Press Conference transcript: Tuesday February 16, 2016, by Clatsop County DA Joshua Marquis.
At about 9:20 p.m. on Friday night February 5 in downtown Seaside a wanted 17-time felon named Phillip Ferry was spotted by two uniformed Seaside Police officers. Both officers were familiar with Mr. Ferry and a check revealed an active felony warrant.
As officers tried to detain and arrest him, Ferry shot 39-year-old Seaside Police Sergeant Jason Goodding with a single shot from a semi-automatic pistol resulting in Sgt. Goodding’s almost immediate death. The other officer, whom we today identify as Seaside Officer David Davidson, who has been on the Seaside force since late 2012, had at first attempted to use a Taser on Mr. Ferry. After Ferry shot Sgt. Goodding, Officer Davidson fired several rounds from his service weapon striking Mr. Ferry three times. Both Sgt. Goodding and Mr. Ferry were transferred to area hospitals, where both were declared dead.
Under protocols established by Oregon Senate Bill 111 each county has a specific set of rules by which police shootings are investigated. In Clatsop County those protocols call for the District Attorney to name another agency, which in this case was the Oregon State Police, to head the investigation, with participation from other officers of the County’s Major Crime Team — drawn from the other agencies. The agency involved in the shooting contributes a single liaison officer, but does not participate in the SB 111 review. The reason for this is so that there is as much of detached investigation as is possible.
These protocols do not in any way reflect on the ability of the Seaside or any other police department, but are designed to increase public confidence in the ultimate determination regarding the use of police deadly force.
Starting on a 24-hour a day basis the weekend Sgt. Goodding was killed, investigators of the Oregon State Police, many from outside this area, have worked gathering evidence, attending the autopsies, viewing bodycams worn by the officers, and looking into other evidence relevant to the shooting. OSP investigators also interviewed a fourth person who was present and is not likely to be charged.
The purpose of the investigation deals primarily with the shooting of Mr. Ferry. The murder of Jason Goodding was not the primary focus, not because it doesn’t profoundly affect us, but because the legal issue is whether the surviving officer was justified in using deadly force.
In Clatsop County, where I have held office since 1994, we do not submit shootings to Grand Juries unless the investigations reveal possible criminal behavior by someone involved in the shooting. Mr. Ferry is dead so he can’t be prosecuted.
Today I am here with other members of the Major Crime Team to announce that review of the evidence shows that Officer Davidson was legally and morally justified in using deadly force against Mr. Ferry. There will be no Grand Jury inquiry.
Although aspects of the investigation continue and it may well be a couple weeks before all the reports are in, my opinion, that of my office and the OSP investigators is that there need be no further delay in putting to rest any issue of inappropriate use of force.
I have personally reviewed the body cams of Sgt. Goodding and Officer Davidson, the lengthy interview of Officer Davidson and other evidence, and they all confirm a set of facts I will briefly set out.
While working swing/split shifts on Feb. 5, both Sgt. Goodding and Off. Davidson came across Phillip Ferry, whom they knew. Because of Mr. Ferry’s very extensive criminal history (17 felony and 21 misdemeanor convictions since 1983) Sgt. Gooding verified there was a warrant out. He called out, repeatedly to Mr. Ferry by name, identifying himself as a police officer and telling him to take his hands out of his pockets. When Ferry refused and, as it was later determined, kept saying “You ain’t going to like it,” Sgt. Gooding told him he was under arrest. Off. Davidson deployed his Taser, announcing it and firing it towards Mr. Ferry. As Mr. Ferry seemed to drop to the ground Sgt. Gooding moved in, at which point a single gunshot was fired by Ferry. Sgt. Goodding was wearing a ballistic vest but the bullet came in under the vest. A later autopsy conducted by Oregon State Medical Examiner Karen Gunson determined Sgt. Goodding’s injuries were essentially immediate and fatal. Medical intervention could not have saved him.
The shots that struck Mr. Ferry appeared less serious at the scene and Mr. Ferry continued to yell at officers. He was struck in the hand, arm, and buttocks. He was transferred by ambulance to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria where emergency doctors worked on him for about half an hour before pronouncing him dead.
Every piece of evidence, every witness, leads us to the same conclusion — that Phillip Ferry, with a long history of resisting arrests and assault on police officers, was given every opportunity to surrender peaceably to uniformed officers. He not only refused but made statements that now seem to indicate that he intended to do worse.
The officers repeatedly announced themselves, used less lethal force, and at the time Off. Davidson fired, his partner had been gravely wounded and he had a right to be concerned Mr. Ferry might continue to fire.
Officer Davidson’s status with Seaside is for that department to decide, but my office has determined he committed no criminal acts and indeed acted in the best traditions of law enforcement.
Eventually, the full investigation and reports will be provided to the City of Seaside and much of that will become public record. Similarly, once the OSP investigation is over the 911 calls and some of the bodycam footage may become subject to public disclosure, but not this week.
A related investigation, aided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, is ongoing into where Ferry, a many-time convicted felon ineligible under existing state and federal laws from possessing a gun, got the firearm with which he killed Sgt. Goodding.
Fortunately, shootings involving police officers are very unusual in Clatsop County. Sgt. Goodding is the second officer to be shot and killed in the last 50 years, the last being OSP Sgt. James Shepherd in 1980. In my 22 years as DA there have only been two deaths by gunfire in which police officers were involved, one a tragic training mistake at Camp Rilea and the other what we determined to be the justified shooting by an Astoria police officer of a man who attacked officers with a metal baseball bat.
I cannot help but note that Sgt. Goodding was well known to all of us in the law enforcement community. His death has hit all of us where we live. Despite that pain, it was critical that a full and fair investigation of the shooting of Mr. Ferry take place. As to the fundamental issue of justification, I am satisfied that has been met.
We will not soon forget the kind heart, compassion, and dedication of Jason Goodding.