Portland Copwatch Analyzes Compliance Officer Report on Use of Force July 2018

Table of contents
What's Left to Do: Insubstantial Compliance and Force Policy Violations
Failing to Canvas for Witnesses / Force without Custody
Good News: De-Escalation Leads to Lower Levels of Force
Numbers vs. Percentages: Why Both Matter
Other Interesting Information
Layout / Technical Issues

Portland Copwatch
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Unfortunate Errors, Omission of Shootings, and Other Drawbacks Detract from Important Analysis
by Portland Copwatch, July 27, 2018

In early July, the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL)*- 1 released a report on the Portland Police Bureau's progress regarding changes to Use of Force training, policy and implementation (posted at https://www.portlandcocl.com/reports/2018/7/2/compliance-and-outcome-assessment-use-of-force- draft ). Remarkably, through a series of tables and charts, the COCL comes to the scientific conclusion that community members have known by observation for years: African Americans, Latinos, youth and houseless persons have more force used against them than other Portlanders.

This is the second COCL report to examine only one part of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement Agreement since the reporting began in 2015. Like the April report on Mental Health issues, the new report found the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) was in "Substantial Compliance" with all 12 paragraphs relating to Use of Force.*-2 This means ten of the 12 paragraphs moved up from "Partial Compliance" in the November 2017 COCL report. That report led Portland Copwatch (PCW) both then and in April to speculate there is a rush to finish with the Agreement leading to many paragraphs being "greenlighted." While officer Use of Force is arguably the issue of most concern to the community at large, with the new COCL reporting system Force is only being examined once per year rather than two to four times as was done previously. The COCL notes there is overlap among the various sections of the report, but then, for example, defers weighing in on whether officers are being held accountable for out of policy Force incidents until their report on the Accountability section in Q4 2018.

Worse, the utmost Use of Force which drives much community consternation is the Use of Deadly Force (known in PPB parlance as "Level I"). There have been _sixteen_ officer involved shootings since the COCL started reporting, and _twenty-two_ since the DOJ Agreement was signed in late 2012.*-3 The vast majority of these incidents involved people in mental health crisis, the main focus of the Agreement. Looking at less than deadly uses of force and controlling for reported resistance and other factors, the new report states people in mental health crisis are not more likely to be subjected to force. The COCL states there are not enough cases of "Level I" Use of Force to justify analysis (p. 61). Considering the in-depth look they give to the intersection of force, race, mental health, and other factors, and the fact John Elifritz was shot while in a mental health crisis by eight armed officers during the review period (October 2017-July 2018), this is an inexcusable omission. It also ignores their own data (on p. 63) which show people in mental health crisis are subjected to level II force twice as much as people who are not (17% vs. 8%).

The COCL says force incidents related to felonies and misdemeanors account for the "majority" of cases. However, adding up the numbers on p. 53, one can see such crimes only account for 58% of force use, meaning people are ticketed or not charged with any crime 42% of the time-- so as many as three out of every seven uses of force were not related to serious crimes.

As with the April report, this report utilizes a new rating of "Substantial-Conditional," which is given to eight of the 12 paragraphs*-4. PCW warned that using green highlight color on all paragraphs breaks from past analysis (where "Substantial-Conditional" would have been called "Partial" and colored yellow). Portland Copwatch noted it creates a psychological mindframe for the Bureau to think they are done, and anger in community members who are not seeing any change. Yet the COCL used this new system for a second time.

One incredibly large drawback of the report is that it compares data from various timeframes, a glitch which the social scientists could overcome but choose not to. For example, no data are used from prior to 2015, even though in theory to see whether changes made under the Settlement Agreement are having an effect one would need to go back at least to 2012. The COCL claims their failure has to do with a database change made in 2015 (p. 39). Quite a few data sets are limited to July or August 2017 through March 2018, when the police began tracking a number of kinds of force which previously were not listed. For example, "Vehicle Ramming," "Control Against Resistance," and "Baton (non-strike)" are now required to be reported by officers as low level uses of force. The COCL cautions readers that the spike in Force Reports since mid-2017 is "likely" a result of the changes in policy. One wonders, then, why the COCL team (and the Bureau, for that matter) could not remove the data on those new categories of Force from their statistics to show trends going back further than nine months. It makes sense to also include the new data moving forward, but since the expanded categories added roughly 700 new incidents just in Q1 2018, tracking both old and new data would be best.*-5

There are also numerous errors in the report, not the least of which is a table on page 51 wherein every single row supposedly showing "subject characteristics by resistance" adds up to a number greater than 100%, between 102 and 108%.*-6 (We believe it was Mel Brooks who said you can't have more than 100% of anything.) This does not bolster confidence in the Compliance Officer's reporting. The office's half a million dollar a year contract used to include the responsibility to manage and host meetings of the Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB), but the COAB was dissolved 17 months before this report was written. The revisions to the Agreement in April divorced the COCL from responsibility for the new community panel, the Portland Committee for Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP).*-7 Thus, one wonders why the COCL could not be bothered to dive into the above-mentioned matters or proofread their own report.

To be fair, PCW has stated all along that the COCL's reports include important information, which still holds true here-- including the data on who gets subjected to force more often. They also reveal the Bureau has begun tracking cases in which officers did _not_ use force, in order to better see how well de-escalation and other alternatives to force are leading to non-violent outcomes (p. 31). That said, the COCL continues to lecture the Bureau for conflating tactics meant to avoid force with lowering the amount of force used when discussing de-escalation. PCW agrees, but has repeatedly suggested that calling the former de-escalation and the latter "mitigation of force" would go a long way to ending the confusion. To the Bureau's credit, they put out a memo in April with specific examples of what is and is not considered de-escalation.*-8 The COCL also calls out a few cases wherein Bureau supervisors did not find officers out of policy for using Tasers because the weapon failed to deliver a 50,000 volt shock when deployed (in one case, it only hit the person's clothing). Often seeming unconcerned about the consequences of police violence, the Compliance Officer here uncharacteristically suggests a Taser discharge should be considered force whether or not there is an "application," and if need be the Bureau should change its policy ("Directive") to ensure such incidents are reviewed as Use of Force.

But still, remnants of the very first COCL report, in which they raised questions about the validity of community activists, resurface here. In asking the Bureau to stop printing raw numbers of Force data in their quarterly and annual reports, the COCL brushes off the fact that these data were requested by community input (p. 29). There is no effort to compromise and suggest both rates (percentages) and raw numbers be used. As part of the its full analysis, PCW examines areas of the COCL's report which illustrate the importance of including both kinds of numbers.

Other major concerns include the COCL assuming a factual basis when officers report a person as being "resistant." There are at least eight areas where the "level of resistance" is presented as being accurate based on officer reports, and only two where the COCL describes "perceived" compliance (on pp. 56 and 64-65). Resistance is broken down to include people being "disobedient or antagonistic" even though the report says explicitly the officers are being taught that so-called "contempt of cop" is not a reason to use force (p. 9).

Also, while the analysis using multiple factors showing which community members are most likely to be subjected to police Use of Force is important, none of those factors are the relative representation of those people in the population. For example, they note African Americans are 41% more likely than whites to have higher levels of force used on them (p. 64), there is no analysis that Portland's black population is just 6% compared to 71% white. Latinos (called "Hispanics" in the report) are three times more likely than whites to be subjected to high level force-- but only make up 10% of the population.*-9 In the Outcomes section, it also shows that in terms of how often force is used during arrests, Latinos are subjected to force in 2.2-4.7% of the time, African Americans 2.9-5.6% of the time, and whites just 1.8-3.2% of the time (p. 48). Latinos are subjected to more than twice as much "Level II" force as African Americans or whites-- 21% vs. 9-10% (p. 63). Houseless persons are reportedly 3% of Portland's population but, according to the Bureau's 2017 Force Data Summary Report, received 44% of all force doled out by the cops (and African Americans received 28% of force). The Oregonian recently reported "transients" make up 52% of PPB arrests. The COCL shows houseless persons are 34% more likely to receive serious force than those who are housed (p. 60). A table on p. 56 shows the percentage of officers' first use of force on houseless people is higher than if the person is housed-- 21% vs. 15 % of the time.

A final overall observation: The COCL examines how certain precincts use force and how people in certain ethnic groups are subjected to force. However, they do not specifically break out the Gang Enforcement Team to see whether they are using force at about the same disproportionate rate against African Americans as they conduct traffic stops, which is 59% in a city which is 6% black.*-10

See PCW's full analysis at http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/COCL_quarterly0718_pcw.html .

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As the COCL and the DOJ seem to be hustling the Agreement to a close, it is important for Portlanders to remember that the Agreement requires the PPB to be in full compliance for at least a year before the case will be cleared in Federal Court. Since the PCCEP is not expected to start meeting until October, it is unlikely Judge Simon will be able to sign off in late 2019 as the City likely is hoping.

That said, the reasons the COCL gives for not finding full compliance generally revolve around systems which are too new to have been tested out or tweaks the Bureau needs to make. For example, the Force Inspector ("Inspector") only recently began reviewing Force reports to see whether officers violated policy. They give feedback to the chain of command, a process the COCL wisely says needs more time to take hold. (Again, arguably this would have been deemed in "Partial Compliance" in earlier reports.)

Another example which should have led to a "Partial" rating is that while supervisors are checking to see whether officers' actions lead to the situation where they choose to use force, some are still missing questions about de-escalation and not necessarily looking at the whole encounter (Paragraph 66a, p. 10).

Regarding Paragraph 66b, in which officers are supposed to develop skills over time to resolve confrontations without force, the report says senior officers are not being held to higher expectations. Finding just one rare incident where a supervisor called someone out for a pursuit and Use of Force which were in policy, but not in line with spirit and goals of the Bureau, the COCL alarmingly concludes there is some evidence of compliance and gives this subparagraph a Substantial rating (p. 11).

For Paragraph 67a calling upon officers to de-escalate and call in specialty units, the COCL relates one scene where an officer ordered someone assaulting another civilian to get off and called it de- escalation. The often cop-friendly COCL opines that "force was appropriate" in this case. On the other hand, the COCL noted while the order and a subsequent push may have avoided a higher level of force, those actions were not de-escalation. In the same section, they say they did not see any failures to call in specialty units-- despite John Elifritz being killed within 37 seconds of officers rushing into a homeless shelter in April (p. 12). The Compliance Officer team says they want to see more evidence before finding this part in Substantial compliance, again indicating a rating of "Partial" would have been appropriate.

Similarly, the report notes that officers are taking known history of mental illness into account as required by Paragraph 67b, but some officers have not had a refresher on symptoms since 2006 when 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Training was first given to all officers (p. 13).*-11

As noted above, the COCL reports two Taser uses were found out of policy, but for the wrong reasons. One was a negligent discharge where an officer stumbled with his finger on the trigger (good thing it wasn't a gun, right?). The COCL disagreed with the Bureau's assertion that the suspect's failure to react to the Taser meant it wasn't an application of force. The other was the case where the Taser probe stuck in the person's clothing. Both were handled as administrative violations rather than excessive force. In the context of Paragraph 67d, the PPB is supposed to discipline officers if they use unreasonable force. Such a requirement is also added for any out of policy force in Paragraph 73e. This is where the COCL punted and said they will look at "corrective action" in their Q4 Compliance report (pp. 13-15 and 23).

In discussing how often violations were found in their analysis of Paragraphs 74, 75 and 77 on Force reporting and audits, the COCL warns readers not to assume the 10 violations flagged by supervisors were due to excessive force. They note the Inspector found 12 additional possible violations which should have been reviewed and debriefed with officers, for a total of 22 in the nine month period under review. On the bright side, the report says that while the Inspector's disagreements used to just go back to the officer's commander to decide whether or not to take action, they now get reviewed by the Assistant Chief and Chief who can over-ride the commander's choice (p. 26). This is the feedback loop discussed elsewhere in this document.

As a public service, PCW examined the Q1 2018 Force Audit report (Appendix 7) which lists eight of the 22 force incidents found out of policy. (The quarterly Force Audit reports for Q3 and Q4 2017 are currently not available to the public.) Seven were found out of policy for administrative reasons, and in one an officer was found out of policy for _not_ using force (something PCW has been concerned about since looking at Directive 315.30 on Satisfactory Performance several years ago). The other seven were: two officers failed to report pointing a firearm soon enough; two officers failed to provide warnings; one an officer did not report events accurately; one negligent Taser discharge; and one incident where an off-duty officer didn't immediately report shooting an "aggressive dog."

So at least for the most recent quarter, it does not seem officers are being disciplined at all for inappropriate use of force. The Outcomes section notes three of the 22 violations flagged had to do with "legal standing" but does not go into detail (p. 38).

Regarding the warnings, which officers are required to give before using Tasers (Paragraph 68b), the COCL said some supervisors were being "too strict" about not letting officers waive the requirement to give a warning (pp. 15-16). As noted above, the COCL often does not see these issues through the lens of a community member.

As for the negligent discharge which was found out of policy, it seems the cause was a button on the side of the PPB's new Tasers which are easily triggered. The COCL had noted this problem previously (particularly in light of the case of Matt Klug, who was tased six times including at least once due to the new button), but says it is now "largely resolved." Thus he gave Paragraph 68e, asking officers to re-evaluate after each Taser cycle, a "Substantial" rating (pp. 16-17).

While the COCL earlier noted the police were not being trained how to put handcuffs on suspects during or between Taser shocks (Paragraph 68f), they now report the Bureau bought a special dummy to help train how to do so. However, it is only being used in Advanced Academy (which is for new recruits after they finish basic State training). It is not being used for In-Service training which goes to all officers. The other part of this subparagraph says officers can't cycle Tasers more than two times (at five seconds each) unless "exigent circumstances" exist. In the one incident they found an officer used the Taser four times. Rather than express concern that could be a form of torture, the COCL suggests maybe the officer just didn't articulate their sense of urgency properly (pp. 17-18). This is one of the areas they award as being in Conditional compliance.

Paragraph 70b requires officers to notify Supervisors about serious uses of force, force against people with mental illness, or suspected misconduct. The COCL says this happens "often" and the Bureau is "mostly diligent," then finds them in Substantial compliance (p. 20). This is odd, since previously the COCL said this was happening in policy but not in practice; "often" and "mostly" indicate it is not universal across the Bureau.

Paragraph 69a, which requires officers to file reports about any use of force, was previously not in compliance because the Bureau did not make officers file reports after shootings or deaths in custody. Rather than fix that problem, which the DOJ promised the community would happen, the City and DOJ had the Settlement Agreement amended to exclude deadly force cases from such reporting. The COCL reports on this change (p. 19), which allows the administrative investigation of deadly force to substitute for the officers' first-hand, contemporary reporting. PCW testified to Council and to Judge Simon that this was an inappropriate change and continues to argue against it. The language in the revised Agreement is particularly troubling as it includes shootings which do not end in death-- cases which do not immediately fall under the purview of the District Attorney's office under Oregon law. It is the DA's involvement, and concerns over forcing officers to testify against themselves, which led to the change. Because the amendment lowered the river rather than raising the bridge, the COCL finds the City in Substantial compliance.

The COCL also finds Substantial compliance regarding gathering involved and witness officer statements in Force cases; similarly to 69a the change in the Agreement is cited as a reason the PPB is now in compliance. The COCL says having the involved officer give a limited "public safety statement" and being compelled by Internal Affairs later is in line with best practices (also p. 19). That is not what the OIR Group and other experts (including the DOJ) said in the past, rather, getting officers to give an interview immediately is a best practice.

Related to these two sections, Paragraph 70a requires After Action Reports to be done within 72 hours of force events, or the supervisor responsible can be disciplined. The COCL says because of the revisions to the Agreement this is now in compliance, but doesn't make clear that Paragraph 70 was not amended (p. 20); this requirement is affected by the change to Paragraph 69.

After all these issues related to one change made to the Agreement, the COCL does not mention Paragraph 73a was also amended in order to reduce how often data has to be entered into the Employee Information System (EIS). The word "comments" was deleted as a required entry and the word "material" was inserted to modify the "findings" and "corrections" which are required to be put in the database. The COCL's analysis of this section notes how EIS entries are often incomplete and do not always include debriefings given to officers or possible violations. The amendment could lead to an argument of what is "material," so it is appropriate the COCL gives this Paragraph a "Partial" rating. That rating is confusing since the overall section is supposedly in Conditional Substantial compliance. While PCW does not disagree with the COCL that the Bureau should be entering all the data, the suggestion to define what "findings, comments and corrections" require EIS entries should acknowledge the amended language (pp. 21-22).

In one example where it's possible the Bureau is making progress but the COCL admits they need more time to see if it consistent, Paragraph 73b has led to a system where supervisors are now subjected to progressive discipline if their After Action Reports continue to be inaccurate or incomplete (p. 22). It is not addressed whether the Portland Police Association (which represents Sergeants) or Portland Police Commanding Officers Association (which represents Lieutenants) have objected to the new disciplinary system. Related Paragraph 73d says the supervisor can be removed if they continue deficient reporting, with the same Conditional compliance rating (p. 23). The November 2017 report stated the supervisors needed more training, and it is not clear whether that occurred. In the Outcomes section, the COCL reports the Inspector made it so supervisors with deficient reports are entered into the EIS, which persists until the problem is fixed (p. 36).

Paragraph 73f requires that concerns about policy, training or tactical issues which come up during a Use of Force investigation be raised all the way up to the Chief's office. The COCL seems happy with the Bureau's feedback loop between the Inspector and PPB supervisors, but doesn't mention the Chief (p. 23), which seems pretty important.

Another questionable way the COCL gives Substantial compliance ratings is when the Bureau has created a policy but has never used it. Among other places, this is true for Paragraph 73g about the Chief reassigning Use of Force investigations to the Detectives Division (p. 24).

The COCL says simplifications made to Force reports led to difficulties for officers adding details in some sections, yet they give Substantial compliance to the Force reporting/audit Paragraphs 74, 75 and 77 (p. 25). The Bureau apparently uses "Survey Monkey" to enter their 131 to 152 points of data, which raises questions of whether a corporation has access to sensitive criminal justice information. Also in this section, the COCL notes supervisors are reviewing force for compliance with the "Graham standard" (the Supreme Court decision which requires that only a reasonable amount of force to be used), but doesn't address how the DOJ Agreement led Portland to adopt a "Graham plus" standard requiring officers to use force as little as possible (p. 26). For some reason, previous reviews of force which fell into three categories-- out of policy, in policy with concerns, and no concerns, have been reduced to just a pass/fail two point system. Later in looking at Paragraph 76, the COCL suggests that, since so few Force cases are found out of policy, the Inspector should include cases which were in policy but led to concerns (p. 30); it is not clear how that is possible if the "of concern" category no longer exists.

The COCL admits to auditing only 104 of the 152 data points entered by officers, saying they approved of how data was entered except for "a few instances," and agreeing over 95% of the time with the 10 points used to determine if officers were in or out of policy. They expressed concern that many issues were caught by the Inspector's audit rather than by officers in the chain of command (pp. 27-28). As has been a past deficiency in the COCL's analysis, there is no mention of how a truly independent civilian oversight body might do better than officers in the same institution reviewing their peers.

Regarding Paragraph 76's requirement to analyze data to look for trends, the COCL says the Bureau "attempted to comply." They wisely ask for the Bureau to improve the way they go about this analysis ("methodology" in consultant-speak) by adjusting figures based on factors like how often officers make arrests. They use the example of a supervisor who only makes one arrest and uses force, giving a 100% rate, while another officer might use force in one out of ten arrests (10%). The average would be a 55% use of force rate, which would mean most officers would fall far under that line (pp. 28-29). The COCL also suggests focusing on officers who use some types of force more than others. Even with this rather glaring problem-- and the fact that they haven't yet met the Agreement's requirement to compare force trends by precinct, shift and unit (p. 32)-- the COCL praises the PPB for moving from a paper-based system to a computerized one and finds them in Conditional Substantial compliance.

PCW readily admits we sometimes send out documents with errors in them. However, it is odd that the COCL looks at one officer who filed just four Use of Force reports with no deficiencies as someone who should be held up as a role model (p. 31). For one thing, in any other area the COCL would say four incidents do not make a meaningful trend (for example... there have been many more than four Officer Involved Shootings, yet they still won't analyze those). For another, shouldn't there be some concern that one officer filed four Use of Force reports in one reporting period, if Use of Force is supposedly trending downward?

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In a few places in the report, it is mentioned that officers sometimes fail to canvas for witnesses to force events. It is given as an example of an administrative policy violation on p. 26, and on p. 35 discussing the most common deficiencies in officers' reports. It doesn't seem to cross the COCL's mind that the officers may be failing to look for witnesses in order to escape being held accountable.

This leads to a few questions, including:

--What if an officer fails to report a Use of Force altogether, and/ or under-reports the amount of force they used? If there are no witnesses except the suspect, it's likely the officer will be believed over the subject.

--How does the Bureau know if the officer is exaggerating the resistance of the suspect? Frequently we have seen or heard about officers yelling "stop resisting" when the person is not actually doing anything; this is a tactic which is used to scare off witnesses who might complain they witnessed excessive force. (Note: in the Outcomes section, it shows force and resistance have the most deficiencies in officer reporting, at 32% [p. 35].)

--Why is it assumed (as was stated at the COCL town hall on July 12) that the "Independent" Police Review (IPR) might catch issues around force policy violations, when IPR relies on police reports which might be incomplete (or falsified to cover up for misconduct)?

It should not be expected that the COCL would answer these questions, though, as they describe the first use of force against a person as "setting the stage" for police-community encounters (p. 55). They also inappropriately explained the force-to-custody ratio is important because when there is an arrest, cops are "more likely to face a situation where the individual may be upset and disobey the officer, thereby requiring the use of force" (p. 46). These do not seem very scientific, and the latter comment ignores the COCL's own data on how often people have force used against them but are not arrested.

As noted above, three out of seven incidents not related to serious crime lead to officer violence. The report "explains" that the largest non-arrest category, "release to medical," doesn't mean there was no crime, but rather, they say, "often" the person is cited rather than arrested (p. 53). Considering these 301 cases made up 22% of the force incidents,*-12 it seems there should be more analysis than using the word "often."

The same table about "dispositions" shows that--somewhat to the Bureau's credit?-- only 11 people who were cited and released were subjected to force, and all of it was Level IV force. A full 65% of Level IV force was used in arrests and 25% of it was used when people were given over to EMTs or the hospital. It should be explained why 230 people subjected to the lowest level of force ended up being "released to medical."

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The report and various data tables show when officers use verbal and other means to avoid using force, it mostly leads to lower levels of force being used. (As noted above, they are not yet studying the cases where no force at all was used.) Unmentioned, though, is that when the reason for police contact is "Mere conversation, welfare check or flagdown," 17.5% of the first force applied is in the second and third most serious categories (p. 57). PCW thinks this means 17 of 97 people in these minor non-criminal stops were subjected to serious force during the time period under review. The same category of stops is shown to result in force being used 1.4 times more often than for "person offense" calls, putting it second highest to traffic stops.

Also in the table and text discussing the first force applied (pp. 55-56), the report shows when verbal de-escalation is used, more serious force is only used initially about half as often as when there is no de-escalation (11% vs. 21%). Having one on one talks with the subject makes serious force three times less likely, with Level II only used 6% of the time vs. 19%. Safe communication with the suspect similarly reduces the likelihood of high levels of force from 19% to 12%, roughly equivalent to officers using less serious force when they know a person has a mental health or medical condition. Conversely, if a person is believed to be "disobedient or antagonistic" higher levels of force are used 20% of the time instead of 10%.

The COCL notes the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) delivered a two day de-escalation training for instructors and supervisors in May 2018, as well as PPB teaching de-escalation during the spring In-Service training for officers. As part of the training on why "contempt of cop" does not justify using force, they talked to officers about regulating their own emotions and calling in an officer who wasn't wrapped up in the initial incident. The COCL claims they have not seen any contempt of cop cases since that training, but it's unlikely the officers would report on such incidents honestly, and the training was given only a few months before the report came out. The Bureau is working to be sure the police know saying "get down or be tased" is a command and control issue, not de-escalation. The PPB also included discussion about procedural justice-- making sure people feel respected when interacting with police, but apparently framed it in part as "positive customer service" (pp. 8-10). PCW has repeatedly expressed that most people do not call the police on themselves, thus they are not "customers."

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As noted above, the COCL is urging the Bureau to stop printing raw numbers alongside percentages in their Use of Force reports. Their own analysis of the data showed why both are important, in the example where a supervisor only made one arrest and used force (100%) vs. someone who used force once making ten arrests (10%). Each used force only once.

In addition, in noting that looking for witnesses went from being 8% of deficiencies to 28% of deficiencies in officers' reports, they state other categories improved, bumping the percentage higher. This is an excellent reason to show the raw number to assess whether there has been any actual increase in officers failing to find witnesses.

Similarly, on p. 44 the COCL notes how Taser use was between 5% and 11% of all force, but went down to 4% in Q3 2017 after the new categories of force were added to Force Reports. Someone with a real drive to illuminate the public could (a) adjust the percentage by removing the new categories of force from the calculation (as suggested above) and (b) print the actual number of Taser deployments, which would show if their use is going up, down or staying the same.

In the Outcomes section, the COCL sometimes displays enough information where both the raw numbers and percentages are shown. For example, on p. 38 the table showing where the Inspector found policy violations by officers shows the number of violations (listed as "0") and the number without (listed as "1"). Then it gives the "percent positive evaluations" which is between 94.3% and 100%. PCW praises the transparency of this table but suggests the "0" and "1" be given better descriptors, and for consistency's sake-- since the rate of officer failure to complete reports is given earlier-- to show the percentage of violations found, rather than those which were apparently in policy. This would lead to a range of 0%-5.7%, with the highest frequency for failure in report writing.

This flip-flopped success/fail rate is also true in the following table, examining findings about policy violations for trends.*-13 In this table the COCL also includes numbers of cases both with and without violations. The 22 policy violations are shown to be out of 123 cases reviewed, which is an astonishing 17.9%. According to the "Independent" Police Review's 2017 annual report, only 13% of complaints lodged by community members led to Sustained findings. However, since we do not know whether any of the reported violations led to discipline-- apparently eight of them led to "debriefs"-- it is hard to say whether the nearly 18% figure has any relationship to misconduct the community would have reported. In other words, most people would complain about having too much force used on them, not that the officer didn't file their report accurately. (Flip-flopped high numbers also appear on p. 54 regarding findings about Use of Force by category and force type.)

On page 42, reporting on how often force was used against people with mental illness, a graph combines percentages (which show such force varied from 5% to 25% of all Force incidents) and raw numbers of Taser applications against such persons (which is noted varied from a high of 13 times in one three month period to just five times in the last nine months). So it's a bit apples and oranges, and without a corresponding table is a little hard to suss out.

The figure on page 43 showing uses of force over time is purely raw numbers, and surprisingly shows a drop in "pointing of firearm" from about 35-50 uses per month to about 25 per month in Q1 2018. With no table these are estimates based on the graph. The same graph shows Control Against Resistance jumping from 150 in its first reported quarter (Q3 2017) to 250 (Q4 2017) to over 400 (Q1 2018). The COCL has stated officers had the term clarified for them over that time period.

In other places raw numbers are helpfully given in addition to percentages, but the analysis falls short. For example, the table on how often certain kinds of officers use force shows Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team officers use force at a rate similar to non-ECIT officers, 12% of level II (second highest) force compared to 10% (p. 47). But the raw numbers show that means ECIT officers only used Level II force in 38 arrests (11.8% of 323) while the non-ECIT cops used such force in 107 arrests. On the other hand, a table on page 56 indicates ECIT officers use level II or III as their first kind of force 22% of the time compared to 16.5% for non-ECIT cops, which is 1.35 times higher for the cops trained in de-escalation.

Also, the COCL explains "Specialty units" have fewer calls but tend to use more force, which is why their percentages are higher-- 16% level II represents only seven out of 43 arrests. Needless to say, none of the charts around level II-IV uses of force show who uses deadly force (level I) or how often.

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The report reveals some information which is both counter-intuitive and counter to what people in authority have said over the years. For example, the Outcomes section (p. 47) shows officers in their first 10 years with the Bureau used less serious force (6-10%) than ones with more experience (11.5-16.3%). Usually people say officers learn de-escalation skills over time and rookie cops are prone to use violence because they are new at the job.

The table on findings by force type shows pointing of firearms was found out of policy about 14% of the time, and Taser use found out of policy about 3% of the time (p. 54). By PCW's standard of also looking at raw numbers, the calculated numbers on those mean 32 firearm pointings were considered possible misconduct and two Taser incidents.*-14

Getting back to the specialty units, officers are supposed to consult with them as a means of de- escalation. However, the table on p. 57 shows contact with those units makes cops jump to higher level of force faster than others-- 19.8% of the time vs. 17.7% of the time. Again to be fair, that just means 19 incidents had the higher force level at first, as opposed to 229 cases without the consulting.

Also, if officers feel a person is disobeying them or being "antagonistic," their first choice of force is in the higher category over twice as often as if the person is not so perceived-- 20.1% of the time vs. 9.5% (p. 58).
The OIR Group has cautioned the Bureau against foot pursuits, noting they often lead to violent confrontations. The table on p. 58 shows that if there was a pursuit prior to the use of force, a person is 1.4 times more likely to be subjected to a high level of force (24.1% of the time) than if there was no pursuit (17.6% of the time).

One interesting observation in the COCL's analysis of when more serious force is used comes when they note pointing a firearm at someone is in the lowest category of force (level IV), leading to a statistic showing decreased likelihood of higher levels of force if a suspect is perceived to be armed (pp. 60-61). Since pointing a loaded weapon at someone is a very serious threat, it seems the Bureau should consider moving pointing a firearm to a level II or III Use of Force. It does not seem to appropriately fit in the same category as pushing someone's arms around in order to handcuff them or other level IV force.

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Overall, there is a slight improvement from the COCL's previous "one-topic-only" quarterly report, in that each paragraph being examined is clearly listed, and chapter headings are included along with a table of contents (p. 2).

A lot of problems with the COCL team relaying information, though, comes from their deep academic background making scientific terminology obvious to them but confusing to casual readers. A good portion of page 48 describing how they designed their model to predict when force is used contains high-level jargon. One explanatory section about analyzing force subjects by race says "the fluctuations of each racial/ethnic force-to-custody ratio was similar to the fluctuations of White subjects (Black r=.858, p<.05; Hispanic r=.638 p<.1, Other r=.503 p>.1)." If that is meaningful to you, please consider volunteering to help the PCCEP, as the folks who will be appointed likely will not be able to easily translate such information.

In an effort to appeal to laypeople, the COCL tries to explain why they don't want to look at just one factor when examining force ("bivariate") but rather a number of factors ("multivariate"). They use a strange metaphor about how ice cream sales and murder rates both go up in the summertime but that doesn't mean there is a correlation between the two (p. 40). This is a silly simile, and ignores the possibility that eating ice cream does lead to murder. In other words, they warn readers not to draw conclusions, even though some data like those on race should not be dismissed just because racial bias isn't proven by the report.

Also confusing are their references to how many years officers have served on the force as a factor in predicting force use. The first table shows various ranges of years of service, from below 5 to over 20 (p. 47). Subsequently, at least two other charts only include officer tenure as one line, with no years of service indicated (pp. 59 and 66).

The COCL says these later comparative "multivariate" charts need a baseline to compare to, which is often the most common factor for a category, such as white people when looking at race. However, in addition to officer years of service, other factors including age, "transient," and whether officers gave commands do not have a control factor listed.

Although the COCL tries to explain its inclusion, their tables on pages 60 and 66 confusingly show "subject injury" as one predictor of use of force. The footnote (on page 64) says when a community member is injured,
that automatically inflates the force category to level II. This does not mean the injury predicts whether or not officers will use force. While it may mean the COCL is trying to control the predictive table about how high a level of force is used by factoring in when a low level of force leads to injury, it is confusing, and on its face absurd.

There are also several confusing or unfortunate phrases in the report.
--On p. 32, it refers to cases involving people with mental heath issues or perceived to be in mental health crisis as involving "perceived mental health illness."
--On p. 62, there is a reference to "the average age of force type."
--On p. 52, one call type is shown as "person contacts (86)," which at first appeared to be a numerical reference to how many such contacts were made, but is not.
--On p. 20, there are repeated references to "first line supervisors" which generally means Sergeants; it is not clear why the actual rank is not used.

In addition to the table with all categories over 100%, PCW found other errors in the report. Some are listed in this analysis and its footnotes. In addition:

--Although the report says a person considered disobedient is three times more likely to receive higher force, the number given on page 60 is 3.72, which would round up to _four_ times higher.

--On p. 71, Assistant Chief of Operations Ryan Lee is identified as "Eric Lee."

Lastly, here are two things the COCL could do would make the report itself less confusing:

--When referring to the "last report," the COCL should state the date of the report, especially now that reports on various sections are only issued once per year. For example, on page 22, PCW believes the COCL was referring to the November 2017 report, not the April 2018 report on Mental Health issues, when talking about how they noted "in our last report" that discipline of supervisors who file inaccurate or incomplete reports had not happened yet.

--Tables which use color for multiple variables shown in one graphic do not carry well in greyscale. Commonly, such graphs will use dotted and/or dashed lines so people without access to color printers can read them on paper.

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Once again, the COCL seems to be to deferential to the Police Bureau, giving them an "A" for effort while ignoring the concerns swirling around in the realities of news headlines-- and their own data. As noted in our previous analysis of the April report, the disconnect between the Chicago-based COCL team and the people of Portland has become more pronounced since they divorced themselves from the Community Liaison part of their originally envisioned and contracted job. The City managed to combine their interim community-oriented forum with the COCL's report presentation in April, but the COCL held a forum on July 12 to present this report with the City originally planned a separate forum on July 25.*-15

At the July 12 forum, the COCL stated one way to avoid officers' reports not reflecting the actual force or resistance used in an encounter would be to get body cameras on Portland Police. While PCW remains neutral on this subject, we have repeatedly pointed out that body cameras do not point at the officers, and only capture what is right in front of the lens. This is why it is crucial for community copwatchers to continue to observe and record police behavior. In the same way, it is urgent for members of the community to examine the work being done in our name which simultaneously confirms some concerns about how often officers are using force, and minimizes others.

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*1- We previously noted that the US DOJ Agreement has been modified to remove the COCL's work with the community, so the position should technically be called the "CO."

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*2- The COCL also includes a compliance rating for Settlement Agreement Section III's opening paragraph, making 13 total.

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*3- Another incident in which an officer hit a bicyclist with a police car was also considered deadly force. An April 2018 incident in which an officer chased a person backward onto the freeway, leading to a deadly head-on collision, raises serious questions as well.

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*4- The un-numbered opening paragraph of Section III also is rated "Substantial-Conditional" making nine of 13.

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*5- In the Outcomes section, it is stated there were 2617 applications of force from Q2 2015 to Q2 2017, which PCW calculates is 53% of the force used in 3 years over the first 9 quarters, with 2216 after the change redefining force from Q3 2017 to Q1 2018, or 47% in just three quarters (p. 41).

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*6- See http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/cocl_data0718.pdf , which uses data from p. 51.

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*7- Illustrative of their disinterest in the community board, PCCEP is not even in the COCL's glossary of abbreviations.

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*8- Unfortunately, this was a follow-up to a January memo intending to explain de-escalation, which was self-contradictory and a confusing mess. The two memos are included as Appendices 1 and 2 in the report.

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*9- Population data taken from Independent Police Review's online dashboard, May 2018.

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*10- Per the Auditor's report on the Gang Enforcement Team from March 2018.

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*11- Actually, the decision to start training officers was made in 2006 after James Chasse, Jr. was beaten to death by Portland officers; the training didn't begin until February, 2007 (People's Police Report #41, May 2007).

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*12- Also see http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/cocl_data0718.pdf , which uses data from p. 53.

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*13- The first "positive evaluation" in this table is listed as 97.6.8%; it is supposed to be 97.6.

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*14- Because there is so much variation in the time periods being examined, it is not clear these are the two Taser cases discussed earlier.

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*15- The extra forum was canceled when the Auditor apparently told the IPR not to participate.

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Posted July 27, 2018