Cops attacked by Montavilla Park meat-cleaver-wielding woman

Find out why the East Precinct Commander says he’s proud of the police officers who responded to this bizarre incident …

The meat cleaver the woman was said to have been swinging certainly could have seriously injured anyone coming close enough to check on her. PPB photo

By David F. Ashton
With all of the negative talk one hears about our cops, many acts of heroism go under reported.

Case in point: How two Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct District Officers safely resolved a situation that involved an adult swinging a full-sized meat-cleaver.

Very early on Sunday morning, October 10, approximately 1:15 a.m., PPB Officers Michael Filbert, an 11-year-veteran, and Brent Maxey, an 8-year-veteran, answered a call to a Montavilla Neighborhood apartment in the 8100 block of SE Mill Street to check on the welfare of a woman.

“A neighbor told officers the woman was acting strangely,” reported Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “She was reportedly outside the apartment completely naked and shouting nonsense. And, she’d pushed the window screen out of a window in her second floor apartment.”

Officer Maxey retrieved the screen, and he and Officer Filbert went up to the woman’s apartment. “They could hear a vacuum running inside the apartment,” Simpson said. “Officer Filbert knocked on the door and talked loudly through the door, saying that they were police officers, and were checking to make sure she was OK.”

After a short conversation through the door, Filbert told the woman that they brought her window screen up and leaned it against the door. Lasich thanked the officers then the officers heard a loud crashing noise inside the apartment.

Surprised by cleaver-swinging woman
Moments later, the door swung open, and the officers were dismayed to see the woman holding a large meat cleaver and yelling, “Die *expletive*!”

“She slashed the cleaver toward Filbert, who quickly moved back,” Simpson said. “The meat cleaver hit Filbert between his radio holder and his left hip, narrowly missing his body.”
Filbert continued to back away – as much as he could, in the confined space – and he drew his gun while Maxey pointed his Tazer at the distraught woman. “Drop the knife!” both officers commanded.

“The woman continued to swing the cleaver, in wild slashes – but got caught up in the window screen that had been set against her door,” narrated Simpson. “The woman was topless and screaming that she was going to kill the officers. She finally backed away, lay down, and complied with the officers.”

As the two quick-thinking cops took her into custody, the woman told them, “Thank God you are here! They’ve been coming to kill me all day!”
The woman was later identified as 61-year-old Phyllis Ann Lasich, who wasn’t charged with a crime, but was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where she was placed on a hold for a mental examination.

Commander commends officers’ actions
“In the difficult situation they were facing, these officers used the care and caution,” PPB East Precinct Commander Bill Walker told East Portland News. “It didn’t look like they had much room to maneuver, and could have been seriously injured.”

Walker said the officers would be awarded an official Letter of Commendation. “They could have used deadly force. I’m very proud of them, for the courage they displayed. Our police officers go out every day, and face critical decisions, often in a split second, and often without the best information and tools at hand.

“In this case, there was a very positive outcome; now she can get the kind of care she needs in a medical facility.”

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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