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City Audit Finds PPB Spying Still Lacks Proper Rules;
State Law Remains to Protect Rights
Community Organizations Call for State to Leave
FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

Following up on an audit conducted in 2022, the Portland City Auditor's office released an update in June showing that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has not fully adopted recommendations to protect community members from unlawful spying. Neither audit directly addressed the still-valid concern that when PPB officers work with the FBI or other federal agencies, particularly in [Audit Update]conjunction with its Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), files created in violation of Oregon law by Portland Police, even if destroyed once discovered as improper, could remain in the federal system indefinitely. The ongoing concern about law enforcement collaboration with the JTTF led fourteen groups from around the state (and one individual survivor of spying) to write a letter to Governor Tina Kotek in late April asking for the Oregon State Police to cease ongoing cooperation as Portland did in 2019 (PPR #77). There has been no reply. However, in a bit of good news, a bill died in the Oregon legislature which would have gutted the state law (ORS 181A.250) in an effort to carve out exceptions for body cameras.

The Auditor's newer report found that policies adopted by the Bureau earlier in 2023 did not include recommended changes from the first report to require authorization before gathering information on people in order to comply with the state statute. The law prohibits collection and maintenance of information on social, political and religious information about a person unless there's a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. The audit states that the PPB said they would "consider" adding more protections during the next review of the policy.

They also found the Bureau's Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) made reports about people's First Amendment activities "widely available and [were] keeping them past their retention schedule." The PPB is supposedly working on new rules for the maintenance and distribution problems.

The state bill, SB 614, could easily have stated simply that violations of ORS 181A.250 which were inadvertently captured by "pre-roll" on body cameras could be deleted and/or were not considered violations. Instead, the proposed law, which actually passed the Senate on an 18-10 (+ 2 abstentions) vote, would have said the law didn't apply to body cameras or "other legitimate law enforcement activity." Fortunately, the bill died in the House, ironically during the time the Senate was unable to pass legislation during a mass walkout by Republicans.

Two other laws-- again with good intentions, but which will likely be misused-- did pass the Legislature: HB 2572 on paramilitary activity (aimed at the far right but no doubt will be used against anyone perceived as an "armed militia" on the left) and HB 2772, aimed at "Domestic Terrorism." There are already statutes against people using violence or doing damage to property and there is no reason for Oregon to have adopted these laws. A similar anti-terrorism law in Atlanta has been used to charge people who've been working to oppose building a giant training facility known as "Cop City" in what is now a forested area.

As a side note, a former FBI agent who was with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York from 2014-2017 was arrested for taking part in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the nation's Capitol building (Raw Story, May 3). Jared Wise, who recently moved to Bend, OR, told DC police that they were "disgusting" and acting as Nazis/the Gestapo, and encouraged violence as it was occurring (Oregonian, May 5).

PCW used a graphic in PPR #89 about a person who was accused of threatening to kill President Biden and bomb Oregon schools. We had intended to include a caption that we believed this to be one of the cases covered in the PPB's annual report on its work with the JTTF.

  [People's Police Report]

September, 2023
Also in PPR #90

PPB Officers Kill Again After Short Break
OR Law Enforcement Deadly Force Down a Bit
DOJ May Agree to Court Monitor for Portland
$150K+ More Paid for Police Protest Violence
 • "Restorative Justice": Indictment Dropped for Brutal Cop
Oversight Board Plan Ready for Approval
Independent Police Review Investigations Lag
2023 Review Board Report #1: No Deadly Force
City Council Criminalizes Camping
City Audit: PPB Spying Lacks Proper Rules
State Discipline Commission Prints Guide
Better Force Data Promised to Training Council
More Copwatch Comments on Bureau Policies
Quick Flashes PPR #90:
 • PPB Annual Report Missing Deadly Force, Race
 • Traffic Stop Data: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
 • Immigrants Seeking Safety Denied Special Visas

Updates PPR #90:
 • Police Ass'n Compromises On Body Cam Pre-Review
 • Commanders Fix Oversight, Officers Get 43 New Positions
 • Police Drones Now Cruising Portland Skies

Rapping Back #90

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 #90 Table of Contents
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