People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Oversight Body's Annual Report Incomplete and Inaccurate, Creating Confusion and Mistrust
In May, the "Independent" Police Review (IPR) released its 2016 Annual Report, an earlier publication date than 2015's Report (which came out in July last year). The report includes a few new pieces of information about Use of Force and Discipline, but cut out important data such as most common allegations. Also, despite in theory being limited to the calendar year 2016, it includes data from 2017, causing confusion. In addition, IPR frequently seems to assume that state- sanctioned violence and other misconduct is reasonable because the police say so. The new Report also contains a number of inaccuracies and, as with the last three years, a lack of information needed to cross-check the Report's claims. A separate document was released with data tables.
Portland Copwatch (PCW) found the Report claims six Force allegations made in 2016 were "Sustained" (the officer was found out of policy), but the data tables show only one such finding out of 52 allegations investigated. IPR told PCW they included five findings that were made in 2017 in the narrative. Similarly, IPR reports on the number of people shot/shot at by Portland Police from January 2012 through March 2017 in its 2016 Report, including the shootings of Quanice Hayes and Don Perkins from February this year. We also were able to calculate that from 2002-2016, only 0.8% of all Force allegations were Sustained, a remarkably low number, and down from 0.84%.
IPR also continues its habit of misrepresenting how likely it is a person's complaint will be Sustained. They show that 13% of allegations were Sustained, which is 19 out of 144 investigated. However, since 1036 allegations came to IPR in 2016, the real figure is 1.8%. This means a complainant has a one in 50 chance of being affirmed, not a one in eight chance as IPR suggests. There are also inconsistencies, including how many "independent" investigations IPR opened in 2016 (which vary from 22 to 26 to 29), and inaccuracies, such as saying the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) "affirmed findings in three cases and challenged findings in four cases," when they actually challenged findings in six cases. CRC itself dropped one proposal after a "Conference Hearing" with the Chief, and the other was changed to a different outcome by City Council in February 2017 (PPR #71), admittedly outside the scope of the Report.
While some details are provided on data in the Report, many charts still show graphical representations without numbers included. Some graphics include four-, five-, six- or nine-year trends, some only compare 2016 to 2015, while others have no comparison points. Neither the Report nor the supplemental data provide insight into the most frequent allegations. Last year they were Failure to Act, Rudeness, Force and Inadequate Investigation. PCW has tracked these data for years, especially those three types vying for the number one spot, but cannot do so given IPR's meager new Report.
IPR notes an uptick in force complaints but attributes them to complaints from protests in September (not sure which) and October (when police attacked people protesting the Police Association's collective bargaining contract--PPR #70). It's not clear why they do not mention November, when major police violence took place at post-election demonstrations. PCW has noted that not all uses of force at protests are counted in the data (article). The IPR Report states that "when an officer pushes someone in a crowd control situation, such an action could be considered an appropriate crowd control technique as described in Police Bureau policies." In other words, they play fast and loose deciding what is force depending on the context. IPR's case summaries also show a predisposition for justifying the Bureau's conduct-- unless officers fail to write a report. In all, the Report only includes four case summaries, (and only one involved a Sustained finding), while the 2015 Report included 11 summaries and 2014's had 28.
To improve transparency, PCW examined and included summary information on all CRC hearings,
including vote tallies (information which used to appear in IPR's Reports), and Police Review Board
hearings in our analysis. As of August 24, the Report still has not been scheduled for a presentation
at City Council.
IPR Quarterly Reports Return
Starting in June, IPR resumed publishing quarterly reports, something they had not done since the fourth quarter of 2015 despite such reports being required by City Code. The Q1 2017 report says "IPR opened six cases as a result of citizen complaints connected to protests in January and February, [alleging] misconduct in officers' use of force (7 allegations), failure to follow procedure (2), and lack of courtesy (1)." It also notes that IPR's investigation into the Chief O'Dea off- duty shooting scandal and apparent cover-up (PPR #69) was completed (article), reported on City Council's vote about a CRC appeal (PPR #71), and that they dismissed 45 of 82 incoming complaints (55%, slightly higher than last year's 52%). In July, they released the Q2 report, which focuses a lot on IPR's outreach (including "community dialogues on police" in safe spaces with various ethnic communities) and reports a dismissal of 30 out of 86 complaints, only 35%.
See PCW's full 13-page analysis at portlandcopwatch.org/iprann ual2016analysis.html
Find IPR's reports at portlandoregon.gov/ipr/27068
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.