Chief Sizer Permanently Appointed; Foxworth Demoted for Rumor
New Chief Shows Promise, Keeps Foxworth in Command Position, Most Charges Dismissed

On June 22, Chief Rosie Sizer became the second woman named permanent head of the Portland Police Bureau. The announcement came after the final report from the Bureau of Human Services cleared former Chief Derrick Foxworth on all but one charge in relation to a series of emails and allegations released by PPB desk clerk Angela Oswalt (PPR #38). Mayor Tom Potter had considered a national search--a step the four other members of City Council, the Portland Police Association, the Oregonian and Portland Copwatch all agreed was not in the best interest of the community (perhaps a first). The last national search landed Chief Mark Kroeker in Portland, leading to four years of militarism and increased violence (December 1999-August 2003).

Regarding the change, we agree with the saying by Michael Zinzun, a former Black Panther and head of the Coalition Against Police Abuse in Los Angeles: "If you have a rickety old bus and change the driver, you still have a rickety old bus." In short, Foxworth was found guilty of "unprofessional conduct" for discussing his opinion that Kroeker and others in command were "covering their butts" in the SERT sexual misconduct scandal. In contrast, officers who confront unarmed people and kill (like Scott McCollister, who shot Kendra James) or torture (like Sean Macomber, who tasered Jahar Perez for three minutes) remain on the force. Despite these contrasting degrees of misconduct, the Oregonian insists that Foxworth deserved a harsher punishment than being demoted to Captain by the Mayor (editorial, June 22).

The good news is that Sizer, in addition to her positive attitude toward taking on racial profiling (see profiling article), told the police review board, "I believe in civilian oversight" when she visited their April meeting. She also placed Foxworth in charge of SE Precinct as its new Commander. She told reporters she wanted to give him a chance to "redeem himself without dividing the Bureau into a 'Derrick camp' and a 'Rosie camp'" (Oregonian, June 23).

In appointing her command staff (after hustling former Assistant Chiefs Grubbs and Ellmore to early retirements), Sizer tapped Vancouver Chief Brian Martinek (one of two deputies who showed how a paraplegic man supposedly hanged himself in a jail hospital bed in 1998--PPR #14), promoting Commanders Lynnae Berg of Tactical Operations (Chief for 5 months between Charles Moose and Kroeker) and Rod Beard of Detectives (IAD Captain for 8 months in 2005).

We're keeping open minds, remembering that as Commander, Sizer was reprimanded for failing to conduct an investigation into two off-duty officers who beat up a civilian in 2001 (PPR #31) and reportedly warned organizers of a peace march in 2004 that police would bring "the full meal deal" to their non-violent demonstration (meaning the Rapid Response Team, horses, empty buses for arrestees, and other oppressive, unnecessary measures).

There is still speculation about why Angela Oswalt brought forward accusations that Foxworth misused his position as Chief in their consensual sexual relationship. The program to keep police precincts open 24/7, which will mean change for Oswalt and her fellow desk clerks, hit a snag because many of the officers on disability being groomed for the jobs lost their state certification by being off the force for over five years (Oregonian, July 15). While it is possible to hire the officers as civilians, the City will lose the financial advantage of the police retirement/disability fund paying 75% of their salaries, and lead to additional resistance from the non-sworn employees union that backed Oswalt's claims against Foxworth.

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