People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
"Independent" Police Review Falls Behind in
While the City awaits the implementation of the new oversight system voted into place in November, 2020 (above), the current system continues, primarily composed of the "Independent" Police Review (IPR) processing complaints and its Citizen Review Committee (CRC) handling appeals. According to the Compliance Officer (COCL)'s report on the first quarter of 2023, IPR and Internal Affairs have not been completing investigations in the 180 days required by the US Dept. of Justice Settlement Agreement. Many of the outstanding cases seem to be deadly force cases, with at least seven of 15 incidents from 2021-23 under review as of the June 5 IPR Director's report. At the May CRC meeting, they heard the report from the OIR Group about deadly force incidents from 2017-2019 (PPR #89), including taking public input. However, the CRC did not take any steps to examine the many new or repeated policy recommendations made by OIR to push the Bureau to make changes. Such review is required by City Code, but none has happened since 2010 (PPR #51).
The Compliance Officer indicates that at the end of March, 20% of Internal Affairs investigations and over 60% of IPR's cases had gone past the 180 day deadline. The reasons given included that officers were off on administrative leave and/or cases which got delayed due to officers' lawyers not setting up interviews in a timely manner. The IPR Director's report shows that by June, they had seven open investigations with the oldest one at 342 days.
IPR's table of deadly force cases is difficult to parse out. It lists three cases as being in "IA Closure": The September 2021 shooting of Andreas Boinay, the December 2021 shooting of Brandon Keck (both PPR #85), and the February 2022 shooting of Joel Arevalo (PPR #86). Three cases are listed as being at "review level" which may mean they are ready for Police Review Board hearings: The August 2021 shooting of Alexander Tadros (PPR #85), the May 2022 shooting of Matthew Leahey and the July 2022 shooting of Jonathan Worth (both PPR #87). Then there's one case listed as being in "Discipline," which is interesting since officers hardly ever are held accountable for deadly force; this was the December 2021 shooting of Joshua Degerness (PPR #85).
Listed as being at "Investigation" or "Detectives" (it's not clear what the difference is) are seven of the remaining incidents (death of Immanueal Clark-Johnson and shooting of Antoine Young in November 2022, shooting of Jeremy Rieck in October 2022--PPR #88; deaths of Aaron Stanton in July 2022--PPR #87 and Jack Watson in April 2023--this issue; and the shootings that did not hit an unknown suspect in July 2022 and Robert Connelly in August 2022-- also PPR #87). The final case was the one where an officer hit Brian Bruman in the head with a rifle in February this year (PPR #89), which is listed as being in "Training," meaning the Training Division is conducting a review. If all that is confusing, be aware that Portland Copwatch has been asking IPR for years to create a key to explain what all these stages mean to make their reports more understandable.
CRC Meetings Return, Disappear
The presentation by OIR at the CRC's May meeting was the only agenda item, no other IPR/CRC business was discussed. OIR's presentation was similar to one they had given to City Council a few weeks earlier. CRC's has two working groups on their transition to the new system. The "past" work group is outlining their history, while the "future" work group is considering how to help ramp up for the new Board's guidelines ("future"). At their June meeting, the latter group successfully got the full CRC to vote on presenting a draft version of their report to the Police Accountability Commission as it wrapped up its work designing that transition.
While CRC had been meeting sporadically enough to warrant a "partial compliance" rating from the COCL in Q4 2022, they met monthly from January to June, though frequently meetings lasted under an hour. However, they then canceled their July and August meetings as City Code only requires them to meet once per quarter.
to learn about IPR and CRC.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.