical safety."
James Jahar Perez, 28, was shot three times in the chest, and shot with a Taser -- still seat-belted into the driver’s seat after being pulled over for failing to use a turn signal 100 feet before a turn on March 28, 2004. The traffic stop, which occurred in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses, turned deadly not even a minute after Perez was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. It took 24 seconds from the time Sery and Officer Sean Macomber to call in the stop to the time Perez was dead. Police testimony and eye witness testimony varied greatly according to reports at the time from The Oregonian. Police had asked for Perez’s identification, and when he didn’t produce it fast enough, Macomber attempted to pull him from the vehicle. As Macomber grabbed him, Sery moved in and shot as Perez was still apparently searching for his ID, although witness and police testimony conflicts as to the exact events. He was not armed. Police did find cocaine in his system and bags of drugs in his mouth.
Was justice served?
Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk convened a Grand Jury to determine if Officer Sery shot and killed James Jahar Perez in violation of Oregon Law. The Grand Jury began on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, and continued through Thursday, April 22, 2004. The information to be considered was presented to the Grand Jury. The jury returned with a Not True Bill, or no indictment or no criminal culpability. Many questions arose about this incident prompting a request for a public inquest. Multnomah County District Attorney, Michael Schrunk convened an inquest, which was supported by Chief Foxworth. Beginning on Wednesday, April 28, 2004, Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk conducted a public inquest into the shooting of Mr. Perez. At the conclusion of the inquest on April 30, 2004, the inquest jury found James Jahar Perez died on March 28, 2004, in the 7200 block of N Fessenden St., the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the heart, and the manner of death was homicide. Officer Jason Sery was not charged with anything and was cleared by Portland’s police department. The City of Portland settled a lawsuit by Mr. Perez's family for $350,000. The mayor Tom Potter said "This settlement will give needed assistance to Mr. Perez's infirm mother and provide assurance there is money available for his small child to receive an education."