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Portland Copwatch analyzes info in the Police Union Newsletter, the Rap Sheet

Keeping the Public Informed of Police Information the Police Public Information Office Doesn't Officiate


Portland Police Association (PPA) Secretary-Treasurer Tom Mack usually has no sympathies for the folks he sees as criminals. However, after the Police Bureau cracked down on cell phone use because of excessive personal calls, Mack wrote a piece in the June Rap Sheet calling the new policies a violation of the Police Officers' Bill of Rights (Article 62, PPA Contract). "A violation of one man's rights is a violation of all men's rights." How odd that he continues the article by objecting to Internal Affairs sustaining complaints of police misconduct.

Incidentally, for those of you searching these pages for comments on the Cell Phone debacle in the Bureau, you can stop now. We think the mainstream media has spent way too much time on the issue. While misuse of taxpayer money is a problem, public scrutiny should be focused on the money paid out in lawsuits and out-of-court settlements each year due to police misconduct, as well as other stories about police accountability having to do with human rights, not phone calls.


Perhaps as a morale booster after the cell phone brouhaha, Mack gives a pep talk to the cops-- "God's Chosen Few...warriors who go out every day to scare off vermin and villains" ("Portland police officers stand tall," July, 1997). Perhaps in tribute to his vision of police as warriors, Mack and two other officers fatally shot a bank robbery suspect in June 1994 (the ultimate violation of one man's rights).

Mack goes on to say that the Police protect those who are invisible to the rest of society, and that they "not only protect the victims but also defend and protect the oppressors from themselves and society." He probably means they believe they protect the rights of the criminal suspects-- but read literally, he means they protect the oppressors--the capitalist ruling class--from the rest of society. Hey, Tom, you should be lecturing with Noam Chomsky!


Police are encouraged to "Slow Down for Safety's Sake" in an article by M.F. Roberts in May's Rap Sheet. He notes that most disabling injuries to police happen in auto accidents. He suggests that cops (a) slow down and (b) set an example for civilians by following the laws. What an interesting concept. Almost undoing his argument, Roberts exempts officers on graveyard duty "creaking around without their headlights on at 3 AM." Can you think of anything more safe than driving really slow in the pitch black night with your headlights off?


Detective David Schlegel reports in June's Rap Sheet that Portland played host to the 1997 Western States Hostage Negotiators from April 28-30. The "great debate" among the 300 attending from as far away as New Mexico and Alaska: Whether to risk killing a suspect in order to prevent them from killing themselves.


Mark Schaffer of the PPB writes in the June Rap Sheet of his positive feelings conducting DARE classes at local schools. He reprints several essays by students telling what they learned in the program. Insights apparently taught (in the students' own words) include: "the difference between gangs and the Boy Scouts is [that the] gangs cause crimes"; "[drugs] would lead you to gangs and violence and getting in trouble...Smoking makes your teeth yellow and can give you lung cancer. Drugs make you plain stupid and behind in school"; and "even though it seems cool to drink underage it's not." Of course, it IS cool to drink after you're 21, and no Boy Scout has ever engaged in criminal activity (just gays and atheists).

Also, we hate to burst Schaffer's bubble, but research done in four U.S. states and Canada—mostly funded by law enforcement—showed that there was no significant difference in drug use between those who went through DARE and those who did not. Drugs monitored included alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and glue. ("Studies find Drug Program Not Effective", USA Today, October 11, 1993)


According to Assistant Deputy District Attorney Mike McLellan, an officer is simply conversing with a civilian as long as the civilian's liberty is not restrained (June Rap Sheet). He claims in this way an officer's conversation is just like any other person's.

However, picture yourself doing any of these things that are listed as specific examples of conversations (as opposed to police stops):

Asking a driver to get out of a car before it is towed; asking for the identification for 3 people sitting in a parked truck; talking to a drug suspect and chasing him while he drops the drugs on the ground. In the last case, the interaction became defined as a "stop" only when the officer tackled the suspect.

Factors defining a stop vs. a conversation are: Location, questions vs. directives, length of conversation, number of officers, use of force, lights, demeanor/tone of voice, pursuit, seized property, and the drawing of police weapons.

So in other words, in those rare occasions a cop starts talking to you without ordering you to do things, chasing after you, or pulling a gun, you're free to go.


Rap Sheet Editor Loren Christensen wrote in June about how police are unable to go after "scum" criminals any more. What's holding them back? "Rules, laws, General Orders, procedures, political correctness, Standard Operating Procedures, IA Complaints, community policing, edicts and mandatory hugging."

We at Copwatch are no fans of Portland's annual military-laced Rose Festival. So we were mildly amused by Christensen's July headline "Must..go...to...fun...center...". He describes people who live under rocks 51 weeks a year and in June crawl out to Waterfront Park uttering those words. However, the humor turns sour when Christensen describes his typical "Rock Person"-- "The females are almost always over weight and sport bold tattoos just above their tube tops. Their gargantuan thighs protrude in lumps from ragged cut-off jeans, and cigarettes dangle from lips smeared with blue cotton candy, and crusty mustard from [a] corn dog. There are usually three soiled kids...all from different fathers whose names the mothers have forgotten or never knew." Although he also has harsh words for the male "Rock People," this misogynist stereotyping and disdain toward heavy-set women coming from a police officer is particularly upsetting in light of the officer who injured a heavy woman by dragging her across a driveway (see "Chief Moose Undermines City Council").

Ironically, Christensen describes his "shock" that an "innocent pedestrian" was accidentally shot downtown, mentioning that the man was gunned down during a "fun date with his wife." The couple was on their way to the Rose Festival.


Christensen goes on about the shootings in June (including the one mentioned above), most of which happened in NE Portland.

He predicts more gunshots and complains about not having enough officers to patrol the streets. In the April Rap Sheet Christensen mockingly suggested that the Police slow down their services to get back at the people who voted to cut property taxes. "We are forced to suffer the negative impact in our professional and personal lives,...why wouldn't our community policing partners share a little suffering too? After all, they voted for Measure 47."

Christensen also says in the July issue that he thinks cops are lying to the public by saying Portland is "relatively safe." Years ago, Mayor Bud Clark told Christensen (who then worked on the Gang Enforcement Team [GET]) not to tell people to cross the street when they saw a gang member. Christensen continued to tell people anyway.

The Gang Enforcement Team was going to be eliminated in June, and Ballot Measure 50 made funds available which were used to reinstate the GET. Would that have been a high priority if the shootings hadn't happened? Did police allow the shootings to go on to justify their own budget? We sure hope not. Four civilians lost their lives.


If the theory is correct about Police allowing several shootings to occur in NE Portland, perhaps their subsequent show of force was a public relations move to bolster the notion that money should go to law enforcement instead of education, job training, and other programs to help reduce crime and violence.

The June 16 Oregonian front page headline boasts "Police make their presence felt" in Northeast Portland after five shootings within a week.

The article condones the police for stepping up stops and searches of suspected gang members. It is apparent that the suspects are primarily black, and the officers are all white. There is no question raised as to why black officers are not on this patrol. The officers quote the bible, cut some slack, and settle a $5 bet they made with someone on the street (hmm...General Order 316.40-Gambling- "Members shall not engage in any form of gambling while on duty"). They also frisk someone at a "night club" in front of his friends. "People see this and don't understand," says Officer Randy Teig. "They don't know them like I know them" he says, referring to the "gang" members.

[note: in 2023, two typographical errors were corrected]

  [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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