People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Police Shootings Report Again Leaves Out Issues of Race, Civilian Oversight
Los-Angeles based consulting firm OIR Group released their third broad analysis of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) shootings and deaths in late November, covering nine incidents. Once again, the report contained useful recommendations which could both reduce PPB deadly force and increase accountability measures. However, it also repeats the flaw of skipping over the important issue of race as a factor, and all but ignores the concept of civilian oversight.
In 2010, OIR did an analysis focused on the 2006 in-custody death of James Chasse (PPR #51).
Roughly 25% of people involved in deadly force incidents in Portland are black. Particularly troubling is the story of Darris Johnson, a 26 year old who ran away from a 2011 traffic stop when officers wanted to cite him for failing wear a seatbelt in the back seat, then died after complaining repeatedly he was short of breath (PPR #54). OIR does not ask if the initial stop on a "Cadillac without tail lights" was racial profiling, or whether the cops would have cited a white passenger in the back seat. PCW brought up concerns about profiling stops leading to the deaths of James Jahar Perez (PPR #57) and Keaton Otis (PPR #60) in previous OIR reports.
OIR repeats a recommendation to abandon use of the "East County Major Crimes Team," where cops from nearby jurisdictions investigate shootings. The visiting detectives are behaving worse than the PPB by asking leading questions. But OIR doesn't suggest that a non-law-enforcement body replace the investigators. The "Independent" Police Review Division, which has been going to the scene of each incident and sitting in on investigations, is only mentioned once in the report.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.