Police Review Board Member Resigns
Mediation Report, Outreach Program
Reveal Continuing Influence of City & Staff
The case of the officer who threatened to kill a man has had rippling effects. One member of the
Citizen Review Committee (CRC) resigned in its wake, and it looks as if City Council may finally
get around to holding a public hearing about the "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR). The
IPR is the nine-person office which handles the City's misconduct complaints and supports the
nine-member volunteer CRC. Meanwhile, the board continues to lack independence as evidenced
by staff-influenced decision-making and city-oriented guest speakers.
At the end of the Committee's March 21 meeting, CRC member Gwenn Baldwin, originally
nominated by Mayor Katz and renewed on a recommendation from Erik Sten, resigned. She did not
explain her specific reasons for resigning, but cautioned the other members to focus more on
appeals hearings in the future. She also encouraged them to bring appeals as far as possible, an
apparent reference to the case of Marsha Anderson (#2005-x-0003, see PPR #37). The CRC
voted twice not to bring Anderson's complaint about an officer threatening to kill her ex-boyfriend
to City Council.
When Anderson's case came to the CRC back in December, Chief Foxworth had "Sustained" the
wrong allegation, focusing on the profanity in Detective Mike Malanaphy's admitted statement
("next time I see your ex-boyfriend, I'm just going to shoot the motherfucker") instead of the threat
itself. Rather than calling the Chief's attention to this error, IPR Director Leslie Stevens presented
the case to the CRC as though the Bureau had agreed with them "for a different reason."
Director Stevens told the Committee she would support their decision if they sent the case to
Council, but would provide her dissenting opinion if asked. The process of bringing an appeal to
City Council should be a CRC function, and the IPR Director should not be involved, nor should
the Council seek or receive the Director's opinion. By ordinance, the Director handles the case prior
to the appeal, the CRC handles the appeal.
At the February meeting, CRC members Marcella Red Thunder and Baldwin, responding to public
comment by Ms. Anderson, proposed that the case be re-opened. The discussion by the CRC did
not focus on the possibility that Foxworth was either confused (perhaps due to poor
communication from the IPR office) or deliberately avoiding the CRC's concerns. Instead, much of
the conversation raised the question of whether Foxworth's possible confusion was "new and
compelling information" as required by the protocols.
Ms. Anderson did not have access to the letters between the IPR and the Chief at December's
"conference hearing," and was unable to argue her case at that meeting.
But in February, Anderson did have the letters and brought them to the meeting. Deputy City
Attorney Linly Rees and Director Leslie Stevens discouraged raising this case again for a revote.
Their behavior is further evidence of the conflict of interest the IPR has in being charged both with
defending the City from legal challenges and seeking to hold police accountable. As a result of
Rees and Stevens' influence, the Committee voted against the motion to re-open the case 3-4.
Baldwin resigned the next month.
Coincidentally, the day following Baldwin's resignation, Anderson, Alejandro Queral of the NW
Constitutional Rights Center, and Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch had signed up on the City
Council "communications" agenda to discuss the case and its implications for the IPR. Anderson
said the IPR does not follow its own protocols--the CRC should have sent the case to City Council
once the Police Bureau refused to sustain the finding about the threat. Queral outlined ways in
which the IPR could become more independent, focusing on civilian investigators with the power to
compel officer testimony. Handelman tied the history of the IPR/CRC-- including their refusal to
hear the beating case of José Méjia in 2003, which led to the resignation of 5 members (PPR
#30)--to this case and mentioned Baldwin's resignation.
Commissioner Leonard seemed genuinely shocked to hear this news. Commissioner Sten stated
that Ms. Baldwin had informed him she was intending to resign. He told the Portland Mercury,
"Someone of her caliber stepping down makes it crystal clear we've got to go in and look at this
thing... I think we need to have a real public look at what's working and not working" (March 30).
When the IPR was adopted in 2001, Council promised the community a public review of the
system "in one year." Now, five years later, Commissioner Adams' office has been sitting on
$60,000 to conduct a professional review since June, 2005. Portland Copwatch has urged the
Council to hold a public hearing for community input on the IPR--which would cost nothing.
IPR Deliberately Withheld Case from the CRC
At the March CRC meeting, three members presented a report about the IPR's mediation program.
In an oral update to their written report, the CRC revealed that the one case in which a complainant
filed an appeal but was sent to mediation was re-routed under pressure from then-IPR Director
Richard Rosenthal. Apparently, Rosenthal noted that one reason it was preferable to send the case
to mediation was to keep it from being heard by the CRC and thus avoid the potential for the CRC
to change the findings.
The fact that this happened, and was documented, supports the concerns that Portland Copwatch
expressed at the time the case was taken behind closed doors: (1) appeals should all be immediately
scheduled before the CRC, (2) currently, appeals can only happen on cases which have been
investigated, and investigations, we are told, take up a lot of scarce City resources; (3) the idea of
holding a mediation after such an investigation seems contrary to the purpose of the IPR, which is
to have an open, transparent, and user-friendly system for resolving cases of possible police
misconduct; (4) by offering mediation at this stage, the IPR allows the officer to avoid disciplinary
tools and have the case all but erased from his or her record; and (5) the IPR Director scheduled a
mediation in lieu of appeal before the process had been described in any protocol or the ordinance,
and before the CRC had a chance to discuss the idea.
We'd really like to learn the allegations by the complainant in this particular case that led Director
Rosenthal to fear it being heard publicly.
Guest Speakers Ignoring Review Board's Mission;
As with the first "outreach meeting" guest speaker, Roy Jay (PPR #37), the speakers at the
January and March CRC meetings spoke about community issues but were not there to address the
IPR's mission of police accountability.
"Community Advisory Council" to Meet
In January, the guests at the North Portland Community center were Officers Jason Christensen
and Eric Zajac, who gave presentations about how they work with citizens on crime issues. In 2004,
Officer Zajac Tasered 71-year-old Eunice Crowder in the incident during which her glass eye
popped out (PPR #33), though this was never mentioned at the meeting.
Their Lieutenant, Phil Barker (previously a Sergeant at the Internal Affairs Division [IAD]) related a
few stories about North Precinct cases that had been reviewed by the IPR. Interestingly, his stories
were about a noise issue handled by a supervisor talking to an officer; a presumably successful
mediation; and a mediation in which the complainant didn't show up so the officer was given a
commendation by the IPR.
The March guest at the Port of Portland Building in NW Portland was Samantha Kennedy of the
ACCESS Street Intervention Program, an outreach program for homeless people funded in part by
the City and in part by the Police Bureau
. Kennedy talked about hooking up
people with housing and helping them deal with chronic arrest records, but not about police
misconduct. In fact, when asked, she stated that none of the people she works with has ever
complained about being mistreated. In general, she had nothing but praise for officers, singling out
the well-meaning-but-bad-for-poor-people Officer Jeff Myers (PPR #s 31 & 37): "We
collaborate every day." Myers has taken actions such as shutting down parks, fencing off potential
camping areas and keeping secret lists of repeat offenders. The disconnect between programs the
City thinks will make things better and what people really need is disturbing. Having it reinforced
without any grassroots perspective to balance the presentation shows that the IPR has a long way to
go to be in touch with the communities it serves.
Rather than continuing to bring in what the IPR thinks are examples of community policing, the
CRC should be inviting groups such as the ACLU, JOIN, the National Lawyers Guild, the public
defenders' offices and others who deal with misconduct and civil rights/civil liberties issues on a
On that note, the CRC's "Community Advisory Council," which in theory is made up of community
organizational representa-tives who will act as a conduit to and from the IPR with information, is set
to have its first meeting on April 25, as the PPR is going to press. Look for a report in our
next issue or via email.
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Only One New Case Heard; Second Heard Informally
The CRC has only heard one new appeal since December, and one other which was not brought to
them as a formal appeal.
The formal case, heard as a pre-hearing at the April meeting, involved a man who says he was
slammed against a fence and down on the sidewalk, cracking his head open. The police officers
claim they "fell" or "leaned" against the fence and that the injuries were not serious. In a unanimous
vote, the CRC sent the case back to Internal Affairs for further investigation, since one witness had
not been interviewed and the man's medical information had not been available.
At the January public outreach meeting, Mr. George Sullivan told the CRC that he had been
brought into Detox when he was not drunk. The IPR had dismissed the case based on a police
report and Detox information that Sullivan had not seen. Because it is a financial hardship for
civilians to read their own police reports (they currently cost $10 plus), and most people do not
know how to access such reports, they should be made available in the IPR office for reading.
Part of Sullivan's complaint was being subjected to detention by police for "flunking the attitude
test," an allegation which the IPR and CRC dismissed as never happening in a 2003 report on the
subject of Detox (PPR #30). Unfortunately, rather than vote to suspend the rules in order to
consider a case that had been dismissed (as was allowed when the CRC was first created), the
committee advised Sullivan to address his complaint to the County and to Detox.
Other IPR/CRC News:
--Leading Questions Resurface
In a discussion about Internal Affairs, CRC member Red Thunder revealed that there seems to be a
recurrence of leading questions by IAD investigators, that is, yes/no questions and not open ended
ones. This problem was identified way back in a 1993 audit of IAD (then called IID).
--New PARC Report
The Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) is scheduled to be in Portland at the end of April
to begin its next report, which will cover police shootings and deaths in custody between January
2002 and October 2003. It's unclear why the report stops before the December, 2003 shooting
death of Shane Clements (PPR #32).
For a list of other incidents, see
--New CRC Members In, New Vice Chair Elected
In February, without any public announcement (or even word to current CRC members!) the
Auditor presented to City Council nominees for two open seats and three returning members.
Filling the new seats are Theresa Keeney, a Native American woman taking criminal justice classes
at PSU, and Irene "Remi" Ogouma, originally from Benin with a background as a management
consultant with the United Nations.
At the March CRC meeting, Chair Hank Miggins was reelected (unopposed) and member Mike
Bigham became Vice Chair.
--New Intake Staffer Previously Lost Column in Police "Union" Paper for Religious Views
Retired IAD Sgt. Steve Morrow is now the third intake investigator at IPR. Morrow was at the
scene of the Stephen Dons incident, in which a botched drug raid led to Dons' paralyzation, the
death of one officer and the wounding of another. More infamously, Morrow wrote a column in the
Portland Police Association's newsletter (the Rap Sheet) called "Eternal Affairs" (see
PPRs #24, 25 & 29). The column generated complaints for its overt religious content; the
Rap Sheet pulled his column the last two months before Morrow retired in March, 2003.
--Community Members Recommend Charter Change to Make Review Board Independent
In February, Portland Copwatch visited the Charter Review Commission along with members of the
League of Women Voters, the NW Constitutional Rights Center, and the Albina Ministerial
Alliance to ask them to look at a charter change to make the IPR more independent. Such a change
should look at the conflict of interest the City Attorney has advising the review board on the one
hand and defending the City against lawsuits on the other. The Commission was appointed by
Mayor Potter in November to look at proposing changes to the City Charter on the November,
--IPR Releases Second Quarterly "Report"
The IPR's second "Quarterly Report," aka newsletter, came out in March. There is quite a bit of
space taken up announcing police and other unrelated activities, although it does show statistics
from the IPR in July-Sept 2005. As with the fall Quarterly Report, examples of complaints do not
include information on the outcome of the investigations.
Check for the newsletter at www.portlandonline.com/audit