Rapping Back #37
Portland Copwatch member Dan Handelman analyzes
Portland's Po-Po Poo-Poo People Power
Why I Come to Work #1-It's Fun Officer Jim Gaither describes a typical day, where the first thing he does after roll call is to go out and buy coffee; he then participates in chasing a suspect who jumps 20 feet into a river and is ultimately captured by a canine unit. Writes Gaither, "Why do I come to work? For the fun, excitement and thrill of it." Serving the community/public good, that's not on the list (Rap Sheet Sept. 05).
Casting Aspersions on Critics of Drunken Gropers Who Intimidate SuspectsSgt. Christopher Davis writes about "reckless journalism by Willamette Week's Nick Budnick" in the September Rap Sheet. On June 29, Budnick did an article profiling four officers who have multiple lawsuits and complaints against them (Officers Jason Lobaugh, Christopher LaFrenz, Joseph Hanousek, and David Golliday). Davis only focuses on Golliday, who won a "Medal of Valor" for going into a burning building and saving three people. Golliday was a Sergeant in the Transit police and "ran numerous drug and prostitution missions." He's a "hard worker" and a "leader."
But Davis must have forgotten to mention that Golliday allegedly (a) grabbed at women, swore at a deputy district attorney and bragged of killing a man in Detroit while drunk at an off-duty party (causing him to be demoted from Sergeant), (b) took a suspect to the Lloyd Center garage instead of to a precinct and roughed him up because he failed to "talk to us with some respect."
Depite these details, Davis states that "Mr. Budnick should be ashamed of himself...he has defamed a good officer and decent human being who, although he has made a mistake in the past (and who among us hasn't?) is, on balance, a great asset to the Police Bureau, and the City of Portland." Davis speaks from experience--he was one of the officers involved in shooting José Mejía Poot in 2001.
Why I Come to Work #2-We're Victims Retired Capt. Jim Harvey criticizes a California NAACP chapter head, Alice Huffman, who said "communities of color are fed up with the continuous killings and beatings of youth and law-abiding citizens" when officers "see black, think criminal." Harvey accuses her of stereotyping and profiling police with a "'see cop, think racist' mentality." Because of this stereotyping, he says, cops are victims and should be afforded special protection. "In four decades, anti-police prejudice has developed increased sophistication--from simple suspicion and hatred to paranoid accusations of 'racial profiling'" (Rap Sheet Sept. 05).
Hilarious Commentary from "Electric" OfficerSean Macomber, who tasered the dying body of James Jahar Perez for three minutes (PPR #33), submitted a humorous story about an officer who was overcome by two German Shepherds on the loose (October Rap Sheet). "Except for the heroic actions of one cowboy cop, the two would have rode off into the night with a police car and commenced a crime spree not seen since the days of Bonnie and Clyde." The officer opened his driver's door in order to guide the dogs into the back seat of his car, and they jumped across his lap into the front seat. "There was a blur of blue seen leaving the patrol car," writes Macomber, who certainly would have showed those dogs a what-for (maybe by Tasering them repeatedly). The dogs activated the light bar and the officer leaned in to grab his cell phone. Had the dogs suspected he was going for his gun (as Macomber and Sery thought Perez's cell phone was a gun), who knows if the officer would have survived?
Angry Cop Opposes Changes in TrainingDet. Malanaphy (see p. 2 for details on a case where he was found guilty of misconduct) writes to complain about a Sept. 7 article by Maxine Bernstein in the Oregonian (Rap Sheet, Oct. 05). Her article referred to the 2005 PARC report's revelation that the idea of training officers not to climb into cars to remove suspects was sidelined in 2001, though such training may have saved the lives of Kendra James and James Jahar Perez. Malanaphy (who we previously documented slamming "bigophobes," or people who think the system is racist because they hate racists-PPR #35) says "The only real 'community' concern over the Perez and James shootings was their skin color," emphasizing that both were found to have used cocaine.
He claims the training for officers to extract "uncooperative subjects from cars all involve going into the car." This claim was contradicted in Chief Kroeker's discipline letter in the James case: "While Bureau policy and training do not explicitly prohibit entering an occupied vehicle to remove a combative subject, officers are trained to evaluate all other options before subjecting themselves to the inherent risks of doing so." Malanphy also incorrectly states that Oregon law defines a car as a deadly weapon (ORS 161.015  reads "'Deadly weapon' means any instrument, article or substance specifically designed for and presently capable of causing death or serious physical injury"). He speculates that it's a trade-off of the risk of entering the car or letting an "angry or sociopathic person" drive away.
The PARC report recommends revising the training on extracting suspects from vehicles (see p. 6). Malanaphy slams the suggestion as hindsight, particularly their call to have more than one officer and a supervisor on the scene for extracting suspects. He says there were multiple cops at both shootings, "Tasers [were used] to no effect" (except James likely didn't get hit with both probes and Perez was Tasered after he was shot), and that pepper spray failed to control James (except Officer McCollister failed to actually press the button that would release the spray). He criticizes the Bureau for not emphasizing the fact that less lethal efforts were attempted, and the Oregonian for failing to "confront critics like JoAnn Bowman, the Reverend Roy Tate, or Dan Handelman with the reality of those choices. ... Mere contrariness is not the same as credibility."
Malanaphy tops himself by then asking why, after learning half of the police who are shot are responding to domestic violence situations, "no one recommends not responding to them." He also says 1/3 are shot by their own gun or their partners', which is the best reason not to climb into a car--but because PARC didn't cite that statistic, he rejects their recommendation.
Finally, he raises the Police Association's tired and empty argument that nobody has said what Officer McCollister did wrong when he was "suspended for 5-1/2 months in addition to being vilified as a racist and a murderer by the usual suspects." However, Chief Kroeker explicitly wrote in McCollister's discipline letter about his leaning too far into the car, failing to use pepper spray, not adapting when his efforts to extract James failed, and pulling his weapon out instead of getting out of the car. Maybe to the rank-and-file, those actions don't count as wrongdoing.
Why I Come to Work #3-I'm Paid to Do What I'd Do Anyway Officer Mike Stradley (describing an August 14 Central Precinct open house where cops rappelled off the roof of the Justice Center) quotes retiring traffic officer Rick Olsen: "The city pays me to ride around on a motorcycle and make new friends every day!" Olsen "enjoyed the freedom of not having the radio dictate where he went and what he did" (Rap Sheet, Oct. 05).
The December Rap Sheet featured PPA President Robert King defending police against accusations of allowing fraud at second hand stores (see article). He wonders if the FBI investigating is in retaliation for Portland pulling its police from the Joint Terrorism Task Force in May, 2005. He then disproves his argument by complaining the FBI "spent four years working on the case without involving us."
Also in December, Rap Sheet editor Detective Peter Simpson encouraged PPA members to
suggest their new union contract require Internal Affairs complaints to be dropped if they are not
completed in 180 days (based on Seattle's contract). We suggest instead that a complaint be
automatically sustained if it takes that long. Our proposal will probably motivate officers to work
faster to resolve complaints.
While the Portland Police Association does not set policy, since some PPA leadership and officers express such negative attitudes toward citizens and civilian oversight in their newspaper, these ideas may spread throughout Portland's rank-and- file.
The Rap Sheet is available from the Portland Police Association, 1313 NW 19th,
Portland, OR 97209.
People's Police Report
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