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Slightly More Independent Police Review
Faces Staffing Issues
Citizen Committee Slowly Grinds Forward;
City Tries Changing Police Review Board

The current civilian-run oversight agency, the "Independent" Police Review (IPR), gained its independence from the elected City Auditor on July 1. While that change did not grant it powers to compel officer testimony, it may free the agency to be less over-cautious as has been the status quo under five Auditors since 2001. One reason for the change is the City's effort to create a new system (see oversight article in this issue), which led to difficulties for Auditor Mary Hull Caballero figuring out how to keep IPR staffed. So, she cut IPR loose (PPR #86). IPR has lost at least one investigator, its long-time outreach coordinator and Deputy Director Dana Walton Macauley in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, the volunteer community board known as the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) has only met twice since February-- at meetings in April and August. Meetings were canceled in May, June and July, except for a Crowd Control Work Group meeting in May at which [screen capture of CRC online meeting]Director Ross Caldwell and Macauley described issues investigating protest cases. While continuing to process complaints, IPR released a policy review and its Annual Report (see article in this issue). Meanwhile, a few weeks after City Council made adjustments to IPR's establishing code to remove references to the Auditor on May 11, they tried making more substantive changes to the Bureau- driven Police Review Board, but backed down to await public input.

The CRC had been scheduled to hear an appeal about a protest case in February. According to Caldwell, based on new evidence provided by the appellant's attorney, the case was sent back for more investigation, then closed without further appeal. It is not clear whether that means the officer was found out of policy or if the appellant and their lawyer gave up.

At the August meeting, CRC members were introduced to Ginger Ruddell, one of the several people appointed as alternate members in April, 2021. Ruddell replaced Shaina Pomerantz, who resigned after the April meeting (also PPR #86). They also got updates about IPR's independence from Caldwell, and the Police Accountability Commission from PAC co-chair Faythe Aiken.

At the Crowd Control meeting, IPR staff talked about how difficult it was to identify officers, both due to the number of agencies involved in policing the 2020 protests and because PPB officers stopped wearing nametags on their uniforms for most of the months-long demonstrations (PPR #83). For some reason, Walton Macauley felt compelled to state that after reviewing video of the incidents, she thought there needs to be a discussion with protestors about their behavior. In this sense, it's not a bad thing that she has left, since other than advising people of their rights, a police oversight body has no place in telling anyone other than law enforcement what they should or should not do.

On June 1, the City Attorney's office tried to change the rules for the Police Review Board (PRB), which is usually made up of three or four police personnel, an IPR staff person, a civilian picked from a pool of volunteers, and in serious cases, one CRC member. The proposal included making it so if a CRC member is not available, a PRB volunteer could take their place-- something that would be in violation of the US DOJ Settlement Agreement. Other changes would have allowed the PPB to stop investigating a case if an officer left the Bureau and allowed the civilian PPB employee in charge of the Board to facilitate meetings instead of a professional facilitator. Luckily, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was having none of it, pointing out that the changes were proposed by the police while dozens of changes sought by the community weren't even being considered. PCW weighed in against the changes as well. The City Attorney revised the ordinance on the spot to only change parts about the Auditor.*

The effects of the pandemic and the social justice protests may have led to some of these proposals. CRC members have not been able to attend police academy or ride-alongs due to COVID restrictions, though they were relieved of the requirement by Council in 2021. The City Attorney said they are having problems hiring PRB facilitators who are reluctant to work for the police, which is sort of a good sign.

*- and to take out gendered language.
Back to text.

Contact IPR at 503-823-0146
  [People's Police Report]

September, 2022
Also in PPR #87

Portland's New Gang Team Shoots at Three
  • Ongoing Trend of More Deadly Police Shootings in OR
DOJ Lambastes City for Failures to Comply
Dubious Ideas from Gang Team Advisory Group
Staff Leaving More Independent Police Review
  • IPR Annual Report Continues to Lack Adequate Info
Oversight Commission Begins Research Phase
Inhumanity Towards Portland's Houseless People
Sheriff: No Discipline for Offensive Coin
More Protest Violence Suits Cost City Big Bucks
Biased Force Use Ignored at Training Council
Quick Flashes PPR #87:
 • Suit for City Records Has Unintended Consequences
 • Ex-Cop Who Rammed Suspect Pleads Guilty
 • Forest Grove Cop Convicted for Vandalizing BLM Signs
 • PPB Traffic Stop Data: More People of Color Targeted
 • Bunch of Cops on "Brady List"
 • Copwatch Helps Thwart Scams by Transfer Officers
 • Keaton Otis Remembered, 12 Years Later

"Constitutional" Sheriffs: Troubling Trend
Police Ask Input: Crowd, Force, ID Policies
Rapping Back #87

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 #87 Table of Contents
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