For Chris Kalonji’s family, the nightmare gets worse and worse

Portland Tribune, June 28, 2016

Chris Kalonji's casket is carried to the funeral site

Chris Kalonji’s casket is carried to the funeral site

Clackamas County is refusing to pay the parents of a 19-year-old who was killed by police for the damages to their apartment by bloodstains and a tear-gas bomb launched by SWAT members.

After living at the apartment in Oak Grove for more than 15 years, lrene and Antonie Kalonji didn’t renew their renter’s insurance at Holly Acres Apartments. The property management company, C&R Properties, sent its $15,000 insurance deductible for fixing the apartment as a bill to the Kalonjis. The bill was sent to a collection agency after the Kalonjis, who were rendered homeless by the incident, didn’t pay.

A Clackamas County grand jury concluded in March that county deputies were justified in using deadly defensive force in the Jan. 28 shooting death of Christopher Kalonji. Called as witnesses were county mental health staff who assisted in efforts to de-escalate the situation after they were called to the scene by law enforcement. Additionally, neighbors were called to testify regarding Kalonji’s possession of a rifle. Her parents reportedly did not testify because they believed that the outcome of the hearing was predetermined.

The Kalonjis have tried to get Clackamas County to pay the insurance deductible. Farrell & Associates administers tort claims for Clackamas County, which is self-insured.

“The county offers sincere sympathies for your loss,” wrote Michael S. Farrell, president of Farrell & Associates in a March 11 to the Kalonjis. “Our investigation into this matter reveals that the actions of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office were reasonable, justified and appropriate. The sheriff’s office was forced to take action in response to the actions and statements made at the scene. The property damage sustained was an unfortunate consequence of this tragic situation.

“As such, since Clackamas County was not in any way negligent in this matter, I must advise that we will be unable to make any payment on behalf of the county. I regret that I am unable to advise you more favorably, but trust you understand our obligation to the taxpayers of Clackamas County in carefully managing the funds entrusted to us.”

The family is seeking an attorney to appeal the decision.