When Keaton Otis was killed by police, he was a kind, loving 25-year-old Black man. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, and a good friend. On May 12, 2010, he was driving his mother’s car and happened to be wearing a hoodie. The Portland Gang Enforcement Team spotted him. They radioed in that they planned to follow him because, “He was wearing a hoodie… He kind of looks like he could be a gangster.” They shot him 23 times.
Keaton’s Father, Fred Bryant, began the Keaton Otis vigil one month after Keaton was killed. He invited the community to join him. Although Fred died three years later of heart failure, the community has held the monthly vigil continuously for ten years. We have never failed to have someone at NE 6th and Halsey between 6 – 7 pm on the 12th of any month (except for the annual memorial in May that we hold in a church)! Even last month with COVID19 measures in place, one person visited the site and the rest of us were online.
Every year in May, the community organizes a memorial. This years’ event will be online, with an in-person event planned for after COVID19 is under control.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary, two events are planned. The main event is the annual memorial on May 12th. There is also a phone bank on May 13th to be held in Keaton’s honor.
Read more about the murder of Keaton Otis and how Fred Bryant started the monthly vigil, which the community has never missed.
May 12: Keaton Otis Memorial-10th Anniversary
6 – 7:15 pm
EventBrite Registration (optional): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/10-year-keaton-otis-memorial-tickets-103850617994
Live stream on Facebook: bit.ly/KOtisFB
Live stream on YouTube: bit.ly/KOtisYT
Marilyn T. Keller will open and close the memorial with song. Speakers include Dr. Haynes from the Albina Ministerial Alliance, Irene Kalonji from Pacific Northwest Family Circle, Portland City Commissioner Joann Hardesty, and Dan Handelman from Portland Copwatch. Artists and leaders in the community, Sharita Towne and Donovon Smith, will present plans for a permanent installation at the intersection where Keaton was killed.
May 13: Phone Banking in Memory of Keaton Otis
6 – 8 pm
Fred died trying to get justice for his son. The District Attorney would never entertain his case. Not much has changed in 10 years.