The Eugene Police Employees’ Association (EPEA) would like to address the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s (CLDC) careless response to the shooting incident between Charles Landeros and our officers on January 11th, 2019.
The CLDC is trusted by many in our community to be a voice of truth and reason. Regarding the shooting death of Charles Landeros, the CLDC provided false and unconfirmed information to the public and a grieving family, which has caused irreparable harm. The CLDC requests equality, hope, justice and innocence until proven guilty, yet irresponsibly reported inaccurate information with no factual basis.
As the Landeros family awaited the facts of the case, the CLDC proclaimed within hours of the incident, on their website and via social media, that the family’s son/brother/father was “murdered” by our police officers and has continued to proclaim this was in large part because of the color of Charles Landeros’ skin.
At the time of the CLDC’s first public statement, the investigation had just begun, yet the CLDC launched a campaign of misinformation. One example of misinformation the CLDC irresponsibly provided to the community, and to the Landeros family, is copied directly from a quote on the CLDC website which was posted not even 24 hours after the incident- “We also know that Charlie was shot multiple times by Eugene Police Officer(s).” However, the investigation showed that Charles Landeros was shot one time. The first two shots heard by witnesses were actually fired by Charles Landeros as he attempted to shoot our officers, which is clearly seen on body camera footage.
Some other facts learned from the investigation:
1. Charles Landeros pulled his firearm out first;
2. Charles Landeros shot at our officers first;
3. Charles Landeros was then shot one time in response;
4. Our officers did not display/retrieve any weapons or tools prior to Charles Landeros pulling out his gun;
5. Our officers were not aware Charles Landeros was armed until he tried to shoot them;
6. Within seconds of Charles Landeros being told he was under arrest, he shot at our officers.
7. Just two days prior to the shooting, Charles Landeros posted via social media; “Time to start killing pigs.”
As a trusted local organization, the CLDC should have waited for information rather than launch a hate campaign against the police officers. This misinformation distributed by the CLDC led to hundreds of hate-filled social media posts, outrage at City Council meetings, and protests. The CLDC could have brought some amount of closure to the Landeros family and our community with correct and honest information. Instead, they unnecessarily caused additional pain and grief for an already grieving family and a shocked community.
Body Cam Footage of Eugene Police OIS
Lauren Regan, the attorney representing the Landeros family, requested on January 12th that no law enforcement officer communicate with the family. She then criticized the police at the press conference on January 14th for not contacting the family. Additionally, Ms. Regan stated at the press conference: “And we also know within our own community, that although the Eugene Police Department and Springfield Police Department have failed to compile data with regard to race, um, that race has been a prevalent problem and issue with regard to, um, stop-and-frisk, as well as violence against people of color.” The Eugene Police Department does, in fact, compile data related to race and provides regular updates to the Eugene Police Commission.
The Eugene Police Employees’ Association has patiently waited to respond to the CLDC’s actions out of respect for the investigation to be completed. As the investigation has now concluded, we hope the Landeros family finds some closure in knowing exactly what happened.
Just as our community, including the CLDC, demands that our police department takes responsibility for our actions, we also demand the CLDC takes responsibility for theirs. Delivering a message to the public that described this incident as a, “Murder of another person of color by law enforcement,” was incredibly unprofessional and the EPEA won’t idly stand by while the CLDC continues to spread this message. While the loss of life was tragic, we know our officers took necessary action under very dangerous circumstances to protect themselves and the public. They did not deserve the added stress that the CLDC created, nor did the community.
Our officers are members of this community too, and we are thankful for their bravery, integrity, and professionalism every day.
-Eugene Police Employees’ Association