People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
"Independent" Police Review Division Annual Report Shows Disinterest in Accountability
Except for two years when the "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR) did not release an annual report,* the 2014 report broke two records: latest report (released on November 12), and shortest report (just 15 pages). While many details were included in separate charts on IPR's website, the way the information is presented and the overall content reflect a system still biased in favor of police. Though the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asked IPR to produce the report no later than March 31, IPR missed that deadline by almost eight months, and included scant information about force and mental health issues-- the key elements of the DOJ's Settlement Agreement with the City. IPR didn't even mention the OIR Group's report on deadly force incidents, the Citizen Review Committee (CRC)'s proposals around Crowd Control, or even IPR's own analysis of the Bureau's interaction with the Hip Hop community (all in PPR #64).
In our analysis of the report, Portland Copwatch (PCW) found that as in the past, IPR failed to investigate racial profiling complaints and exaggerated the rates of "Sustained" (out of policy) findings, including Use of Force findings, even though they were at a new high this year. IPR states 66% of investigated cases ended with at least one allegation "Sustained," but only 42 of 789 allegations filed, or 5%, were sustained; this means community members have a one in twenty chance to have a complaint affirmed, not a two in three chance as IPR implies. Similarly, a complainant has only a 1 in 11 (9%) chance of having his/her complaint investigated, with 83% of cases dismissed or declined by IPR or Internal Affairs (IA). The number of Force complaints sustained was the highest ever-- four-- but the overall "sustain rate" of force allegations since 2002 is 0.84%.
IPR's reports continue to provide the number of officers disciplined without explaining what conduct led to the discipline, gloss over allegations raised in lawsuits against the police, and omit meaningful feedback gathered by their Outreach team.
We also found:
--The number of allegations of Use of Force are the lowest in IPR's history, but the 35 complaints still propelled Force to the top 5 complaints category;
--Only one of 27 allegations of Racial Profiling was investigated, and it was found in policy; the fate of an officer videotaped saying the "N" word in late 2013 (PPR #61) is not clear;
--Nearly as many officers' complaints (28) were investigated as civilians' (29), though officers made just 53 sets of allegations while civilians made 379;
--Only one of 28 cases summarized in the report included a "Sustained" finding;
--While 7% of all Portland Use of Force incidents in 2014 led to complaints, only 4% provoked complaints back in 2010;
--The report barely mentions IPR's Mediation program, including cutting out narratives such as those printed in the 2013 report;
--Non-disciplinary complaints added up to one in every seven complaints that came in the door; and
--Rudeness was the #1 complaint for the 12th of 13 years of IPR's existence.
Meanwhile, IPR's quarterly reports have been cut from four pages to one, giving information from the IPR Director, Outreach Coordinator, and CRC Chair just once a year rather than every three months.
* Reports for 2005 and 2006 were never released; then-IPR Director Leslie Stevens told PCW to see an annual report, we should staple the quarterly reports together.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.