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Updates - PPR #70

PPB Sweeps Homeless People From Springwater Corridor

In the revived war against Portland's houseless population, Mayor Charlie Hales had swarms of Portland Police officers sweep through the Springwater Corridor in early September, as he'd threatened this summer (PPR #69), pushing out even those who were self-organizing to meet community concerns. Even PPB spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson acknowledged there was nowhere for people to go once the sweep was underway. Around the same time, Portland Copwatch walked a "beat" in inner Northeast/Southeast Portland, talking to many people camping on sidewalks and other open public spaces. Many had no real problems with the police (save for one or two officers they called out by name), but were concerned about neighbors who'd been kicking at their tents to wake them up and try to get them to move. It appears the PPB, using its claim of having too few officers (see every Rapping Back column for the last few years), asked residents to do their own legwork, which some took to the next level and began acting more or less as vigilantes. Many of the areas we visited had been posted with 24-hour notices of imminent sweeps, and, sure enough, within days most people were also pushed out of that area. We did directly witness one officer being kind to someone living in their truck, saying they could stay (despite technically being in violation of City Code) until the sweep. We returned to the same area in December and police had posted more notices, including one that was stapled to a tree.

Meanwhile, some NIMBYs on the inner east side won a court victory barring homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too from moving to land the City had been preparing. R2DToo's initial agreement to be away from W 4th and Burnside has been postponed until a new option can be found. On December 2, the landowner announced he planned to evict R2DToo sometime soon to meet "contractual obligations" (Mercury Blog, December 2). The proposed mass shelter at an unused industrial site approved by Council in August (also PPR #69) fell through in October. Winter is upon us and we hope the new Mayor will recognize there are not enough shelter spaces, affordable homes, or places for couples and people with pets to go, and direct officers to treat everyone humanely.
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Bureau's Policy Changes Trickle to a Standstill

At the November Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB) meeting, PPB employee Mary Claire Buckley berated the Board for making policy recommendations out of sync with when the Bureau finalizes their new Directives (article). The comment was not taken well by COAB, nor Portland Copwatch (PCW), since the PPB has been posting Directives for public comment monthly for over two years and both COAB and PCW were responding to their requests. The main difference is that PCW is relegated to the Bureau's 30 day response timeline while COAB sometimes takes months to make suggestions.

Acknowledging more pressing issues at the time, in October PCW responded to the first Directive posted since June, #1221.00 on Smart Phones. We recommended that in light of the ability of smart phones to record images, video and audio, the Bureau add a reminder on ORS 181.575, which prohibits collecting information on a person's affiliations without suspicion of criminal activity.

We did not comment on the not-too-important Directive 920.00 "Reports, Review and Deficiency" posted in November. Of 113 Directives sent out, PCW has commented on 87.
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Sheriff Reese Keeps Job, Elections to Resume in 2018

On election day, the voters of Multnomah County sent two messages: 7% of voters wrote in someone other than former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, and 74% of voters felt the position of Sheriff should continue to be elected. It's possible that many of the write-in votes were for Don't Shoot Portland founder Teressa Raiford, who mounted a last minute campaign after ballots went out. It's probable that the issue of whether to elect the Sheriff didn't involve broader discussions about the ultra-conservative movement which sees sheriffs as the highest elected officials in the land, or whether it would be easier to create a police accountability system in the County if the Commissioners directed their law enforcement branch rather than just setting its budget. Also, as noted in PPR #69, the last three Multnomah Sheriffs all resigned in disgrace, meaning the voters didn't get a chance to use the ballot box to replace them. The County's investigation into whether previous Sheriff Dan Staton violated administrative policies came to a halt when he resigned (Oregonian, August 17).

The "Constitutional Sheriffs" movement includes Sheriff Glenn Palmer of Grant County Oregon, who was a key player in the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in neighboring Harney County.

As Reese began his partial term, a number of articles speculating on his priorities, from whether he still allegedly believes in "low-impact" guidelines about homeless people-- not moving them around when there's no space in shelters (Portland Mercury, August 31), to issues around trainers using demeaning language about inmates (Portland Tribune, August 25), to an interview with Reese himself admitting there is implicit racial bias in the criminal justice system (Willamette Week, October 5). However, after the election Reese released an audit failing to address earlier findings that use of force in the jails is disproportionate for African American inmates (PPR #68), written by a former Florida cop who was himself under scrutiny for race-related civil rights abuses (Tribune, December 20). Another sign this may be a troubled tenure: on election day, a deputy in a marked Sheriff's vehicle drove slowly by election headquarters, using his PA system to urge people to vote for Donald Trump. An investigation is underway (Mercury Blog, November 8).
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Washington County Sheriff's Office Continues Troubling Behavior

We've written many times about accountability issues in the Washington County Sheriff's Office. In September, Deputy Brian Klostreich went to a civil dispute between a mother and her 14 year old daughter, and was caught on video telling the girl "You could be in the Middle East somewhere, having to wear a rag over your face, and you're scum." To his credit, Sheriff Pat Garrett admitted the officer was "inappropriate, insensitive [and] careless" (Oregonian, September 24). Also in September, Corporal Jon Christensen was sentenced for the crimes of official misconduct, coercion and strangulation in a 2015 incident in which he slammed a fellow deputy against a wall because she wanted to end their affair. Again to the WCSO's credit, they fired Christensen, and he gave up his police certification as part of a plea deal (Oregonian, September 7).
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Training Advisory Council Squanders Chance to Talk with Chief's Office

At the November meeting of the Training Advisory Council (TAC), Assistant Chief Mike Leloff appeared on behalf of Chief Marshman to answer questions about the Bureau's response to TAC's recommendations for the Training Division (PPR #69). But rather than look at their recommendations to end "us-versus-them" attitudes, improve force reporting, and change delivery methods, the Assistant Chief talked to them about recruitment efforts. Only TAC co-chair Sushanah Boston asked a question related to the proposals, which had to do with organizational change management-- and Training Captain Bob Day answered her instead of Leloff. Considering that both the Community Oversight Advisory Board (p. 1) and Citizen Review Committee (CRC) are still waiting for feedback on recommendations they've made, TAC should have made better use of the command staff's time.

A number of new TAC members were sworn in, but the November meeting didn't have a quorum in attendance.

They then set about brainstorming issues to look at regarding training sessions to be designed in 2017. Despite the meeting happening just days after the police attacked protestors with flash-bangs, teargas and other violence (and weeks after similar violence by police at City Hall), they refused PCW's suggestion to add crowd control to their list.

At their September meeting, they met with former TAC members and a few folks from other advisory bodies (including the CRC Vice Chair), but the exact content of what they said is not known as their recording device failed, no notes were taken, and nobody from PCW attended the meeting to give a first-hand account. This is not the first such instance of TAC failing to keep the community informed-- last year they failed to take notes at a non-public meeting with members of the Bureau. The new Force Inspector, Captain Mike Krantz, presented the first quarter 2016 Use of Force statistics-- seven months after they were released.
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Mohamud Loses Appeal; Second Man with Similar Name, "Terror" Crime May Be Deported

On December 5, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the motion filed by attorneys for Mohammed Osman Mohamud asking to overturn his 2013 conviction for (being coerced by FBI agents into) allegedly attempting to bomb Pioneer Courthouse Square due to illegal government spying (PPR #69). The three judge panel found that there were erroneous rulings made by the judge--for instance, letting FBI agents testify about another suspect-- and found the prosecution "quite aggressive at times," but upheld the conviction based on Mohamud's alleged "zeal" to set off the FBI's fake bomb (Oregonlive, December 5).

In researching the case, Portland Copwatch became aware of a second man, named Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, who was convicted on Nov. 18, 2013 of "conspiring and aiding and abetting to provide material support to terrorists.... and Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments." The second Mr. Mohamud's case was heard by the same Judge (Garr King). Judge King refused this Mr. Mohamud's request that he be allowed to attend drug treatment at Sheridan Federal prison, saying he had no jurisdiction over the obstacle in place. That obstacle: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning to deport the second Mr. Mohamud back to Somalia (from which the first Mr. Mohamud also hails) when his sentence ends in 2022.
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  People's Police Report

January, 2017
Also in PPR #70

Police Kill 1st Man in a Year;
  Former Chief Indicted

  Shootings in Other Oregon Jurisdictions
Bad Police Contract Rushed Into Place
Judge Seeks Fixed DOJ Oversight Body
Review Board Makes Recommendations
Proposed Oversight Changes in Works
Cop Complaints Sustained Over Civilians'
Profiling: "Gang" List, $90K Settlement
Updates PPR 70
  • Cops Sweep Houseless from Springwater
  Policy Changes at a Standstill
  Sheriff Reese Keeps Job Till 2018
  WashCo Sheriff Troubling Behavior
  Training Council Squanders Time with Chief
  Mohammed Loses Appeal
Quick Flashes PPR 70
  PPB Violence at Post-Election Protests
  City Pays Big Bucks for Misconduct
Rapping Back #70

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #70 Table of Contents
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