Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works]


Site Navigation

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


Judge Continues to Push City on Reforms;
Soon-to-Be- Replaced Compliance Officer OK's Untested Plan
Community Committee Challenges New Technology, Stalled Reconciliation Project

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City were back before federal Judge Michael Simon for the fourth time in a year to report on the progress of reforms Portland promised to enact to rectify its pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing. The February 28 hearing mostly focused on body cameras (see Updates articles in this issue), the question of whether a Court Monitor should succeed the outgoing Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL) when he retires in June (PPR #88), and the investigation into biased training slides on crowd control (PPR #86). Shortly before the [Oregonian article, March 10th]hearing, the COCL released its third quarter 2022 report, finding the City made progress toward full compliance with the DOJ Settlement Agreement, but in some cases declaring victory before the remedies have taken hold. Significantly, they said Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee (BHUAC)'s plan to hear statistics about force against people in mental health crisis and details of deadly force cases was in "Substantial Compliance," though the first presentation wasn't due until March. Meanwhile, the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing held a forum on gun detection technology (also see article in this issue) and expressed anger and frustration about how the City handled their recommendation for a Truth and Reconciliation process.

A Court is a Court of Course of Course

At the last court hearing in November, Judge Simon expressed extreme impatience at the City for not having the body camera issue resolved, the training slide investigation completed and more. Days before the new hearing, the City got its homework in just under the deadline, announcing that Sgt. Jeff McDaniel was going to be disciplined for allowing the slide show to be created (see Updates article in this issue) and that they had reached an impasse on the cameras. This means they will be headed into arbitration with the Portland Police Association (PPA), where a decision in favor of the police "union" could set up a legal battle extending beyond Simon's courtroom. The discussion of a court appointed Monitor to replace the COCL is mostly happening in closed-door mediations between the City and the DOJ, but it sounds more likely than not that plan will be enacted.

Side note: Because the COCL's last official day will be June 30, and the plan for the monitor, much less the hiring of one, will not be in place until well after that, on March 1, City Council snuck an item on their "Consent Agenda" to bypass the Agreement's process for hiring a COCL. Portland Copwatch (PCW) had the item pulled for discussion. Basically, the City will be soliciting resumes from people who would be willing to take on the task of analyzing Bureau data and comparing their actions to what's promised in the Agreement, but for an unknown period of time between June and when the Monitor is in place.

One other topic that came up, but which was deferred by Simon, was that his approval of amendments to the Agreement in April 2022 gave the Police Accountability Commission eighteen months after that time to finish planning Portland's new oversight system, but the City wanted them to finish in less than 14 months (June 9). Despite testimony from PAC members Aje Amaechi and Debbie Aiona, the judge merely asked that the parties work out this issue. City Attorney Robert Taylor said the earlier deadline was being used to get the PAC to speed up its work, ignoring the human toll the pace is taking on the membership. The deadline was moved on March 22 (see PAC article in this issue).

Another proposed DOJ remedy is to have a civilian dean to oversee the Training Division. The original candidate, a 19 year veteran of the LAPD, was rejected after community members found their biased social media posts (PPR #87). Apparently there are three finalists for the job who will soon be introduced to the community before one is hired.

As usual, several members of PCW testified about the issues, producing no feedback from the judge or the parties. The case is set to return to court on July 6.

Compliance Shmompliance

The Q3 Compliance Officer's Report says there are 21 paragraphs still in "Partial Compliance." A lot of this is due to the delay in an independent assessment of how the PPB responded to the 2020 racial justice uprising (with over 6000 uses of force--PPR #84), which was supposed to be completed in January. It is still not done. Until they have that assessment, the Bureau cannot finalize its training or policies around crowd control, nor fully update its Employee Information System tracking officer use of force. This last item is likely a lost cause since the incidents in question are nearly three years old.

At a public forum on the Report hosted by PCCEP, the COCL admitted that despite knowing there were four uses of deadly force in Q3 2022, they had not heard that the police stopped releasing officer names between then and the end of Q4, nor the Chief's controversial (and unilateral) decision to delay future releases for 15 days rather than 24 hours (PPR #88). This is just another example of why the people doing these reviews should be based in Portland.

To their credit, the COCL continues to push the Bureau to change their policies using their stops data, which show disparate treatment of Black Portlanders (see TAC article in this issue). They also expressed concern that equity training for officers revealed "problematic thinking" about racial bias, ableism and white supremacist ideology.

On the other hand, the COCL gave full compliance to the City for getting the PCCEP back to its full membership of 13 people, even though three new members resigned within their first five months and a fourth's term expired before the Report was published. Council filled just two of the four empty seats at a hearing on Feb. 15.

A draft Report on Q4 released in April shows Police Review Boards are no longer in compliance due to poor presentation of the facts in misconduct cases, and the database tracking PPB training is out of date.

Hootin' and a'Hollerin': PCCEP's Rowdy Meetings

Though some of PCCEP's strongest police critics left the group in 2021, the new batch of members is showing that they understand building trust with the community doesn't mean following the PPB's line of thinking without question. The Committee's March 1 community forum on gunshot [screenshot from March 15th PCCEP meeting via 
YouTube]detection technology began with presentations from Amaechi (in their role as a community organizer) and Amanda Lamb, a former City employee who co-authored a report on the tech for the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC). Not a single person testified in favor of putting up microphones in neighborhoods prone to gun violence.

At their March 15 general meeting, PCCEP pressed Mayoral aide Stephanie Howard about a media report regarding the Truth and Reconciliation process, where it was revealed the City had prepared to offer a no-bid contract to the Trust Lab, which has numerous current and former police on its board. Howard stated "there is no contract." Technically that's true; OPB reported there was a proposed contract for the group (March 8). However, this kind of double-speak does not serve the City well if they are trying to build relationships. Pastor Robin Wisner, a co-chair of PCCEP, let the Committee know he had been working for the Trust Lab as a community liaison; it's not clear why that wasn't noted as a potential conflict of interest when he was appointed to PCCEP. Incidentally, former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who helped design the Truth and Reconciliation program at PCCEP's suggestion, made an appearance at the Court Hearing wondering what happened. The OPB report was based on a subsequent document published by the City Auditor about how offering the no-bid contract was an apparent violation of City rules.

PCCEP member Ashley Schofield expressed extreme anger with Howard for how the Mayor continues to ignore PCCEP's recommendations and fails to show up to talk to them in person. While Wisner and PCCEP member Nathan Castle were clearly not in full agreement with the rest of the Committee (they were also the only two to vote against the recommendation to reject gunshot detection technology), Schofield's lecture drew appreciation from other members and some public attendees.

Some of the work mentioned above originated from PCCEP's subcommittees on Community Engagement and Settlement Agreement/Policy. So far in 2023, the Racial Equity Subcommittee only met in January.

Behavioral Health Committee Presentations Incomplete

On April 6, the BHUAC held a quarterly public meeting to let the community know what they'd been working on since January. They did not discuss the presentations they heard about force and deadly force used against people in mental health crisis--because, predictably, the presentations were not completed at the March meeting. In other words, PCW's analysis that the Compliance Officer rushed to favorable judgment was correct.

See PCW's analysis of the Q3 Compliance Report: portlandcopwatch.org/COCLanalysisPCW0223.html.
  [People's Police Report]

May, 2023
Also in PPR #89

2022's Record 42 Deadly Force Incidents in Oregon
MultCo Deputies Shoot Again, 8 PPB Cases Reviewed
Judge Keeps Pushing City on DOJ Agreement
City Settles with 4 More Protestors for Over $200K
 • PPB Evicts Family from Hotel, City Pays $15,000
Community Review Board Assigned to Mayor's Office
PAC Gets More Time to Design Oversight System
Relocation Center for Houseless Community to Open
Terror Task Force Report: A Public Nothing Burger
Training Council Continues Debating Demographics
Quick Flashes PPR #89:
 • Drones Buzz Their Way into Portland
 • Nike Store Doesn't Get Cops for Security
 • Multnomah Deputy Charged with Strangulation

Updates PPR #89:
 • City, Police Assoc. Debate Pre-Review of Bodycam Footage
 • PPB Quietly Releases Body Camera Policy with Limited Input
 • Overwhelming Opposition to Gunshot Detection Technology
 • Hunzeker Reinstated, Then Resigns Over 2nd Job
 • Sergeant Who Oversaw Biased Training Slide Suspended
 • Portland Police Step Up Efforts to Put Cops Back in Schools

Rapping Back #89

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