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Immigration: Sheriff Clears Self of Wrongdoing, Portland Police Put Hoods on Protestors

Some major stories surrounding the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) have popped up in the last few months, involving the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), and ICE itself.

On October 11, people protesting the detainment and deportation of immigrants linked arms and blocked the driveway for several hours at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Portland. Several protestors with the group End Deportations Now Collaboration used "sleeping dragons," a combination of different materials to lock arms together, which can make them extremely difficult and time consuming to remove. The PPB placed hoods over the activists' heads, reminiscent of Abu Ghraib prisoners who were tortured while wearing similar looking hoods. This move shows either a severe lack of awareness of how their actions look to the public‹ or an acute one. Granted, the police told the protestors they planned to use the hoods as protection from flying debris generated by power tools removing the sleeping dragons. But power tools were not used, and the hooding exercise was a huge publicity bungle for the police and a bump for the activists whose hooded photographs were made famous in multiple national news sources. The cops helped them achieve their goal of bringing attention to ICE abuses, police brutality, and the legal and civil rights struggles of immigrants.

Around the same time, findings were released about three MCSO deputies who were charged with violating county and state policy in the fall of 2016 through January 2017. The review was started in February after the Portland Tribune acquired documents and emails between the deputies and ICE agents (February 27). The deputies had used the Sheriff's offices and resources to assist ICE in locating three men suspected of being in the country without documentation for possible detainment and deportation. The men had been charged with crimes and were released pending trial. In October, the MCSO released a statement saying they cleared their deputies of violating policy. It explained: "The investigation revealed areas where policy direction was not clear, and members were conducting business within the parameters provided by a previous administration" under Sheriff Dan Staton, who resigned in August 2016 (Portland Mercury, October 20).

After the Tribune brought the breach to light, the Sheriff's Office updated and clarified their policy to prohibit the use of MCSO resources to assist ICE in enforcing federal immigration law. If ICE makes inquiries, deputies are not allowed to provide information or access to facilities beyond what's available to the general public. In addition, for a federal agency to request MCSO to detain a person, the agency must provide a criminal warrant signed by a judge. But since immigration offenses are civil, not criminal offenses, the Sheriff cannot hold suspects for ICE.

A few egregious mis-steps by ICE agents also made national news: they stopped a US citizen, confusing him for an undocumented immigrant they were seeking (Oregonian, September 21), and they pushed their way into a home where painters were working and one man correctly told them they had no right to enter the premises (KPTV-12, October 20). Both incidents were captured on video.

  People's Police Report

January, 2018
Also in PPR #73

PPB Shoots 3rd Young Black Man in 2017
  25 Oregon Deadly Force Incidents About Average
PPB Drops "Gang List", Releases Data
Sheriff Clears Self of Immigration Wrongdoing
DOJ Analyses: Lack of De-Escalation
Training Council: Force Data Missing
Oversight Body Challenges 2 Findings
Police Review Board Minimizes Force
Mayor Pushes Houseless from Downtown
Chief Outlaw Talks Frankly, Takes Heat
Campaign: Pull PPB from Terror Task Force
Protests: Resistance and Arrests
Crowd Policy Authorizes Violence
Quick Flashes PPR 73
  • Multnomah DA Phasing Out Grand Juries
  • Body Cams Don't Affect Cops' Behavior
  • Another Pervo-Cop
Rapping Back #73

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 #73 Table of Contents
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