When police intercepted Michael Tyler Jacques on Dec. 23, 2016, in downtown Bend, he was heavily intoxicated.
Blood taken from Jacques following his fatal encounter with Bend officers showed a 0.24 blood alcohol content. That is three times the legal limit. While his autopsy report does not include his weight, court records have Jacques listed as 160 pounds.
Jacques’ toxicology screen, released to The Bulletin on Thursday following a records request, showed prescription drugs Gabapentin, Venlafaxine and Alprazolam in his blood. A urine test was positive for those medications except Alprazolam. Jennifer Coughlin, an attorney retained by Jacques’ mother, Karen Jacques, said Friday that all three medications were prescribed by a doctor.
Police came in contact with Jacques, 31, at 10:30 p.m. after multiple people called 911 to report that he was driving erratically. The encounter was brief. Within two minutes of the officers reporting they had spotted Jacques’ white minivan, Bend Police Officer Scott Schaier fired five rounds from his gun, two striking Jacques. Jacques died on the scene.
Over the next six months, the Oregon Department of Justice investigated the incident, and in July announced that it would not prosecute Schaier or Officer Marc Tisher, who was also on scene.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter has repeatedly declined to discuss the incident, citing pending civil litigation.
Gabapentin is a drug used to treat seizures. It can also be used to treat nerve pain in adults who have had shingles. Venlafaxine is an antidepressant.
Alprazolam is an antianxiety drug.
Police reported Jacques moved slowly when asked to put his hands on the steering wheel. Tisher later told investigators that he took this behavior as confrontational.
Coughlin, meanwhile, said Jacques’ slow response was probably a sign of a traumatic brain injury Jacques had received during an assault when he was in prison years prior.
Coughlin said Tisher and Schaier may not have been able to identify Jacques as someone dealing with mental health issues and criticized them for not attempting to calm the situation.
“Across the nation, police are dealing with mental health by de-escalation, not escalation,” she said.
When the two officers gave Jacques further instruction, he was unresponsive, they later reported.
When Schaier opened Jacques’ driver’s side door, he reported Jacques moved his hands toward his pockets after being told not to.
And when Schaier grabbed Jacques’ arm, he said Jacques responded by punching him.
As the confrontation escalated, both officers used Tasers on Jacques, and Schaier sprayed pepper gel in his eyes. Schaier opened fire when the van lurched forward.
Coughlin conceded that Jacques was drunk at the time of the stop, but said police did not know that and did not try to conduct field sobriety tests as they would with most suspected drunk drivers.
“Police don’t get to shoot drunk people,” she said.
“That’s certainly not policy.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0376, firstname.lastname@example.org