People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Semi-annual Police Review Board Report Continues to Minimize Serious Force, More Cops Retire Facing Firing
While the publication of a Police Review Board (PRB) Report on November 29 technically met City Code's required two reports per year, these reports were previously published in January and July. The report was nearly five months late-- with no explanation. Except in the case of domestic violence, the PRB seems to minimize the seriousness of use of force on members of our community. The Bureau-managed body, which meets out of the public eye, considered 10 cases from February 2016 to June 2017. In three cases, the officers resigned, retired or were terminated, making eight miscreant officers gone in the last two reports* Perhaps the Portland Police Association's campaign to demand more officers (p. 12) could be mitigated if they could stop their members from ending their own careers by engaging in egregious misconduct.
In one case, an officer used a patrol car to knock a person off his bicycle, causing an injury. Board members questioned why it was categorized as deadly force. Portland Copwatch (PCW) notes had it been treated as a regular case, the civilian would have had the right to appeal the "In Policy" findings to the Citizen Review Committee. This is also true for Don Perkins, the man wounded by police bullets when he was suicidal in February (PPR #71). The PRB, as it usually does with shooting incidents, took the story of Officers Bradley Clark and Roger Walsh at face value and commended their actions rather than question whether Perkins reached for a gun.
Five cases involved use of force. One community case dates back to 2011, but took until late 2016 to reach the Board because the Bureau didn't send it back to Internal Affairs after a civil jury found officers used excessive force against Jason Cox (PPR #59). It is not clear why the "Not Sustained" (insufficent evidence) findings against Jeffrey Elias and Sarah Kelwin were not presented to the PRB-- if they found the force used by those two excessive (including Kelwin's use of a Taser), they might have changed the findings. The only officer facing scrutiny, Robert Bruders, was found out of policy for an unreasonable number of punches to Cox-- but he left the Bureau before the finding was rendered.
The other use of force cases had to do with a suspect who was kicked after falling down while wearing handcuffs, and a person hit with a Taser although they were not exhibiting "active aggression." The officer in the former case resigned before facing termination, while the second was only subjected to "Command Counseling" because the Board felt the case had "minimal impact" on the Bureau's public standing and the officer had a "record of positive work history."
A case in which an officer arrested a person for trespassing on public property (which the cop mistook for private property), came to the Board because the supervisor found no wrongdoing, but the "Independent" Police Review, Professional Standards AND an Assistant Chief all controverted the finding.
The two Bureau-only cases:^ -- a cop who loaded a weapon on the firing range, and the trainer who accidentally set it off when he was trying to disassemble the gun received a day off and a Letter of Reprimand, respectively.^ --yet another officer involved in a DUII. The officer may have been in the hospital when their supervisor visited-- it is not clear because the location is redacted. The DUII was the officer's second violation in seven years, which for some reason led a few Board members to go easy because the officer won awards and had no violations for "so long." The officer was given three weeks off without pay.
Two other civilian involved cases:^ --an officer assaulted a person in the cop's household, grabbed the person by the throat, and slapped them in the face. The officer admitted to using force but said the complainant "provoked" the violence. Although the PRB recommended termination, the officer retired.^ --an off duty officer engaged in sexual acts with someone who had come to a party at their house even though the person had consumed a lot of alcohol. That person complained they were not able to consent, went to the hospital and had a rape kit done. The Board voted 5-0 that there was insufficient evidence whether the sex was misconduct, but 4-1 that it was unprofessional. Chief Marshman apparently Sustained the first allegation and terminated the officer.
Find the report at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/poli ce/article/664673 and PCW's full analysis at http://portlandcopwatch.org/PRBanalys is1117.html.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.