Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works


Site Navigation

About us
People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Cool links
Other Information
Contact info


Racial Profiling: Listening Sessions Prompt Council to Consider Oversight Panel

Racial Profiling: Listening Sessions Prompt Council to Consider Oversight Panel

On October 19, members of Oregon Action (OA) and the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center (NWCRC) presented the fruits of their five "listening sessions" on racial profiling held earlier in 2006 (PPR #39). Their 24-page report summarized the community's concerns that police were pulling people of color over in their vehicles and searching them more often than Caucasians. One of the report's six recommendations is the creation of an oversight committee to review profiling data for at least one year, made up of 21 community groups, police representatives, and others working in the criminal justice system.

The presentation also included a recommendation that the Bureau begin tracking repeat stops by individual officers to see if any police were disproportionately pulling over African American and Latino drivers. Chief Rosie Sizer's only disagreement with the report was this one point, for fear of exposing officers to criticism and scrutiny through public records requests. Otherwise, she essentially agreed with the other five points, including that the Bureau needs to come up with a plan by January 2007 to eliminate profiling, and to participate in more listening sessions.

While City Council was receptive to the presentation, they did not adopt the report. Although OA and NWCRC called for the oversight group to begin meeting in December, their timeline has been stalled by the Council's lack of action to back up their words. At PPR deadline, the group's composition and staffing were still being debated.

Interestingly, among dozens of community members who testified, none were opposed to the report's substance. At the end of the hearing, Robert King, President of the Portland Police Association, came up to testify, holding a defensive posture. Arms folded, head down, he did not even look at the Mayor as he asserted that the community's concern of over-representation by people of color in traffic stop and search data amounted to the police being called racists. King stated that the PPA did not participate as an organization since the premise of the sessions was that profiling exists. However, numerous officers chose to be part of the listening sessions--and one testified to Council about how good an experience he had. King went on to say that he felt that the police were not getting any support from the community, in direct contradiction to the fact that (a) community members had expressed their thanks to officers who had sat down to talk with them and (b) though the hearing came on the heels of the James Chasse, Jr. grand jury decision, only a few people raised the issue of the police's violence and history of shootings in their testimony.

Interestingly, King's report on this to the PPA membership in the November Rap Sheet was that he and Secretary-Treasurer Mitch Copp "expressed our concern about the report's conclusion."

On the day before the racial profiling hearing, City Council passed two resolutions. One called for a study about the creation of a new Human Rights/Human Relations Commission, which might eventually encompass the racial profiling oversight group. The other was in support of the immigrant and refugee community in Portland, validating their importance in the political process. In a forum leading up to that resolution, members of the Arab-American, Latino and Somali communities all reported police harassment as one of their main drawbacks to feeling fully welcome in the city.
  People's Police Report

January, 2007
Also in PPR #40

James Chasse Dies After
  Police Tackle Him

15 Police Bullets Kill Unarmed Man
Other Shootings: Portland Area/OR
Profiling Sessions Prompt Oversight
CRC Hears Appeal, Presentations
Chief Sizer, Death, Tattoos & PCW
  • Sheriff Giusto Under Fire
  • Ex-Deputy Imprisoned on Drug Charges
  • Sit/Lie Reborn (Again)
  • Second Hand Shops & the FBI
  • Mayfield Settles for $2 Million
Quick Flashes
  • Two Pervocops Plead Guilty
  • Two Shocking Taser Incidents
  • Car Chases: Resignation, Death
Rapping Back #40

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 #40 Table of Contents
Back to Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Back to top