People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Quick Flashes PPR #70
During the protests following the election of Donald Trump in November, Portland Police used tear gas (for the first time), pepper spray, and other weapons against crowds who were mostly just expressing their First Amendment rights. This made international headlines-- here we've included an image from Reuters used by the UK Express on November 12. It would be interesting to look at Portland (and American) crowd control in terms of article 33 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits collective punishment including targeting people not guilty of crimes. Altough only a small number of people were causing property damage (see "Rapping Back"), police made over 100 arrests. The PPB and the District Attorney released a statement that they would "no- complaint" most of the charges, adding to the theory that officers arrest protestors to end demonstrations, but not to prosecute people engaged in criminal activity. After telling people to stop marching because it doesn't make a difference, Mayor Hales called a "March of Hope" for November 22. When organizers of Portland's Resistance, who put together many of the original events, announced a peaceful counter-protest would take place, Hales's officers arrested three of the group's leaders the night before, then he cancelled his march. The tally for police overtime on the protests was estimated at nearly $600,000 (Oregonian, November 30).
In addition to the $90,000 paid to teenager Thai Gurule for the beating he was subjected to by the Portland Police (article), the City settled a number of other claims recently.
On November 9, Sophia Holmes received $10,000 from City Council for having her car mistaken as stolen and stopped by PPB spike strips. Allegedly the "make, model and license plate number closely resembled a car on the 'hot sheet' of stolen vehicles." Perhaps the City convinced her it was an "honest mistake," but it was a fairly serious infliction of harm against someone who was not actually a criminal suspect.
Also on November 9, Jennifer Castro was awarded $13,000 because the police advised her to drive her "estranged husband" somewhere after she called for help, and the ex-husband assaulted her after the police left. A terrible story, but notably this is more about police inaction than improper action.
On November 23, Council awarded $18,000 to Tinca Stoica, who says police used excessive force and wrongfully arrested her in 2014. Court records show that a criminal trial determined police had no probable cause to arrest Stoica when they were looking for her husband.
So there's another $131,000 out of the City's self-insurance fund which is coming out of taxpayers' pockets and not the officers'.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.