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Updates People's Police Report #82

Second Round of Cuts to Police Budget Scuttled by Swing Vote on Council

image of Nov 5, 2020 Portland Tribune article Council votes 
against $18 million Portland Police Bureau cut. It's not clear why the Portland Tribune ran this 
photo of cops with kids in a store in its online story on budget cuts.Commissioner Dan Ryan was sworn in on September 10 after winning an August run-off election to finish the term of the late Nick Fish. Ryan was buoyed to success over his competition Loretta Smith by campaign statements about and an endorsement from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, indicating Ryan was committed to helping Hardesty move forward her work on police accountability. Hundreds of people weighed in at a late October Council meeting supporting Hardesty and Commissioner Eudaly's proposal to slash another $18 million from the budget, after the $15 million cut in June (PPR #81). However, Ryan, Commissioner Fritz and Mayor Ted Wheeler asked to wait a week for a budget impact analysis to support or refute the other members' claims that no officers would be cut with the new adjustment. Some questioned the delay, given that the PPB made a point that no sworn officers lost their jobs from the initial round of cuts, and in fact had 35 open positions as of mid-September (Portland Tribune, September 16). The Hardesty/Eudaly proposal included leaving those positions unfilled. But the City's budget officer warned any further cuts would involve laying off staff because the police were on track to overspend their overtime budget by $4 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year in just the first three months due to (our words, not the budget office) overpolicing protests (Willamette Week, November 3). Ultimately, the vote came out as 2-3 with Ryan, the swing vote tipping the scales.
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Former PPB Shooter Cop Fired as West Linn Chief

On December 4, the City of West Linn reported that they had fired Police Chief Terry Kruger due to his involvement in the racially charged arrest of Michael Fesser (PPR #80). While this doesn't serve as justice for when Kruger shot and killed Deontae Keller while he was a Portland Police officer in 1996 (PPR #9), it is certainly gratifying to see.
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Police Contract Talks Due to Restart in January

Regarding the Portland Police Association (PPA) contract, the one-year renewal passed by City Council in July (PPR #81) requires that negotiations begin again "no later than" January 13. It is likely this schedule will be complicated by a number of factors, including the pandemic and limits on in-person meetings combined with the agreed upon ground rule not to record the sessions. Also complicating things is the turnover on City Council, with Commissioner Chloe Eudaly having lost her seat to newcomer (and person who accepted a campaign contribution from the PPA) Mingus Mapps, Commissioner Amanda Fritz' retired seat going to Carmen Rubio, and Commissioner Dan Ryan voting against cuts to the police budget (see article this issue).

Given the importance of removing obstacles to accountability in light of the new oversight system passed by voters (see article this issue), Portland Copwatch sent a letter to City Council on November 10, a week after the election. We expressed our continued support for the two community letters put out in 2019 focusing on issues such as allowing civilian investigators to compel officer testimony and examine deadly force cases for misconduct (PPR #79). The PPA had filed a grievance against the City a few days earlier, as we wrote, "claiming that the new community oversight system for police-- which is not expected to be implemented until early 2022-- violates their right to bargain. We believe that the PPA has, for too long, hidden behind the legitimacy of rank-and-file workers everywhere to pretend that being allowed to harm and kill community members without repercussions is a bargainable issue. It should not be. No other workers have the authority to do what police can do in this society."

PCW joined over 30 groups in publishing a new letter about the contract on December 10, going into details about changes needed in the contract. PCW plans to track the new bargaining negotiations and keep the community informed.

More information: portlandcopwatch.org/ppa_contract_campaign2019.html.
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Copwatch: Lawsuits Total Nearly $16M in 28 Years; Hung Jury in 2016 PPA Contract Protest Lawsuit

In early September, anticipating City Council's adoption of a $975,000 settlement for the family of image the top 25 settlements paid due to Portland Police incidents 
totaling roughly $12 millionPortland Police Bureau (PPB) shooting victim Lane Martin (see article this issue), Portland Copwatch updated its "top 25 settlements" web page for the second time in 2020. At the time of the 2012 update, which captured the first 20 years since PCW was founded, the total amount paid out in settlements, judgments and jury awards for police misconduct was $10.8 million (PPR #56). The new total, eight years later, is roughly $15.9 million, with the top 25 recipients accounting for $11,992,510 of that, and another $3.9 million paid out to nearly 250 other people. The yearly average is now up from $500,000 to just about $600,000.

Meanwhile, as the wheels of justice grind slowly, it will be a while before we know the outcome of lawsuits from protestors based on PPB violence at this year's racial justice demonstrations (see article this issue). A woman who was pepper sprayed in the face during the October 2016 protest against the Portland Police Association contract renewal (PPR #70) finally had her day in court four years later. Unfortunately, a mistrial was declared due to a hung jury and Allyson Drozd will have to wait at least until January 4 to see if a different jury concludes that Sgt. Jeffrey McDaniel can be believed when he says he "faked" spraying Drozd in the face at the doorway of City Hall (Oregonian, October 11). Drozd reportedly won $40,000 from the County due to a Sheriff's Deputy also spraying her in the face on the same day.

Check out the "top 25 settlements": portlandcopwatch.org/top25settlements20.html.
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New "Brady Rule" Directive Among Policies for Public Review August-December

As we have done since 2014, Portland Copwatch continued to provide feedback to the Police Bureau on its Directives (policies) posted for review from late August until mid-December. Most of the Directives were repeat postings, usually with few if any of our comments incorporated. However, after over three years since the "Independent" Police Review called on them to create a policy on officers whose ability to testify is potentially compromised (aka the "Brady rule," named for a Supreme Court case about providing information that might help exonerate defendants-- PPR #72), the Bureau finally drafted the new policy in August, with no explanation for the delay.

August: Our concerns with the first draft of the "Brady rule" Directive mostly had to do with definitions, including whether or not officers who "use their position to sexually harass or assault women, engage in road rage and/or driving under the influence, and those who engage in violence whether on or off duty" would be put on the list.

September: In a revised policy about unarmed Public Safety Support (PSS) Specialists, the PPB listed eleven duties these new employees are able to address (also see article in this issue). Portland Copwatch once again asked for the PSS Specialists to have more training and authority, including about people in mental health crisis and de-escalation.

October: PCW weighed in on the "Critical Incident Altered Duty" policy, asking the PPB once more to include a definition of "critical incident" such as the one included by the Compliance Officer for the US Department of Justice Settlement Agreement in their October 2020 report. We also addressed the "Search, Seizures and Inventories" Directive, which was not changed despite having been posted a year earlier, repeating our previous comments encouraging the PPB to prohibit "stop and frisks," and advise people on their right to refuse to be searched. Our biggest concern about the Collision Review Board policy was that the Portland Police Association was granted a seat on the Board, a seeming conflict since they are also charged with defending officers against misconduct allegations after traffic accidents.

December: The Bureau more or less completely rewrote both the "Brady rule" and search Directives. The "Brady" changes markedly improved the policy by pointing out that the DA gets to decide what information has to be shared with the defense, so the PPB should report more rather than less. The search Directive includes provisions for officers to let people know they are allowed to refuse a search-- per our suggestion. The Bureau also posted four policies around the use of controlled substances; our most important comment was that when it comes to drug testing, officers should have to be tested after deadly force incidents.

Find the PPB Directives at https://portlandoregon.gov/police/29867.
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  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
 • Former PPB Shooter Cop Fired as West Linn Chief
 • 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
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