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Human Rights Commissioners Examine Immigration Issues,
Pass on Police Oversight

The Community and Police Relations Committee (CPRC) of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) continues to show occasional insight, while often overlooking issues such as racial profiling, that led to its creation (PPR #46). At their January meeting, there was an honest "light bulb going off over the head" moment. Officers, who had previously denied any involvement in immigration issues, realized that the families of undocumented suspects they arrest will blame them for their loved ones' deportation, even though it is the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office collaborating with Immigration officials who are directly responsible.

Meanwhile, the group heard about the strengthening of the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) at their March meeting, the day before the first Council hearing on the ordinance (see article this issue about IPR Reforms). Allowing Assistant Chief Martinek, who sits on the Committee, to express his concerns that the changes to IPR were unnecessary but the Bureau would do whatever Council tells them to, Chair Hector Lopez asked the group about the proposal going forward with Chief Sizer out of town. Despite the fact that Martinek had laid out the Bureau's position, the Committee had no discussion and took no input to counter the idea, Lopez got a consensus agreement to express concern about Sizer's absence.

The HRC had an emergency meeting to discuss the changes, on March 25, coming up with a bland statement about being glad the community was discussing the issue. Some questioned whether oversight of the police was a human rights issue within their purview. This is disappointing, as their mission is defined by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which grants people freedoms from oppression. Article 5, for example, states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Sgt. Anthony Passadore declared that the current oversight system works fine, based on his experience--not surprising, since Passadore was involved in the non-fatal shooting of Scott Suran in 2006 and so far as we know was not held accountable for it (PPR #40).

In February, the CPRC watched a video of Chief Sizer's news conference explaining the Aaron Campbell shooting (see article this issue), in which she spent more time talking about police accomplishments and needs than the fact that officers had shot an unarmed black man.

The April meeting included a presentation by Passadore that was intended to show how officers will reduce unnecessary searches, but seemed to encourage unnecessary stops.

[Note 2020: CPRC was disbanded in 2016; original text stated:
"The CPRC meets on the third Wednesday of each month at the Office of Human Relations."]

  People's Police Report

May, 2010
Also in PPR #50

"We Shot Another Unarmed Black Guy in the Back"
Shooting Leaves Homeless Man Dead
Review Board May Get Teeth-9 Years Later
Review Committee Finds Excessive Force by Frashour
Taser Ruling Should Raise Bar for Portland Cops
  Man with Disabilities Tasered by Transit Cops
Rights Commisison: Immigration Yes, Oversight No
Sheriff's Candidates Relate Positions
Legal Briefs: Self-Defense OK in Resist Arrest Cases
  Cops Weigh in on Legal Briefs
Updates PPR #50
  • Thinly Veiled New Sit/Lie Law
  • Convoluted Anti-Camping Rules

Quick Flashes #50
  • Two Portland Cops in Road Rage Incidents
  • Two Portlanders Roughed Up, Speak Out
  • Officer Uses Pepper Spray on Man Set Ablaze
  • Cops Crack Down on (Some) Alcohol Sales
Rapping Back #50

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 #50 Table of Contents
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