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Rapping Back #18:
Portland Copwatch analyzes info in the Police "Union" Newsletter, the Rap Sheet

Memorable memorandums from the Mayor's mostly male
metropolitan mandate minders

Police and Stereotypes

Retired Portland officer Duke Smith complains in the May Rap Sheet about a talk show hosted by Rick Emerson of Portland. Emerson questioned whether police deserve more respect than anyone else. Smith reports that people called in with "the usual horror stories: rude cop, tough cop, mean cop, surly cop, he didn't do anything cop, lech [sic] cop, ego cop and so forth."

Suddenly, after a cop called in, Emerson changed his tone and began asking for good cop stories. But to Duke, it was too late. It was time for the former cop to stereotype people who promote police accountability. "You spew out this diatribe and feed the militant, anti-government types, the cop haters, the schizoid conspiracy theorists, the hate mongers and all the other fringe loonies that bob along in the sewers of wrath. You use your forum to legitimize the hate these people have, and you make it more difficult for the police to deal with them."

And speaking of stereotypical cop behavior, check out Loren Christensen's July book review of Make 'Em Talk: Principles of Military Interrogation. He mentions that a lot of the book is inappropriate for civilian law enforcement, but recommends the chapters outlining the following techniques (those who have had Copwatch training will recognize some of these): "Direct approach; silent approach; We-already-know-everything-approach; Resistance-is-senseless approach; Good guy-bad guy approach; Fast-and-furious approach; Love approach; File-and- dossier approach."

So when you think the police are acting out a pre-planned scenario, you're probably right.

Speaking of Book Reviews

In the April Rap Sheet, former PPA President Jeff Barker reviews Christensen's new book, Skid Row Beat, A Street Cop's Walk on the Wild Side. Christensen's book consists of stories from the '70s to the present from Portland's street cops, though he has apparently changed names to protect the obnoxious.

His chapters are "Characters, Sex, Violence and Bodily Excretions." Barker writes, "We have come a long way since the days when it was still a crime to be drunk in public, and the beat cop was expected to 'take care of business' on his district [sic]."

He quotes Christensen saying the book is "not for the easily offended, the overly politically correct, or those who view community policing as a religious experience." To be clear, Barker states that "some of the anecdotes are so disgusting you will have to put the book down."

We wonder if he means ones about "bodily excretions" or the ones about cops "taking care of business."

(for more, check out LC's website, www.aracnet.com/~lwc123.)

Uniform Madness

In the May Rap Sheet letters section, Assistant Chief Prunk gets a pen-full from Michael Villanti (affiliation unknown) and John Scruggs (Northeast Precinct), who were shocked that Prunk went to Salem to testify against the bill which would ban live media broadcasts of police actions. What's worse, they say, is that though other police officials were there testifying for the bill, Prunk spoke against it while wearing his uniform.

This was followed up in June by retired Officer Elmer Brown, upset that Chief Moose would not allow officers to wear uniforms when testifying about making it a class C felony to assault a cop. On the other hand, groans Brown, Moose marches in the Gay Pride Parade in uniform.

Neither the media bill (HB 3050) nor the felony bill (SB 70) made it to the governor's desk.

It is hard to say if these are political decisions dividing police management from the rank-and-file, or just decisions being made from the Chief's public relations office. In any case, we should all keep our eyes open for what police do when in or out of uniform. (see inset "Disgrace to the Uniform" below)

Disgrace to the Uniform?

John and Mindy Harris write in April's Rap Sheet about how CW Jensen shouldn't have done a TV ad for Ron Tonkin car dealerships. He appears in a costume resembling a Portland Police uniform, helping Tonkin track down a missing car while his partner chomps on Asian food in the passenger seat. "This commercial depicts police officers as individuals whose services can be bought by rich business people and who do not take their critical public roles seriously." Well, there's something to be said for truth in advertising.

(By the way, C.W. got 7 nominations on the Mayor's website to be chief, and one comment which said "Just not CW Jensen! Please!")

Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

An anonymous law enforcement officer form Maryland wrote an article, reprinted in the July Rap Sheet from The Shield, about what he believes a prisoner's life is like. The tone is pretty much, "Hey, taxpayers, thanks for sending me to the country club."

Here's a quote: "I can watch TV,... play cards and games, basketball in our gym, or go outside in suitable weather ...We have plenty of exercise devices ..to keep our bodies in shape." His imaginary inmate is so excited he gets this all for free--plus access to a great legal library, and the ability to tie up courts with lawsuits! "We don't have to work, cut grass, shovel snow or other unpleasant tasks. We let you and your tax dollars do that for us. Our only problem is that they never let us serve our complete sentences." He even refers to police transport to and from court as "chauffeurs" paid for by the government.

Of course, he fails to mention that the people in jail have no freedom to move about, visit their loved ones, or (for the most part) get treatment, training or financial support to keep them from ending up back in prison once they get out. Or that prisoners' rights are constantly being chipped away, as they also suffer beatings at the hands of brutal guards, or are set up to be beaten by other prisoners while guards turn the other way. Or that boneheads like him make life so miserable for ex-cons on the outside that they never get a chance to reintegrate into society.

But we guess we'd all like to live in jail given this cop's pretty picture of it.

Tired Protest Slogans

In May, Loren Christensen's opinion piece was titled "The Sixties live on in Portland." Here, LC berates activists who shout "Stop the senseless killing! -- Stop the bloodbath! -- Stop the rape of the land!", demeaning the causes by referring to these slogans as "their tired chorus of demands" and "their hastily drawn signs." He calls the protesters "shabbily dressed" and notes that they sing "We shall overcome" "ad nauseum."

He mentions the recent protests both for and against the U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia. He recalls that in the 60s, "the militant fresh air crowd protested against pollution-belching technology and established something called 'Earth Day,' a day we still celebrate in 1999. Today, their children tie themselves to trees and lie down in front of logging trucks."

He claims that the police were brought to be responsible in the public eye for "all that was wrong in the country," saying "it's happening again." He complains that the hundreds of protesters against the cops who shot Amadou Diallo 41 times in New York don't "protest against the rising number of assaults against police officers."

Advocating for Prisoners Makes Lawyers Money... Somehow...

In the July issue, Christensen tears into an advocacy group called Survivors Advocating For an Effective System (SAFES). He lists SAFES co-founder Michele Kohler as a guy, despite the fact that she is a female whose father was killed in a violent crime many years ago.

Christensen writes, "At first I thought they might be just another hand-wringing, let's-hold-a- candle-light-vigil group of sad faces." He notes that unlike Crime Victims United, who are pushing for get-tough laws, SAFES thinks the system "focuses 'too much on retribution rather than rehabilitation.' They are also opposing mandatory miniums and, of course, the death penalty." Then he reveals the main difference--that Kohler is--(sinister music please)--a defense attorney.

So, since "We've all seen defense attorneys pull every scummy trick in the book to keep their predator out of jail", he knows that SAFES is just "these defense attorneys, all wrapped up in a pretty acronym,... want[ing] people to let them speak for victims of crime."

It never really becomes clear just how defense attorneys plan to make money from this scheme, nor for that matter does Christensen recognize the possibility that defense attorneys involved may themselves have been the victims of violent crime.

Influencing Young Minds

In the July issue, guess who (editor Christensen) wrote a diatribe against professional wrestling, a career he admits to having dabbled in himself. His main point is "what is all this doing to young viewers?" He mentions that pay-per-view shows feature "mock crucifixions, S&M scenes, wrestlers mooning the audience, obscene finger gestures, and semi-clad women playing subservient roles to the men. On one show, there is even an African-American pimp parading his 'hos.'"

But Mommy, I Don't Want to Go to the Neighborhood Meetings

John Payne of the "ATTF" (Auto Theft Task Force) complains in May's Rap Sheet that going to community policing meetings should earn street officers more pay. He was once sent to a neighborhood meeting-- unprepared to be the main speaker! In addition to a half-page article, Payne was given considerable space in the letters section of the same issue of the Rap Sheet to say the same thing.

LC goes on to criticize the head of the World Wrestling Federation, Vince McMahon, for saying "You don't see guns, murder, knives. We resolve our differences physically in a wrestling ring. How bad is it compared to a Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie?"

LC asked a 10 year old what he liked best--the kid answered "how they all get hurt."

Now, let's apply this same criteria to all the cop novels LC reviews, cop movies, real-life and dramatic cop shows and movies, and think about how impressionable young cops and cop wannabes might be influenced. Not to mention that the Rap Sheet is available at the public library for our young ones to read freely. Thanks, LC.

  [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.

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