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Rapping Back 24
Watching 'warriors' who wield weapons write warped words with weird worldviews
Portland Copwatch analyzes info in the Police "Union" Newsletter, the Rap Sheet

Family Values: "Over the last year we have faced a new chief, racial profiling, proposed changes to PIIAC, Centralgate and arbitrations, not to mention crime and our focused effort to make Portland a safe place for families."
--Portland Police Association (PPA_ President Robert King, in the Rap Sheet, the monthly publication of the PPA, March 2001.

DoubleThink DoubleSpeak on DoubleTime: Shooting Civilians Hurts Cops, Too

On-leave Captain CW Jensen found himself in hot water for statements he made in an Oregonian column about how police "rubber-stamp"shooting investigations (see PPR #23). Jensen wrote a lengthy letter to the March Rap Sheet to apologize to Portland's rank-and-file officers. "When I said that some shootings were 'rubber-stamped' I was referring to a small number of incidents that have not involved injury to others. I also discussed incidents where officers had properly used deadly force and were wrongly disciplined or threatened with discipline, forcing the PPA to spend a great deal of time and money exonerating those officers." Someone get this guy a shovel.

He then says the systemic flaws he described had to do with the inconsistent manner in which discipline is being imposed.

Jensen took full responsibility for his statements; it remains to be seen whether anyone buys his backpedaling.

Jensen currently serves on his neighborhood board in Northwest Portland.

Meanwhile, now that the police "Medal of Valor" ceremony has gone big-time (it was held in the Schnitzer Auditorium last year), the Rap Sheet took two pages in April to treat us to photos of the recipients. One is Kristopher Barber, who was at suspect James Lamberson's trailer in May 2000, and exchanged gunfire, "incapacitating" Lamberson (see PPR #21). Lamberson, who retreated inside his trailer, was reportedly found dead of a self-inflicted gun shot.

Mark Stevens, who, facing gunfire that wounded an officer on a domestic violence call in June 1999, gave "multiple rounds of cover that incapacitated the suspect." Suspect Raul Mora survived and surrendered (see PPR #18).

Finally, there is retired Officer Cheryl McGinley, who was apparently involved in an incident many years ago. McGinley and her partner were shot at by a man with a rifle. "McGinley fired her shotgun, fatally wounding the suspect."

Apparently the verbs "injure" and "kill" are not honorable enough to be part of the descriptions handed out with these medals.

"Whenever you are forced to use deadly force you experience vulnerability.... You have taken on this responsibility because you have resolved not to be killed and to do what it takes to protect yourself and enforce the rule of law."
--PPA President Robert King, Rap Sheet, March 2001.

The Eternal Affair Between Church and State

Sgt. Steve Morrow premiered his new column, "A word from Eternal Affairs," in March's issue of the Rap Sheet. The column is a blend of police pep-talk and Sunday Church sermon. He feels he has fulfilled his childhood dream by being a cop, which allows him to be "a politician and a minister, ...teacher, mentor, actor, and counselor." Actor? Maybe that's for undercover work, or perhaps he means in the courtroom.

"Over the past few years I have experienced countless incidents where I have felt God's hand tugging on my heart to be a better servant." Morrow calls on Jesus to help him keep church and state separate (though his column clearly shows that, at least in dealing with fellow officers, he's still wrestling with that one).

Interestingly, Morrow is now stationed in Internal Affairs. In his May column, he notes that his heart aches when a complainant presents "false accusations." His broad worldview is further exhibited in the March column as he describes his new understanding of the "physical and emotional pain and suffering [of officers] at the hands of others as well as a result of their own actions." No mention here of the people who suffer at the hands of the police, but perhaps God will sort them out later.

Morrow pledges to help his fellow officers by "weaving the themes, truths and words of wisdom from the true 'Manual of Rules and Procedures' into the fabric of our experience." In case you got lost on that reference, he then quotes three Bible passages.

In April's column, Morrow recalls playing Jesus in a play in the 70s, sporting a "reddish-brown 'Mod Squad' type hairstyle and beard." In uniform as a Sheriff's deputy, he was taken aback when a child observing him at a DUI stop said, "I know you, you're Jesus."

"Had I acted appropriately? Were my spoken words proper? Was my demeanor such that my family, friends, and most importantly, the person of Christ would have been proud to observe?...The person inside the 'uniform' represented all that is good, kind and caring in our world--a peacekeeper, a peacemaker, and a protector."

While it is good that Morrow is concerned about his behavior in front of the public, it is somewhat disturbing that everything must relate to his religion, rather than because it is the right thing to do.

He concludes with a mini-sermon, all in italics in the original Rap Sheet: "PONDER: Who stands on the 'sidewalks' of your life, gently whispering or frantically yelling 'I know you, I know you.' ... Are they seeing and hearing that which is worthy of respect and praise?"

In March's Rap Sheet, Officer Peter Simpson wrote a summary of a session about domestic terrorism led by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. It seems that Grossman described police as the sheepdogs who watch over the sheep (the general public) to protect them from the wolves (criminals). Simpson relates the analogy in terms of the Warner Brothers cartoons where the sheepdog and the wolf punch timecards at the beginning of the day and greet each other hello. By bringing up this image, Simpson implies that the police and the "criminals" are playing roles delegated to them by someone who pays both their salaries. This probably was unintentional, but it does raise a lot of questions.

Putting that aside, Simpson expresses his own contempt for the people, noting that the "sheep" do not trust the "sheepdog" until the wolf is about to attack, then they "hide in the sheepdog's shadows."

"The sheep always seem to have something to say: Sto-o-o-p police brutality, wh-o-o-o-o killed Dickie Dow, ra-a-a-a-a-cist pig, baa-baa-baa-baa. But the noble sheepdog doesn't concern himself with this incessant noise. The warrior sheepdog spends his time in the company of his fellow warriors, trading stories about battling the wolf." Remember folks, this guy has a badge and a gun!

"With 950 members, we are one of the largest labor unions in the state."
--PPA President Robert King, March Rap Sheet. (That is, not counting OEA, with about 45,000 members; OPEU, which has about 25,000; and AFSCME, with over 21,000. We're sure King regrets the error.)
  People's Police Report

August, 2001
Also in PPR #24

Police Shoot José Mejía In   Psychiatric Hospital
Police Go On Shooting Spree in   Early July
Review Board Overhauled
Profiling Proven by Statistics
May Day: Police Back Off
PIIAC's Last Stand: Old Review   Board Ends
Chief Kroeker, Repression & More
SERT Team Disbanded
Grand Jury Concerns
  • JTTF Own Worst Enemy
  • FBI Raids Activis Home
  • Dignity Village on Notice
  • Overtime Scandal Down 86%
  • Shooter Cop Gets Stress Pay
  • Chief Moose Supports Prostitution
  • Clackamas Sheriff Off Hook: Discrimination
  • Bend Cop Off Hook: Shooting
Quick Flashes
  • Sergeants Convicted in Beatings
  • Police Raid Three Homes
  • 3 Portland Beatings
  • PPB vs. Counterculture
  • County to Charge Inmates
  • Supreme Court: Thermal Image Unlawful
Washington County Sheriffs
  • Deputies Drop Knives
  • Tactical Team 'n' TNT
  • Pregnant Woman Escapes
  • Beavert on Cops Play Robbers
Letters to the PPR
Rapping Back #24

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 #24 Table of Contents
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