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Drug-Free Zones Modified

On July 1, Portland's "Drug-Free Zones [DFZs]," which were temporarily ruled unconstitutional, came back into effect with a new procedure. The Zones, which had recently been expanded out of downtown and into parts of Northeast Portland (see PPR #11), were ruled a form of double jeopardy by Judge John Wittmayer. His ruling said that prosecuting drug offenders for crimes as well as excluding them from the DFZs was two punish-ments for one crime.

We at Copwatch would say that this ruling ignores the constitutional question of punishing a person who has not been convicted of any crime ("due process").

In June, Circuit Court Judge Donald Londer changed the procedures for exclusions from a DFZ: instead of a person being excluded upon arrest, the exclusion will be part of the conditions placed upon them during pre-trial release from jail. (According to the June 25 Skanner, the defendant has to plead guilty at arraignment, thus accepting a reduced sentence and the exclusion order.) While this satisfies the question of the police being the ones excluding people from their own neighborhoods, it does not put an end to the question of whether cordoning off entire areas is a wise idea.

Proponents of the DFZs say they're not stopping anyone from going to their own home, yet they are forcing people to apply for a written variance which only allows them to walk a certain path to get there.

In April, residents of the Sabin neighborhood appeared at a public discussion which included Deputy District Attorney Jim Hayden and public defender Michael McShane. All but one of the residents voiced opposition to both the Drug Free Zones and the War on Drugs in general, saying such tactics have "harmed the local quality of life by breaking up families, breeding suspicion and resentment between neighbors, and giving police too much power in dealing with an intractable social ill." (The Skanner, April 30, 1997) McShane agreed, calling the DFZs inefficient, expensive, and "a simplistic approach to a complex problem." Even the Deputy D.A. said the DFZs are not meant to be "a solution to the drug problem." But he believes they are a "creative way of dealing with a community problem...they are designed to give relief to an area."

We will try to keep you posted as circumstances continue to change.

  [People's Police Report]

August, 1997
Also in PPR #12

Chief Undoes Council Misconduct Vote
Police Shootings, Shootings of Police
 • 18 Years: One Dead Cop, 100s of Dead Workers
 • What is a Hero?

Drug-Free Zones Modified
Day Laborers Resist Immigration Raids
Sheriff Wants Double-Bunking in Jail
Eugene Cops Attack Peaceful Tree-Sit
Updates PPR #12:
 • Beanbag Bullets Now on the Beat
 • Special Duty
 • Pepper Spray to be Banned in Berkeley?
 • Cop-Friendly Capitalism
 • Police Spying Update (again!)
 • Hawthorne Copwatching Update
 • Grant to Copwatch: Update

Report: National Conference in Phillie
Quick Flashes PPR #12:
 • Slap on the Wrist for Rapist Cop
 • Sacramento Cops Target Zapatista Supporters
 • ACLU Updates Police Abuse Manual
 • Portland Copwatch in Media, at Conference

Reviews of 'Zines
Rapping Back #12

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #12 Table of Contents
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