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In mid-June the Oregonian reported that the Multnomah County District Attorney ordered the city of Gresham, OR, to release nearly 1,000 pages of confidential records on the conduct of Gresham Police Lieutenant Jim Kalbasky, who used his position as a police officer to coerce a female sex crime victim into intercourse on two different occasions.

For those of you who missed the story, this is what it said: Internal Affairs investigators concluded that Kalbasky knowingly exploited the woman using his status as an officer. According to the victim, Kalbasky came to her home in 1991, ostensibly to question her about a work-related sexual harassment complaint. She claims Kalbasky arrived with a bottle of champagne, kissed her, and refused to leave when she demanded he do so. Instead, she says, he forced her into the bedroom and raped her while she cried. Kalbasky later showed up at the woman's home and again forced sex upon her. Kalbasky denies the charges, claiming he had consensual sex with the woman once. In 1995, the Police Chief fired Kalbasky based on the findings, but city officials lied to the public and said the dismissal was based on a consensual affair with a prostitute.

A Portland officer reported the crimes to the Gresham Police Department, who told him that the woman was mentally unstable and they would not take a complaint from her. The woman turned to a deputy district attorney, who she says pressed her to drop her quest for redress. Under pressure from the police union, current Police Chief Bernie Giusto reinstated Kalbasky with a demotion and pay cut.

Giusto did have some insightful remarks on the incident: "We need to hold officers accountable," he said. We agree. However, the question is: accountable to whom? By docking his pay and demoting him, the Police Department showed Kalbasky that he is somewhat accountable to them. But the Department itself is in no way accountable to the community it occupies, nor is Kalbasky being held accountable to his alleged victim. Giusto seems to believe we should all mellow out and accept that such atrocities as police raping civilians are inevitable. "The punishment has to fit the crime, I'm not going to chop off their heads hoping to kill the snake of police misconduct because it's not going to happen. They're human beings." Perhaps Giusto is with us after all. We fully agree that regardless of who fills positions of unaccountable power, coercion and abuse will inherently follow from the existence of such positions. Perhaps we can persuade the Chief to join us in fighting for police officers being directly accountable to their communities so that imperfect human beings with badges can't get away with things like serial rape.
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On February 22, a group of young people interested in peace and justice and the Sacramento-based Zapatista Solidarity Coalition (ZSC) held a benefit event for the construction of a middle school in the poverty-stricken indigenous town of Oventic, Chiapas. The gathering drew over 100 people and featured music, poetry, and a slide show on the current struggle in Chiapas. Over 60 Sacramento Police officers in full riot gear, accompanied by canine units, paddy wagons, sheriff's deputies, Highway Patrol officers, and a helicopter arrived to shut down the show. As no laws were being broken, the concert-goers sat down in the venue rather than comply with police orders to disperse. The police forcibly cleared the building, arresting several of the event's organizers on charges such as inciting to riot, destruction of property and failure to disperse.

The District Attorney chose to prosecute five of these "offenders." The trial ended in a hung jury, and now DA Jan Scully has ordered a new trial. The ZSC believes this attack was politically motivated and asks you to support them in their effort to have the charges against Rice Canneto, Rick Ele, Stephan Podwizdki, Victor Rivera and Mick Pin dropped immediately.

For information on how to voice your opinion to DA Scully, contact the ZSC at PO Box 1083, Sacramento, CA 95812, (916)-443-3424 or email zsc@24stex.com

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which pro-duced "Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual" shortly after the Rodney King incident and its aftermath, has released an updated version. Portland Copwatch owes a lot of its early organizing to this document. The revised manual is now available in English and Spanish. Information includes:

* Civilian Review Boards * Control of Police Shootings * Reducing Police Brutality * Ending Police Spying * Oversight of Police Policy * Improved Training * Building Coalitions * Monitoring Police (Copwatch) * Using Open Record Laws * Educating the Public * Using the Political Process * Lobbying State Legislatures

For excerpts from "Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual"
and lots of helpful info on Police Accountability, visit the ACLU website:
Order a copy of the Manual from the website or from ACLU of Northern California
1663 Mission St #460, San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 621-2488
[ed 2023: 39 Drumm Street, San Francisco, CA 94111; (415)621-2493]

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Copwatch Makes Good in Media, at Conferences

Portland Copwatch has been popping up all around to promote police accountability. On July 25, Copwatch member Clayton Szczech appeared at the national Peace Action conference at Reed College in Portland for a seminar on community violence. His eloquent analysis of why we need to re-define violence to include wage slavery, police harassment and other side effects of the capitalist system we live under was broadcast on KBOO-FM a few days later. In early August, Clayton headed to Philadelphia to represent Copwatch at the National Conference on Police Accountability and was quoted in the Philadelipia Inquirer (see his report on this page).

In May, Kristian Williams and Missy Rohs appeared on a panel about Copwatching at the "From the Ground Up" activist conference on the Evergreen State College campus in Olympia, Washington.

On July 31, Dan Handelman was featured as part of a National Public Radio "Morning Edition piece on police review boards. They focused on PIIAC as a national model and Dan explained why the board may be doing all it can, but that the system is not yet sufficient to be a "model."

Earlier in the month, Dan was inerviewed by KBOO regarding Chief Moose's decision to overturn City Council's vote on a PIIAC appeal in a use of force case (see PIIAC article). We also received what could be considered a dis-honorable non-mention in the July 23 Willamette Week (WW) as "Police watchdogs," considered "losers" because of Moose's decision. For reasons unknown, WW rarely prints our group's name.
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  [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
Back to Portland Copwatch home page
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