People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
In addition to Officer George Holloway visiting a "vulnerable citizen" repeatedly and paying her so he could touch her (article), the Bureau rid itself of another "pervocop" when Officer Jeromie Palaoro was convicted for trying to coerce a domestic violence caller into sexual acts. Palaoro was found guilty of first-degree official misconduct in February for an incident in July 2015 when he came back to see the woman after attending to an emergency call about her boyrfiend injuring her. The woman, who was visiting Portland from Las Vegas, called herself a sex counselor. Nonetheless, it was inappropriate and criminal for Palaoro to return, "strip in her hotel room and ask for sexual favors" (KOIN-TV, February 12). Palaoro's texts showed he wanted to visit her after his shift ended, which didn't happen until after 3:30 AM because of the officer-involved shooting of David Ellis that happened that same morning (PPR #66). Palaoro pleaded guilty and, in addition to losing his certification as an officer, has to serve 18 months bench probation. Still no word on gender parity training for the PPB.
On April 1, the Citizens Crime Commission (CCC) and the Portland Police Foundation organized a $1000 per person fundraiser at the Bureau's training facility called "Meet the Heat." The promotional flyer promised lots of exciting action: "Emergency Vehicle Maneuvers, Firearms and Tasers, Realistic Scenarios, Defensive Tactics, the Special Emergency Reaction Team and K9 Unit!" There is no mention of community police relations, de-escalation, institutional racism or Crisis Intervention. The benefits of attending include an "associate membership" in the CCC and a badge. It's not clear whether that means a Portland Police Bureau badge, but it might-- the cops who were disciplined for posting "I Am Darren Wilson" could not be punished for misuse of a badge because the Bureau never copyrighted their badge (article). The NAACP's Portland Branch organized a protest early on the morning of the 5-hour event, in part to see who was paying $1000, in part to object to the message, and in part to object to private non-profits using public resources to raise money. NAACP President JoAnn Hardesty asked the City Attorney for a legal opinion and was told it was fine because only minimal City resources were being used. As Portland Copwatch put it in a Feb. 29 news release: "While the [CCC] talks about wanting to 'improve civility and strengthen [community],' the invitation-only event reads more like an invitation to fetishize [a] cops and robbers mentality."
Former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese was named executive director of the Citizens Crime Commission (CCC) in January. The CCC is an offshoot of the Portland Business Alliance.
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In 2012, Oregon State Police Lieutenant Rob Edwards attempted to pull over a speeding motorcycle near Eugene. When the rider came to a stop on an exit ramp, Edwards rear-ended the motorcycle with his unmarked Camaro, knocking Justin Wilkens over. Edwards came out of his car with gun drawn and commanded Wilkens to get on the ground. As the motorcyclist moved towards the ground, Edwards performed a high kick to Wilkens' upper chest, breaking his left clavicle and fracturing one rib. Edwards neglected to inform his supervisor of his use of force immediately following the incident.
Three and a half years later in Federal Court, a jury awarded Wilkens $181,000 in damages,
including $100,000 for pain and suffering and $50,000 in punitive damages. The State Police
appealed the finding, saying they were "disappointed with the (trial) outcome and feels the
actions of our troopers clearly did not violate established procedures or tactics. Officers have
milliseconds to make what may be life-or-death decisions and those officers should be shielded
from the liability of civil damages" (Eugene Register-Guard, January 15). Edwards has
since been promoted to captain.
Communities United Against Police Brutality, a copwatching organization in Minneapolis, MN, will
have a measure on the ballot in November to require officers to carry professional liability
insurance. This is a great idea because cops who cause the most harm would eventually become
uninsurable. Their campaign committee website is insurethepolice.org.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.