Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works


Site Navigation

About us
People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Cool links
Other Information
Contact info


Community Calls for Full Withdrawal From,
Expanded Report on Terror Task Force
Efforts Follow Feds' Use of JTTFs to Investigate Protest Organizers

Five organizers in the campaign to get Portland Police out of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) addressed City Council on October 7, hoping to end the current "case by case" cooperation allowed by a 2019 Council vote (PPR #78). Organizers also sent a letter signed by 16 groups to Governor Kate Brown calling for her to pull the Oregon State Police out of the JTTF. One impetus for the revived campaign: then-US Attorney General Bill Barr pledged to use the nation's JTTFs to investigate "organizers and instigators" as the Black Lives Matter uprising image of May 31, 2020 Attorney General Bill Barr quote: to 
identify criminal organizers and instigators... federal law enforcement is using our existing network 
of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces(JTTF).began in the spring. At Council, the presenters referenced a new letter, originally sent on September 8, which calls for full withdrawal of cooperation and a pledge to make the annual Report for 2020-- due in January--more thorough and transparent. The 2019 Report lacked details on cases the Portland Police referred to the FBI, and because of an arbitrary policy by Mayor Ted Wheeler, no public input was allowed at the hearing on that Report (PPR #80). The presenters also raised the use of federal law enforcement at protests and the deputization of some Portland Police in late September (see Protests article in this issue).

The speakers were representatives from Portland JACL (Japanese American Citizens League), Portland Democratic Socialists of America, Council on American Islamic Relations of Oregon and Ainsworth United Church of Christ, along with Brandon Mayfield, a survivor of illegal FBI spying (PPR #33). The local letter was signed by 32 organizations (including Portland Copwatch). It points out that the 2019 Report "showed that all cases referred by the FBI to PPB were of domestic threats by white people, that none of the closed cases resulted in criminal charges, and in the cases referred to the FBI by PPB, there was one Black man and the others were all white men." It also noted many of the federal agencies involved in the brutal crackdown on Portland protests also serve on the JTTF. Regardless, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who led the legislative effort to take two part-time officers out of the JTTF in 2019, questioned the need to further restrict cooperation. The rest of Council, including the recently-sworn-in Commissioner Dan Ryan, made no pledges to strengthen the new annual Report or to allow the public to testify.

One reason Hardesty cited for not wanting to strengthen the resolution is that the current language leaves it up to the Police Chief to decide whether to assist the FBI. She did not seem to connect that the current Chief agreed to allow over 50 officers to be deputized by the Federal Marshals without informing the Police Commissioner or Council. So for now, Portland Police can continue to cooperate with the FBI on cases which include a "threat to life, including hate crimes"-- potentially dozens per year. The Governor has not responded to the state letter, which was sent out on October 9. The campaign did get recognized on the Portland Mercury blog, which connected the uncertainty of the then-upcoming election, unease in the Muslim and immigrant communities, and the calls to get out of the JTTF (October 26).

In October, the city of Oakland, CA withdrew from their Joint Terrorism Task Force (San Jose Mercury News, October 21)

Read the letter to City Council: portlandcopwatch.org/EndCooperationWithJTTF2020.pdf.
Read the letter to the Governor: portlandcopwatch.org/jttf_stateletter2020.html.

  People's Police Report

January, 2021
Also in PPR #82

100+ Days of Protests and Police Violence
  Officer Indicted for On-Duty Assault with Vehicle
Portland Out of Compliance with DOJ Agreement
Oversight Board Continues; New System Voted In
No PPB Shootings but Two Incidents in Washington
  • State Deadly Force Incidents Pass Average Despite Pandemic
Outside Report Knocks '18 Shooting of Black Man
New Profililng Reports Show Same Disparities
Houseless Community Faces Winter, COVID, Sweeps
• Terror Task Force: Community Wants Full Withdrawal
Training Council Analyzes Use of Force
 • Second Round of Police Budget Cuts Scuttled
 • Police Contract Talks to Restart in January
 • Lawsuits Total Nearly $16 M in 28 Years
 • New "Brady Rule" Policy and Other Policies Posted
Rapping Back #82

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 #82 Table of Contents
Back to Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Back to top