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Combating Racial Profiling: Police Bureau Begins Institutional Racism Training
Community/Police Relations Committee to Continue Work in Shadow of DOJ Agreement

While it has fallen short of expectations by stumbling slowly through the 2009 Plan to Address Racial Profiling, the Community/Police Relations Committee (CPRC) is finally launching a potentially systemic reform program: training for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) on institutional racism. CPRC revealed at its November and December meetings that the training, being developed for months, was tested on the Bureau's diversity committee for fine-tuning, then administered to the command staff-- first steps in what an expected five year effort to train every Portland cop. While imperfect, and mostly focused on how police relate to one another, the training could potentially wake officers up on how subconscious racism and the policies and institutions of the City (and the country) perpetuate the racial divide.

HRC members The City was prepared to throw the CPRC under the bus to create an oversight body for the Agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), mostly focused on how the PPB interacts with people who have mental illnesses (article). Ultimately, the Agreement was amended to affirm the CPRC's role in both implementing the Racial Profiling plan and analyzing traffic/pedestrian stop data.

In October, Chair Héctor López resigned and handed over leadership to Donita Fry

For some reason, the DOJ Agreement gives the Bureau until the end of 2013 to revise its data collection for assessing why Portland Police stop and search so many more African Americans than their white counterparts. The PPB supposedly changed its data system in April, 2011 to make such improvements. Apparently, the 2011 data have still not been released by the end of 2012 because extra work was required to figure out why so many entries lacked data on the race of the person stopped. This was already an issue in the 2010 data, which showed 29% of race as "unknown" (PPR #57).

The only other mentions of race in the Agreement are that semi-annual reports on use of force, including complaints, should include demographic data, and that the Community Oversight Advisory Board should use demographic data to tailor its outreach work. The DOJ's Letter of Findings called for the Bureau to track every citizen contact to build community trust, to use its Employee Information System to indentify officers who "engage in racially discriminatory policing," and to create a policy around going from "mere conversation" to a stop. None of those concepts made it to the final Agreement.

At September's meeting, Captain Parman invited CPRC members to sit on the new Training Advisory Council.

Interestingly, although Adrian Brown of the DOJ attended the October CPRC meeting, she never mentioned the possibility that the group would be dismantled under the then-unreleased Agreement. The CPRC's current composition has its flaws-- five Human Rights Commissioners, five community members, and five PPB officers have voting seats. However, that odd balance has gotten CPRC to the point where community members can state their concerns without the cops leaving the table, and the cops can express themselves honestly.

At the November meeting, Sgt. Anthony Passadore said that if he'd been in charge, he would have fired the DOJ investigators, claiming they never talked to officers, only read police reports. Passadore stated sarcastically that the DOJ's recommendation to use less force on people with mental illness is a "great idea," pointing to the existing mobile crisis unit and the screening out of inappropriate people to be trained on the AR-15 assault rifle as examples how the PPB already is making an effort. He feels the police are being "humiliated by the community" and told the story of how several officers were assaulted after not using upper levels of force in recent weeks, a meme being perpetuated by the Portland Police Association (see "Rapping Back") in response to the DOJ report. (He also talked about the injury to training officer Paul Meyer, who was struck by a tree while riding a police ATV; presumably Passadore knows that tree wasn't making a conscious decision to attack Meyer.)

  People's Police Report

January, 2013
Also in PPR #58

DOJ Finds Excessive Use of Force
  Against People With Mental Illness

Police Shoot Man After Crash,
  Otis' Dad Denied Appeal

Other Shootings in Oregon
Cops Pepper Spray Teens, Activists
Review Board Orders Investigation
PPB Begins Anti-Racism Training
Frashour Reinstated After Ruling
Report: The Cop Who "Biked" Me
Chief Proposes New Taser Policy
Sheriff Told: Stop ICE Holds
  • Sit/Lie Struggle Continues
  • Copwatch Attends Exclusion Zone Meeting
  • DOJ Supports Skewed Drig Program
  • Police Psychologist Still White, Suburban
  • Police Profile On Killingsworth
  • FBI Stings Continue
  • Supreme Court Upholds Right to Record Cops
  • Lawsuits Total $320K
Rapping Back #58

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 #58 Table of Contents
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