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PIIAC: Portland's Police Review Board Loses
Its First Full Time Staff Person; Work Stalls Again

Lisa Botsko, the first full-time staff person for the Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee (PIIAC), hired in July 1994 after the Mayor created the new position, left her job on June 5th. Botsko definitely brought about a lot of changes at PIIAC and helped the Citizen Advisors stay on track as they heard appeals, reviewed Internal Affairs files, and created quarterly monitoring reports.

The city initiated a "limited national search" in June, and Copwatch was allowed to ask questions of the four candidates who came in for interviews at the end of July. While the process is confidential, we can assure you that if we feel that we are in any way being co-opted or used by the city to silence accountability activists' concerns we will walk out immediately and publicly.

The new staff person could be in place by the time you read this.

Another big change is the retirement of Capt. Bill Bennington of Internal Affairs. His replacement, Brett Smith, came to his first PIIAC meeting in a sport coat, which he removed to reveal his sidearm while he testified. In a setting where civilians and police are meant to have equal footing, the overt presence of Capt. Smith's gun was a bit unnerving.

Because both the June and July PIIAC meetings were cancelled, the last public presentation by Botsko for the board was a round of four cases being appealed to City Council on June 2. In one of the cases, #99-12, a woman arrested for domestic violence on the testimony of her mother and step- sister was patted down for weapons--by the step-sister. Apparently, Internal Affairs, PIIAC, and City Council found nothing unusual about sworn police asking the person accusing the suspect of a crime to conduct a pat-down search.

Another one of the appeals, which was quickly dismissed by City Council on the basis of a letter from the City Attorney's office, was Portland Police Association (PPA) Secretary-Treasurer Tom Mack's complaint that a male officer was not hired to do duty at the Rose Festival because of his gender (see PPR #16). Mack wasn't present for his appeal, but he wrote about his experiences in the May Rap Sheet (the PPA's newsletter). Apparently, the City Attorney felt that the IAD should not investigate the "complaint of discrimination." Mack was outraged that IAD did not do a subsequent investigation when PIIAC sent his case back to them.

Mack's confusing appeal was made more muddled by his claim to PIIAC that he was filing as a fellow officer, not as Secretary-Treasurer of the PPA. But in the Rap Sheet, he proclaims the complaint was made by him as a "union" rep. If so, why was it not filed as a grievance rather than an IAD complaint? (If not, why did he--to be polite--give misinformation to PIIAC?)

Meanwhile, there has been no quarterly monitoring report from PIIAC since the 2nd/3rd quarter '98 report came out early this year. That means trends, patterns, and individual cases of outrageous conduct may have escaped the public eye for ten months running.

In an interesting development in the world of civilian review, the Santa Cruz, CA police review board has voted to send the case of a protestor who was beaten and pepper sprayed in the mouth to an independent investigator (also see pepper spray in this issue). While that review board, like the one in Tucson and other cities, has the power to call for this kind of investigation, this is the first time Santa Cruz has used that power. PIIAC does not have the ability to call for such review.

For more info on Portland's review system, call the
Mayor's office at 503-823-4120 or PIIAC at 503-823-4126

  [People's Police Report]

August, 1999
Also in PPR #18

Chief Moose Cuts Loose, Leaves Mixed Legacy
 • Mayor Asks "What Do You Want in a Chief?"
PPB Shoots at 4; Dow's Killers Awarded
  • Police Lament "Hero" Killer Cops Treated Badly
Eugene Cops Turn Rally into Melee
Oregon Looks at "Driving While Black"
Salem Gets Organized
Review Board Loses Staff Person, Stalls
Two Copwatchers Undergo Mediation w/Police
Deputy Fun Facts (Clackamas, Washington)
Pepper Spray: "Safety," Pain, Death & Lawsuits
Quick Flashes PPR #18:
 • Two Portland Officers Fired for Lying
 • City Ignoring Youth Self-determination
 • Supreme Court OKs Search and Seizure of Passengers
 • Police Snitch Program Draws Heat
 • Tardy Cop Breaks Law
 • Police Cheat on Overtime
 • Iraq Protestors Free, Challenge "Lawful Dispersal" Rule

Updates PPR #18:
 • Gambling West Linn Chief Pleads Guilty
 • Gold Hill Chief Convicted
 • Bend Family Sues
 • Shooter Ex-Cop Strikes Again
 • Police Volunteer Indicted
 • "Grow Light" Store Busted After Filing Suit
 • NYPD Cops Indicted in Diallo Shooting
 • NYPD Officer Admits Sodomizing Louima
 • Millions March for Mumia
 • Copwatch and CUSPR: Organizing for Accountability

Rapping Back #18

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 #18 Table of Contents
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