June 29, 2018
Age at Death:
Jason Washington was an African American man who lived in Portland, Oregon area. He was a navy veteran as well as a father, grandfather, and dedicated public servant as a mailman. He was very involved with his community and people said he was very prideful about helping others. On the day of his death, he was watching Oregon State football with two of his friends who were also Navy veterans at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. He had so much of his life to live and did not deserve to get it all taken away from him in an instant.
Outside the Portland Stare University bar that Washington and his two friends were drinking at (the Cheerful Tortoise) Washington’s friend and fellow navy veteran, Jeremy Wilkinson was drunk and arguing with a group of men who accused him of using a racial slur. Wilkinson then threw one of the stranger’s phone and as the fight started to break out, Washington took away Wilkinson’s (legally carried) gun so that a bad decision wouldn’t cost him. As the fight started to escalate, two university police arrived and it is shown on video that as they are starting to get involved, Washington was pushed onto the ground for trying to get the others off of his friend. He is then seen rising off the ground with Wilkinson’s gun in hand, and the police hastily draw their weapons and order him to drop the gun. Washington gets up and starts to walk away and that is when the two officers quickly open fire, shooting Washington 9 times and killing him on the scene. Afterwards, you can hear the regret in the Officer’s voices as Wilkinson and the others cry out for the tragedy that just ensued. They insisted that they were just drunk and fighting for stupid reasons and that the officers had no reason to shoot Washington and end his life.
Was justice served?
As of March 2021, almost 3 years later, justice was still not properly served. Following the shooting, Washington’s family sued Portland State University. With evidence from the reports of the officers and witnesses, as well as the body cam video from one of the officers, the case was deemed to be not a criminal offense, as the alcohol level of the victim was well over the legal limit and he didn’t show compliance towards the officers commands. A settlement of $1 million was awarded to Washington’s widow Michelle and a portion was dedicated to setting up a scholarship in Jason’s honor. Following this decision, Washington’s family and supporters alike protested the University for allowing their officers to carry guns, which had only been allowed for a few months before. The university president responded to the incident by resigning and the security system was forced to implement a new safety and control program that dealer with similar confrontations. The university also dedicated an art memorial at the scene but this was still not seen as enough. Overall, the death of an innocent man who was just trying to do the right thing will never be justified, but we must continue to honor this incident and those like it to inspire change for our society and stop it from happening again.