People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Police Review Board Report Reveals "Darren Wilson" Cops' Fates, Exposes Another "Pervocop"
The January 2016 Police Review Board (PRB) Report summarized 14 cases heard by the Bureau's internal group which recommends findings on officer misconduct, and possible discipline. Three cases regarding deadly force incidents are covered in our shootings article. Of the other 11, one of the most significant was about three officers who posted PPB badges on their Facebook pages with the message "I Am Darren Wilson" (PPR #64), one of whom left the force before being disciplined. Another officer committed sexual misconduct: Officer George Holloway resigned after being investigated for making sexual contact with a female repeatedly over the course of eight months and giving her money in return. A total of four of 13 officers facing discipline resigned or retired. There were also two incidents involving the use of force, but as is usually the case, no officer was found out of policy in those reviews.
The officers who posted to Facebook were Rich Storm, Kris Barber and Rob Blanck (Willamette Week, 11/24/14); Storm and Barber were given command counseling, Blanck retired rather than face the more serious discipline of time off. The Board proposed the Chief "Sustain" allegations of violating the Bureau's code of Conduct (Directive 310.00) because they "undermined preparations for a planned protest." Their use of PPB badges was not at issue because the Bureau never copyrighted the image, a strange logic since officers can be punished for using their badge in personal disputes. The PRB said the public concern caused by the posts over-rode the officers' First Amendment rights. In our analysis of the report, Portland Copwatch (PCW) noted that the Bureau ignored numerous officers who "liked" those Facebook pages, including Portland Officer Betsy Hornstein, who punched and kicked an unarmed African American teen at about the same time the posts appeared (PPR #65).
The investigation into Holloway (whose name was revealed in a January 20 Oregonlive article) turned up evidence of both the sexual contact and the money. Holloway also was found to have been untruthful when saying he was on his way to get a statement but instead stopped at the complainant's hotel. Once again, PCW urged the Bureau to train about sexism and power dynamics with the same energy they are putting into race and mental health issues. (Information on yet another "pervocop," here.)
The two force-related incidents involved a woman who was punched in the face and the eye, causing bleeding and bruising, and a person who was subject to a health care check, not an arrest, but was hit in the head by an officer. In the first case, four of seven board members voted to "Exonerate" the officer, but give him a debriefing. In the second, four of five members voted to "Exonerate" the cops for punching the person. There was a unanimous vote that there wasn't enough evidence to prove whether the force was an unreasonable way to "manage the confrontation," but the officer should be debriefed in this case as well. Sadly, the officer's supervisor had proposed to "Sustain" both of those findings. The cop was, however, found out of policy for not reporting his use of force immediately.
Other cases included a supervisor who accidentally fired a Taser into the floor and failed to report it
for four days (the supervisor retired before receiving two days' suspension), and an officer who
violated policy by taking photos of child victims of alleged sexual abuse (and resigned before being
suspended or fired).
The PRB continues to black out both the names and genders of the officers involved, even when those names have appeared in the media.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.