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Rapping Back #55
On November 3, the day after a police officer was allegedly pushed in front of a moving bus during an Occupy Portland march, PPA President Daryl Turner published a news release, which acted as his President's message in the November Rap Sheet. In the piece, entitled "Enough is enough," Turner notes that the PPA's 900 members believe in "Jobs, fair wages, benefits, work conditions and pensions." Trying to shore up their working class credentials, he states that they are part of the 99% and support free speech rights. However, claiming that officers "have worked long hours, shown great resolve, and out-performed their duties under seemingly unthinkable circumstances," he ignores the fact that officers were over-deployed to the Occupy events and could have at any time refused their orders as illegal (see article, this issue). Over- exaggerating the presence of drugs and crime in the parks and the "assaults" and "threats" against officers, Turner pleaded: "We need to be able to do our jobs.. the police commissioner has the ability and duty to see that this is done." (Read: We want to crack some heads.) Just days later, the Mayor and Chief decided to push the occupiers out by force.
Turner's thinly-veiled phony attempt to claim solidarity with the movement was unmasked in his various not-so-subtle digs at Occupy. He claimed the PPA supports the right to protest, but "within the confines of city, county and state laws." Despite the massive amounts of overtime he and his members racked up, he says "We cannot endure what the Occupy Portland protest has become... a seemingly open checkbook for taxpayer money to pay for an already over-extended Police Bureau." Turner complains that the money in overtime and for the (then-eventual) cleanup would be huge. Therefore, he calls for the real 99% to be heard: The people who could not enjoy the parks during the encampment, day care centers who had to hire extra security (??), businesses surviving from month to month... those people, he said, are not violating park rules, camping and trespass laws, or costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in PPB resources. "If the movement has a message, let it be heard, but not at the cost of the damage it has done to the citizens and business owners who are a large majority of the 99%."
In December, Turner's column, titled "Setting the standard," returned to the issue of Occupy Portland. While repeating many of the same complaints, this time he accused Mayor Adams of having cops go "against the very grain of what police officers were taught and tasked to do: Allow protestors to break the law and violate other citizens' constitutional rights." He said Adams, the Police Commissioner, ordered them "not to take action unless it was absolutely necessary." Returning to the danger meme, he claims "it was obvious that some segment of the Occupy Portland movement had an anti-police agenda that included attempts to provoke police into a confrontation." He then describes the phalanx of riot cops approaching unarmed demonstrators as facing "adversity that they neither created or controlled." He says the officers, who beat, peppersprayed, corralled, and hair-pulled demonstrators, are "owed a huge debt of gratitude for the countless hours they worked through adversity and uncertainty, while showing great resolve... [the PPB has] set a standard which is a cut above any department anywhere!"
the Occupy protestors to stay in the parks. Of 900+ members, only 31 voted, with
29% (9) saying it was OK for them to stay,
16% (5) saying they could stay if they were "actually making a statement", and
55% (17) thinking they should go.
Along the same lines as Daryl Turner's Occupy rant, he outlined the PPA's goals, successes and complaints in his October column. He said he came on board last year as President with the hopes of "Rejuvenating the image of the PPA in our community without compromising what we stand for" and "not buying into the media barrage regarding incidents that affect our members." An obvious reference to the officers who have been punished for shooting and killing civilians, Turner mulls, "How our leaders can sleep at night knowing the shameful way they treat our members is beyond me." Is it even necessary to ask how the PPA and its members sleep at night knowing... nah, too easy.
Outlining the successes of the PPA in gaining more wages and benefits in the last contract, Turner reveals that a new protocol around officer-involved shootings provides for union representation for the involved officer, witnesses and sergeants. (Actually, he says they will advocate for the officers "during and after" shootings/deaths, which brings up an absurd image of the PPA coming to the scene whenever a cop pulls his gun out.) Turner notes that the PPA responded to five officer- involved shootings in six weeks (Nov 2010-Jan 2011, PPR #53) and "manag[ed] media communication to ensure members were not portrayed in a negative image."
Again trying to forge solidarity with people whose jobs do not require protecting the property and interests of the 1%, Turner reminds his membership how labor unions won 40 hour work weeks and benefits, but conveniently leaves out how police have historically been used to bust said unions.
Promotions are usually made "through chance, luck and often politics"--Tim Dees, Policeone.com, November Rap Sheet.
As though the fact that our civilian oversight agency, the "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR), isn't facing enough community concern that their invesigations are completely dependent on the Bureau's Internal Affairs division (see article, this issue), a communique from IPR to the Bureau shows their bias. A note reprinted in the December Rap Sheet from IPR Director Mary-Beth Baptista sent the day of the first Council hearing on police accountability issues states that IPR received eight compliments before the eviction of Occupy Portland, and 21 more after, but only three complaints. (Those are listed as courtesy, failure to display ID, and the arrest of the movement's sign language interpreter, which prompted 19 calls.) Commenters called the PPB's actions "a thing of beauty," "patient and professional," and spoke of their "restraint and dignity... true adherents to the principles of law enforcement." The last commenter gushes about "our pride in the Portland Police Department [sic]" and finishes: "Thank you. You were perfect."
While Baptista says the Bureau requested the data, the tone of her note, which begins "I thought you might want to know the tally of commendations complaints in case it comes up today," is one of collaboration with the Bureau, rather than one of a watchdog agency.
Once again, the Rap Sheet included statistics for officers killed in the line of duty (November, from CNN). While we continue to say both officers and civilians deserve to go home safe at night, the CNN article implied a huge increase in danger to cops. Although the number of officers killed by gunfire was 55 in 2010, up from 48 in 2009 (or 49 according to the stats cited in PPR #51), that still accounts for a lower percentage of on-duty deaths than accidents. It's now been 13 years that accidents outnumber deliberate killing of officers, with 72 accidents in 2010 making up 56% of the deaths. CNN also fails to note that the 2009 total was the lowest in 50 years, meaning that 2010's 128 officer deaths compared to the previous 116 may not indicate a trend, but rather that 2009 may have been an aberration. In December, CNN reported a 14% increase in officer deaths in 2011, with 166 to date; only 60 (37%) were from firearms.
On September 1, CNBC reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 10 most dangerous jobs of 2010, none of which were law enforcement. Farmers and ranchers, for example, came in at #5, with 300 deaths.
Portland Copwatch Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability
through citizen action.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.