People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Salem Gets Organized
In March, Salem residents staged a march from Willamette University to City Hall to complain about police misconduct. "Latinos, African-Americans and teenagers of all races charged that they're targeted unfairly by Salem police officers, especially for traffic stops" (Oregonian, March 16). Members of the Hispanic Leadership Group, Latinos Unidos Siempre, the Human Rights Commission, and the NAACP attended the forum, as did the Police Chief, and moderator JoAnn Bowman of Portland. While the Oregonian's report on the meeting clearly shows Chief Myers being defensive, it also states that the complaints were filed "politely" and predicts some changes in the way Salem police do business.
One outgrowth of this march was the formation of "100 Good People," a multiracial grassroots group which seeks to institute a police review board in Salem. Their mayor has promised that if they can get 1000 signatures asking for a review board and support from the neighborhood associations, he will put the issue before the City Council.
Copwatch was invited to speak to 100 Good People in late July. The Salem folks reported they had over 900 signatures. We were able to share some of the work we have been doing since 1992 on this issue, in what seems to be a productive act of networking.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.