Mental Health

Wheeler: ‘Mental health system failed’ in Henriksen shooting

Koben Henriksen killed by PPB officers on December 8

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, December 13, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday he agreed with PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw “that the mental health system failed” Koben Henriksen, who was shot and killed by Portland police on December 8.

In a statement Thursday, Outlaw wondered where is the “level of accountability throughout the mental health system” that leaves police “in an impossible position.”

Henriksen, 51, had recent encounters with Portland police that ended without any use of force. Officers diffused those situations and got him to a mental health facility for treatment. In those encounters, he threatened police and “needed someone to kill him” and “thought police officers were the best option.”

Roughly 30 police units are at a taped-off crime scene in Southeast Portland Sunday afternoon. December 8, 2019 (KOIN)

Wheeler said no one has all the facts in this case yet and asked the public for patience.

“While I understand the need for the public to have information as quickly as possible, it’s critically important that this process be able to unfold in a thoughtful and thorough manner.”

The mayor said there is an obligation for a thorough and complete report that will be made public as soon as possible.

“By the time, shots were fired on Sunday there were already multiple system failures, in my opinion,” Wheeler said. “I feel quite strongly that the mental health system failed Mr. Henriksen. I agree with Chief Outlaw on this point.”

While he said he doesn’t have direct control over the mental health system, he has a voice and will use it.

“I’ve already met with the Behavioral Health Director Steven Allen from the Oregon Health Authority and Ebony Clark, who is the interim director of the Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services to offer whatever I can offer to assist in their sincere efforts and strengthen our mental health system.”

KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.

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