People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Rapping Back #90:
Crime Craze Continues Cockamamie Quotes from Cop Campaigner
Local Portland media outlets continue to play up stories friendly to the agenda of the Portland Police Association (PPA), including interviewing their President Aaron Schmautz repeatedly despite his not being a spokesperson for the actual Police Bureau. Of 26 stories posted to PPA's Facebook page from mid-April to mid-August, nearly half (11 stories 42%) were about crime and the police response to it. The next largest segment was in part due to May being police officer memorial month, with nine stories (35%) about officers who died and/or were shot at in the line of duty. The remaining ones were posts about body cameras (see Updates article) and "officer friendly" stories, at two each (8% apiece) with one story about the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and one about the PPA.
Half the stories came from the media (13 of 26), usually with a pull-quote from Schmautz or commentary attached, with nine originating from the PPA (35%) and four from the PPB (15%).
Homicides Unacceptable, Agreed; Fentanyl Stories Boost PPA Visibility
As noted elsewhere (see the Shootings article in this issue), the Portland Police were involved in the shooting death of a murder suspect on April 24. On April 30, Schmautz wrote words that make sense: he called for "accountability for those who engage in violence in our community." Responding to a question about the slightly lower number of homicides in Portland so far this year compared to 2022, he noted those numbers go up and down, but "every victim has a name." Unfortunately, he is clear that he doesn't consider homicides committed by police to be a problem, as he says "one suspect tried to murder police officers... thanks to heroic actions of both Portland officers and Clackamas County deputies, no other lives were taken." Uh, except for the person killed by the police, whose name, President Schmautz, was Jack Watson.
Schmautz similarly expresses concern about the "attempted murder" of two Clackamas deputies who were wounded by gunfire (June 30), but fails to mention that they fired back at the suspects... missing them (KATU-2TV, in same post). Hey, attempted murder is attempted murder, PPA. Schmautz again showed the double standard responding to two back-to-back incidents: the shooting of a security guard by PoniaX Calles on July 22 and a suspect who allegedly fired at a PPB sergeant on July 26. Schmautz' July 26 post refers to the death of the guard but not that three Portland officers killed Calles, and to the "violent attempt on the life of a Public Servant" without noting the suspect then allegedly took his own life. The only empathy was for the sergeant not having been injured.
Meanwhile, there have been a number of reported overdoses of people taking fentanyl, leading to stories of police raiding an "open-air drug market" downtown where... nobody was there any more. In a June 8 post featuring a KOIN-6TV story, Schmautz touts an officer who discovered body armor, guns and money by the "best of police work" despite "dire staffing of shifts," changing the story from a cop doing their job to a claim cops can't do their jobs without more funding. An officer who provided a ridealong for KPTV-12TV (Fox affiliate) noted that other cities have 1.8 officers per 1000 residents but in Portland it is 1.2 or 1.4 cops. He was well groomed to spread the word for the PPA.
Wading into social services commentary for which he is not qualified, Schmautz supported the Mayor's proposed ban on drug use in a June 21 KATU story, then backtracked after the Mayor agreed to have police enforce state law (KATU, June 27). He kind of lost his composure on July 8 after the County announced it would hand out aluminum foil and straws in an effort to reduce harm to fentanyl users. He railed against a "catastrophic influx of poison" and how the policy will "enable dealers and endanger people experiencing addiction by ignoring root causes and spending vital tax dollars on 'harm reduction'" saying the idea "shocks the conscience." He says "I urge Multnomah County to delay this dangerous plan." The original story on KOIN points out that these items have been proven by science to reduce harm. Providing materials aiding smoking of fentanyl reduces the number of users injecting the drug, which is deadlier. People who are using drugs will likely do so anyway. It is not enabling to ensure that they don't get killed by some secondary means.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.