Portland Copwatch Analyzes "Independent" Police Review Division 2017 Annual Report

Table of contents
Bureau's Findings All Over the Map
Internal Affairs Declines: More Cases Discarded
IPR Continues Disrespect for Community Volunteers
Police Review Board Recommendations and Officer Discipline
What Are the Most Common Allegations?
Where is the Information About Police Use of Force?
Number of Investigations and Outcomes
Who Generates the Most Complaints
IPR Expands Examination of Racial Disparities
Timeliness Issues Acknowledges-- Very Briefly
Layout Issues and Other Missing Information

Portland Copwatch
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Apparent Contradictions, Mistakes Impossible to Check Using New "Dashboard"
by Dan Handelman, Portland Copwatch July 5, 2018

The "Independent" Police Review (IPR) has chopped a few more pages out of its once thorough Annual Report, in doing so dropping charts on deadly and other kinds of force, changing how discipline is reported, and taking other steps making it nearly impossible to track year-to-year progress. The Report was released on June 15 (at <: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/article/688263>). Rather than publish separate data tables (as they did last year, still posted at < https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/article/639599>), IPR launched a "dashboard" (<https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/77205 >) which is flexible and allows some data to be downloaded, but lacks key information . For example, the only such statistic in the Report shows that force complaints made up 13% of all allegations, yet there is no way to find out whether IPR declined to investigate any of those allegations-- declinations which could be a violation of the Settlement Agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). It also means Portland Copwatch (PCW) cannot continue to report the total percentage of force allegations sustained since IPR was founded in 2002,which was 0.8% as of 2016. As with last year's Report, there are a number of inaccuracies, compounded by apparent contradictions just within the new Report.

A few minor improvements include the return of a table listing most common allegations (but that comes with its own problems), an analysis of the over-representation of African American complainants, and slightly more consistency when trends are shown. However, most often trends are shown over two years, with just two charts showing five years of information. One other slightly positive side note-- PCW noted last year that IPR had stopped publishing quarterly reports at the end of 2015. Those reports resumed in 2017, but are threadbare and no longer contain, for example, narratives of sample complaints nor information about the Citizen Review Committee (CRC), which is housed in IPR and hears appeals of misconduct cases almost monthly. CRC also gets the short shrift in the Annual Report. Worse yet, the Report never explains that the final disposition of an appealed case is left up to City Council. That process has only been used twice, once in 2003 and once in 2017. Not only is the concept of City Council hearings (still) missing from IPR's Report, the historic case which was heard in February 2017 is not even mentioned.*- 1

This year IPR notes in two places that there were six officer involved shootings, but they do not describe how many were fatal (two) nor the ethnicity of the suspects (three were African American-- and two of those were the fatalities). Last year PCW called out IPR for including data from 2017 in the supposed 2016 Annual Report. It is not an improvement that they dropped all details about these most serious of cases, which are of highest interest to people following police misconduct issues and the community at large. The question of persons with mental illness-- a key focus of the DOJ Agreement-- is not addressed anywhere in the Report.

One other concern about accountability is how officers are disciplined. In the past, the table on discipline has always been about the imposed discipline, but this year's table on page 17 shows recommendations made by the Police Review Board (PRB). On the next page it says the PRB's findings were disregarded 23% of the time but doesn't say how or whether the Chief/Commissioner explained the changes as required by City Code (3.20.140[H][4]).

One example of what appears to be an error between this year's Report and last year's: it says that in 2017, 43 officers had three or more complaints against them, remarking that is up from 41 in 2016. However, the 2016 Report said 49 officers had that many complaints-- throwing into question the reliability of any of IPR's data. IPR's data analyst suggests such discrepancies have to do with fine- tuning data tables. If that is the case, IPR should include footnotes or maybe even an up-front warning that data in the Report may be unreliable and change from year to year. The difficulty of tracking data is made more frustrating by the fact that IPR is not including the data tables used to generate the 2017 Report-- and the new dashboard is constantly being updated. Thus, data in the Report may already not match the information found on line which should support it. One example: the Report says Internal Affairs (IA) investigated 61 cases in 2017, but the data table shows the number as 60.

One other slight improvement is worth noting: for years, PCW has criticized IPR for saying how many community complaints had "one or more Sustained allegations" to derive what is called the "sustain rate." Since most cases involve more than one allegation, this led to the false impression that more allegations were being sustained than actually were. This year IPR began expressing the "sustain rate" in terms of allegations. However, they are still giving the number as a percentage of those cases which were fully investigated-- in this case, 13% or 35 of 260. But in reality, community members lodged 967 allegations, so the sustain rate is really 3.6%. Had IPR done that calculation, they could let the community know that rate is double last year's, meaning officers were twice as likely to be found out of policy. Instead, IPR says the sustain rate _dropped_, because by their new calculations the rate was 15% last year, higher than 13%.*-2

For the first time in memory, IPR separates the number of community complaints they received from those lodged directly at IA, even though IPR's "Independent" status implies and requires that they process all incoming complaints. Confusingly, the Report says there were a total of 396 complaints (p. 1). IPR processed 349 complaints and IA took in 44 (p. 14). These numbers add up to 393, leaving the question: where did the other three complaints go?

IPR also continues to be inconsistent in whether data are expressed as raw numbers (pp. 6, 7, 10, and 16) or percentages (pp. 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17). One table comparing population to rate of complaints shows percentages in the index but doesn't indicate amounts represented for each bar on the graph (p. 8), and another showing five year trends in allegations uses raw numbers but similarly leaves the reader to guess the amounts being listed.

One other trend worth examining is the rate at which cases are dismissed. IPR notes "More than half of misconduct complaints were dismissed," with a table showing the rate at 61%. That information is not particularly significant, since the dismissal rate was only below 50% in IPR's first two years (26% in 2002 and 42% in 2003). A second table shows "IPR's dismissal rate rose in 2017" with the number going from 56% to 61%. Data tables in the dashboard show IPR dismissed 214 cases in 2017, and 215 in 2016, so while the percentage went up, one less case was tossed at intake. Also, contextually, because the City is required by the DOJ Agreement to investigate all allegations of Use of Force, the dismissal rate generally fell 10 to 20 percentage points from 2011- 2014 to 2015-2017.

That said, the likelihood of a person's case being fully investigated once it comes through the door remains relatively low. This year 61 of 396 cases, or 15% were investigated, meaning a person has about a one in six chance of full follow up to their complaint-- which is lower than last year's (18% or 2 in 11 chance) but still better than the 1 in 10 odds prior to 2014.

In the 2016 Report, IPR noted an uptick in Force complaints. This year, there is no comparison to past years, no breakdown of what types of force were complained about (such as Takedowns, Restraints, Impact weapons and Tasers), and no analysis of how many force complaints were sustained. Last year, IPR included five "Sustained" findings that were made in 2017 as part of the 2016 Report. It is unclear why more details were not included in the Report or the data dashboard.*-3

The Reports keep getting smaller. Early Reports were over 120 pages long. The last few were roughly 25 pages. The 2017 Report is just 19 pages long. This important document should be able to be used to track all aspects of officer conduct, from rudeness to deadly force and discipline from "command counseling" to termination, and to serve to follow trends. Instead, PCW and others interested in police oversight have to do their own digging and record-keeping to watch the supposed watchdogs.*-4 Part of what makes the Report so much smaller is the complete absence of any case summaries. Though there were only four in the last Report, such information serves to illustrate the kinds of cases being investigated and their outcomes.

The 2016 Report was released in May; this year's came out in June, but as noted previously the DOJ wrote to the City Attorney and City Auditor in late 2014 asking that the IPR Annual Report come out no later than March 31.

Ironically, IPR included new information on its strategic plan, on both pages 2 and 19, that talks about their commitment to transparency. Given how much information has been cut out of these Annual Reports, and how much is still not retrievable through IPR's website, this begs the question of whether transparency means "you can see right through us" rather than "we will let you see everything we're working on."

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When the Bureau receives the result of an investigation done by Internal Affairs or IPR*-5, they attach one of four findings: Sustained (out of policy), Exonerated (in policy), Not Sustained (insufficient evidence)*-6 or Unfounded. The Bureau's bias against community complainants continues as their definition for "Unfounded," repeated in the IPR Report (verbatim, on p. 15), is "false or without a credible basis as a possible violation of Bureau policy or procedures." PCW keeps reminding IPR and the Bureau that the 2007 Internal Affairs Directive (#330.00) defined Unfounded as "The available facts of the investigation do not support the allegation," which sounds a lot less like the complainants are being called liars.

It is unclear why IPR did not include data on which kinds of complaints were sustained how often, particularly losing the data on Force and Disparate Treatment/Profiling allegations. Also, though IPR investigated 16 community complaints in 2017, unlike the last Report there is no information on the outcomes. They said 21% of IPR-investigated cases had one or more sustained findings last year, which was lower than the 28% rate of all community complaints.

As noted above, IPR continues to over-state the likelihood that a person's allegation will result in officer discipline, by dividing the number of sustained allegations into those which were investigated. Seeing a 13% sustain rate, a person would think they have a 1 in 8 chance to be validated by an investigation. But since the real number is 3.6%, it is closer to a 1 in 28 chance. As noted in PCW's analysis of the 2016 Report, that number used to be 1 in 50, so chances are improving, but not significantly enough to foment community confidence.

PCW has always looked to insufficient evidence findings as a good bellweather of neutrality in the Bureau, as many complaints end up being "he said/she said" with the officers' word against the civilians'. The 2016 data showed 55% of findings were "Not Sustained" (though the 2017 Report gives that figure as 53%). In 2017, this neutral finding was used only 44% of the time. While that is a significant drop, data from 2014 showed "Not Sustained" findings at 18%.

On the other hand, "Unfounded," which should be used very rarely, is hovering at about 20%. That finding was not used between 2008 and 2014; back in 2007 it was used an astounding 29% of the time.

"Exonerated," meaning the officer acted within policy (and usually, that they did what the person said they did but acted within policy), was used on 21% of allegations, up from 15% last year (though the 2017 data says it was 13%).

All findings which are not "Sustained" can include a "debriefing," where the supervisor talks to the officer about how they could have acted differently or better. There is no mention of debriefings in the 2017 Report.

In terms of complaints brought against officers which do not involve community members (known as "Bureau-initiated," or "B-cases"*-7), there were 43 made in 2017. IPR says this is down from 46, even though the 2016 Report in black and white unmovable typeface said that number was 45. Although the sustain rate is still much higher for officer-on- officer complaints, it dropped from 64% in 2016*-8 to 52% in 2017. However, the Not Sustained rate is roughly 21% and "Unfounded" is 12%, way up from 2%*-9 but still lower than the numbers for civilians. Only 15% of officer misconduct was deemed "Exonerated." The number of sustained allegations went from 26 to 45 this year, since the Bureau disposed of 86 allegations rather than 39, so while the percentage went down the raw amount of officer misconduct found was nearly doubled.

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As PCW has noted in previous years, the number of complaints which are not fully examined includes not only IPR's dismissals (214, as noted above) but Internal Affairs declines. That number was 19 in 2017, meaning 233 out of 396 complaints* or 59% of those that came through the door were declined or dismissed. IPR's dismissal rate of 61% is based on the 349 cases they processed; looking at those dismissed against total intake the rate is slightly lower at 54%, meaning IA takes out another 5% of cases from the investigative chain. This is not too different from the 61% dismiss+decline figure PCW came up with last year (based on the figures given in 2016). The combined dismissal rates in 2002 and 2003 were 45% and 56%, when IPR had a much smaller staff and was dealing with 480-750 cases per year.

Non-Disciplinary Complaints (NDCs), minor allegations which have in the past been known as "Service Complaints" and more recently "Service Improvement Opportunities (SIOs)," are being transformed into "Supervisory Investigations" based on changes made to City Code in August 2017 (this change is noted on p. 2 of the Report). IPR reports that 79 cases processed by Internal Affairs were handled as SIOs in 2017, which they list as 50% of processed IA cases.*-10 Examined as a percentage of all complaints, this means 20% of all 396 cases were handled as NDCs. As noted above, only 15% received full investigations, which presumably includes the mandatory Force investigations. The shift after DOJ required those investigations is fairly obvious as the proportion of cases receiving full investigations (with the exception of 2009) was between 5 and 9 percent until 2014.

IPR improved the chart this year showing the reasons they decided to dismiss cases. The dismissal reasons are expressed in the chart only as percentages, with no raw numbers, but those numbers are available to extract in the dashboard. It shows 63%, or 134 dismissals were because IPR claims there was no misconduct cited in the complaints. This is an unusually high percentage, as this reason was only used 52-54% of the time for most years 2011-2016. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Citizen Review Committee started examining IPR's dismissals to see if they were acting appropriately sometime in 2011, and because that report has never been published CRC has not looked at any contemporary cases.*-11

The other reasons were: The complainant was unavailable or withdrew 12% of the time (26 cases), roughly equivalent to previous years,*-12 and officers could not be identified 11% of the time (24 cases), down from 2014-2016.

City Code 3.21.120(C)(4) lists only eight reasons IPR can dismiss cases, two of which appear to be combined in "no misconduct."*-13 These are the four other than the ones listed above:
-- Filing delay. Used 4% of the time in 8 cases, roughly on average with past years, it is not clear whether IPR allows delays because people wanted to clear criminal charges before filing complaints.
--"Another remedy exists that would resolve the complainant's issue." Used 6% of the time in 12 cases, down slightly, this is of concern since being cleared or convicted of a traffic ticket or more serious infraction does not absolve an officer from improper behavior.
--If the complaint is deemed "trivial, frivolous or not made in good faith." There is no IPR category for this criterion, instead they list "there are significant inconsistencies or implausibility in the complainant's allegations" and file it under "Complainant not reliable/credible." It is not clear that this matches the legislative intent of the ordinance. While troubling, this appears to have only been used twice in 2017 (less than 1% of the time), which is better than the 7 cases in 2016 (3%), 13 in 2012 (4%) and 15 in 2011 (5%).
--"Lack of jurisdiction." This category is not listed in the Report as one of the reasons for IPR dismissals.

However, IPR does list a few other categories which seem to have been made up out of whole cloth:
--"Previously adjudicated," which doesn't exist before 2016 in the data table, was used once (less than 1% of the time);
--"Deminimis," which means it is not significant, which has not been used since 2015 (perhaps it is rolled into the "frivolous" category, though technically that is not the same thing);
--"Officer resigned" which didn't appear in previous Reports, but was apparently not used in 2017, though it was applied three times in 2016, four times in 2015, and once in each year from 2011- 2013;
--"Third party complaint." This is defined as a person complaining about officer conduct against someone who cannot be contacted or refuses to cooperate with IPR. If those are the reasons for dismissal, they should be wrapped into "complainant not available" as the use of this category will discourage witnesses from filing complaints, which is a perfectly legitimate action. This was used seven times in 2017, or 3% of the time, while it was only used between one and four times in previous years representing less than 1% to 2% of cases.

After it was removed from the ordinance in April 2017, IPR has thankfully stopped using the "cannot prove misconduct" category to dismiss, AKA the "crystal ball rationale."*-14

For the third year running, there was no report on "protests" against IPR dismissals, in which complainants are allowed to request review by a different IPR manager. As noted in our analysis of the 2016 Report:
--One sample case in 2015 involved such a "protest"; and
--In the 2010-2012 Reports, it showed people protested dismissals 13-21 times per year.

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In describing that CRC judges the Bureau's findings based on whether they were "reasonable based on the evidence," IPR cut out the use of the word "volunteer" to describe the Committee (p. 17). This description of CRC's limited authority minimizes the frustration expressed by CRC members (and appellants and community observers): that the group has to defer to the Bureau if the finding could be made by a "reasonable person." CRC is currently agitating to get their standard changed to "preponderance of the evidence," something which has been discussed by the community since CRC started hearing appeals in 2002 and by CRC formally at least since 2010. IPR also copied and pasted in the language from the past several Reports noting CRC cannot hear appeals on deadly force cases, even though the ordinance does not prohibit such appeals.

Prior to the 2013 Annual Report, IPR included photos of CRC members and detailed the appeals they heard each year in a separate chapter. Now CRC's role is glossed over in about half a page, and not even their Chair's name is listed in the overleaf which names all IPR staff members. Moreover, as with last year's Report, the summary description of CRC's actions is incomplete and inaccurate.

IPR correctly says CRC heard 7 cases and voted to affirm all findings in three cases. In sum:
-- a man said he was roughed up by two officers at City Hall and they put cuffs on him too tightly (2017-x-0001 aka 2016-x-0006)
--an officer challenged a sustained finding for inappropriately standing by during a civil dispute (2017-x-0003), and
--a man said he was roughed up by several officers during the protest against the Police Association contract at City Hall (2017-x-0005).

In the first case, CRC voted 8-1 on the force allegations, agreeing with the Bureau's "Exonerated" (in policy) findings. However, they then took a symbolic vote of 6-3 for a "Not Sustained" finding, meaning if their standard of review were different, they would have said there was insufficient evidence to decide.

IPR says CRC challenged "all" the findings in three other cases, but they agreed with one of those findings. The challenges were mostly minor, though IPR's summary leaves community members with a different impression. Only one finding led to discipline for an officer, in case 2017-x-0007 where an officer, was found out of policy in the same complaint for incorrectly telling a protestor he could be arrested for video-recording police. CRC found the officer was also out of policy for threatening to arrest the man. The officer's commander told CRC he did not think the cop saying "I could arrest you for that" was a threat; CRC disagreed and Chief Outlaw decided to uphold their "Sustained" finding.

In the other two cases, CRC added a "debriefing" to existing findings. Unlike IPR's narrative, CRC actually agreed with the Bureau on one of the allegations in case 2017-x-0002 (an Exonerated finding for an officer asking a videographer to move). They initially wanted to "Sustain" the second allegation (that the officer "escorted" the man away from the area) on a 5-4 vote. However, Assistant Chief Chris Davis attended a "Conference Hearing" and convinced CRC there was not enough evidence, so they voted 5-3 to add a "debriefing" to the original "Exonerated" finding. The other change was in case 2017-x-0004 in which an officer punched a man who was under police control in a bar, trying to get the man's hands out from underneath his body. The police were called because the man refused to leave, and rather than escort him out, the cops threw him to the ground. CRC voted 5-3 to add a "debriefing" to the "Not Sustained" finding on use of force.

The final case is described by IPR as a split vote, with one finding challenged and one not. In case 2017-x-0006, a woman said officers failed to arrest her husband during a Domestic Violence call ("Not Sustained with debrief," affirmed by CRC on a 4-2 vote) and the cops inappropriately dismissed her concerns while laughing with the husband. Given that an independent witness stated the officers acted unprofessionally, CRC did not agree it was reasonable to say the appropriate finding was "Not Sustained with debrief" and sent the allegation to the Chief to "Sustain" it on a 6- 1 vote. Rather than follow protocol-- which is either to agree with CRC or send the case to City Council, the Chief sent it back for more investigation. It is unknown what the outcome was because the Appellant dropped out of the process. It's more likely than not, though, that there was no change to the finding, meaning CRC's recommendation was not affirmed by the Bureau.

In sum, here is a comparison of what IPR said and what actually happened:

IPR says: CRC affirmed all findings in three cases
(2017-x-0001) Affirmed four Exonerated findings
but would have challenged two force findings,
leaving two findings on too-tight handcuffs in place.
(2017-x-0003) Affirmed one "Sustained" finding an officer wanted to have changed *-15
(2017-x-0005) Affirmed five force findings of "Not Sustained."

IPR says: CRC challenged all findings in three cases
(2017-x-0002): CRC agreed with one of the "Exonerated" findings (on conduct),
and added a debriefing on the use of an "escort hold" although they had wanted to Sustain it.
(2017-x-0004): CRC added a debriefing to the only "Not Sustained" finding on force.
(2017-x-0007): CRC challenged the only appealed finding on conduct
successfully changing the finding to "Sustained."

IPR says: CRC affirmed one and challenged one finding in the last case.
(2017-x-0006): CRC agreed with a "Not Sustained" finding on failure to arrest and asked to
"Sustain" a finding on unprofessional conduct but the Chief undercut their efforts, outcome unknown.

So CRC challenged four findings: they added two debriefings, got one officer found out of policy, and the public does not know the outcome of the last one. On balance all of the force findings (11 of 15 findings considered, if one includes the tight cuffs and escort hold as force) remained the same, one "Sustained" finding was left in place, and CRC got one more "Sustained" finding. Regardless of outcome, CRC challenged just 4 of 15 findings, which means they agreed with the Bureau 73% of the time.*-16 While Portland Copwatch is a big supporter of the CRC and civilian oversight in general, this overall record does not sound as impressive as IPR's vague reporting makes it seem.

NOTE: On July 6, 2018 IPR edited the online version of the report reflecting PCW's accurate analysis of the CRC appeals. No other changes were made.

IPR also did not include any information about CRC's Work Groups on Deadly Force, Crowd Control and Outreach, nor, as mentioned above, the fact that they pushed forward a case to a City Council appeal in February. IPR's new table and old flowchart (on pages 4 and 5) do not mention the role of City Council in hearing appeals.

There is also no mention that four CRC members (Vanessa Yarie, Jim Young, Julie Ramos and Marisea Rivera) resigned in 2017, an unusually high number. Young resigned just three months after being reappointed (over PCW's objections due to his poor attendance record); Rivera resigned within the first 16 months of her three-year term. Only two new members (Daniel Schwartz and Candace Avalos) were appointed before the end of the year. With the resignation of Roberto Rivera (no relation to Ms. Rivera) in early 2018, no current member of CRC has served longer than three and a half years.

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The Police Review Board, unlike CRC, is viewed as a body internal to the Police Bureau. In lower- level misconduct cases it consists of three Bureau members, one person from IPR, and one community member from a pool of about 16 people. In higher level cases including those reviewing deadly force, one more officer is added as well as one member of CRC. IPR continues to make it sound more community-influenced by saying the board includes "community members," even though no two people from the PRB pool ever hear a case at the same time.

Unlike CRC, the PRB makes recommendations based on a preponderance of the evidence-- a fact not mentioned by IPR. In addition to recommending findings, they also recommend discipline. The Report states that the PRB heard 36 cases, which is up by 50% from 2016. IPR states that 78% of cases they heard (28) had one or more sustained findings. While that seems impressive, most cases go to the PRB _because someone recommended a sustained finding in the first place._ Though IPR mentions that deadly force cases go to the PRB, there are no data on how many of the six officer involved shootings from 2017 were heard by the Board.

The November 2017 PRB report contains only four cases heard in 2017:
--a 2016 deadly force incident where an officer used a patrol car to hit a man on his bicycle (In Policy);
--a Use of Force case where an officer kicked a civilian after a foot chase (Sustained) and didn't follow reporting procedures (two more Sustained findings), then the officer resigned;
--a Use of Force case where an officer used a Taser three times, which was not deemed excessive force but found in violation of the policy-- the officer was given command counseling; and
--the deadly force incident where officers shot and wounded Don Perkins on February 9 (In Policy).

Deadly force cases are automatically sent to PRB, as well as instances where IPR, IA or an Assistant Chief "controverts" (disagrees with) the commanding officer's proposed findings. The Report says IPR controverted two cases in 2017 (down from five in each of 2015 and 2016), asking for sustained findings, but once again there is no data table showing what the outcomes were. There is no data table in the dashboard breaking down the 36 cases as Bureau or Community complaints, the findings or the allegations. Police Review Board hearings are closed to the public-- including the person who filed the complaint (or was shot at, if they lived). PRB reports are supposedly published twice a year-- they came out in February and November 2017 but none has been published yet in 2018. Those reports redact an outrageous amount of information including the gender of the officers and civilians. IPR has a seat on every Board and should do more reporting. Also, since the Auditor's office and IPR nominate the civilian PRB pool, those people should be required to hold public meetings when the PRB reports come out to answer questions about the process.

In an extraordinarily confusing piece of information, IPR reports on page 18 that six cases were still pending resolution at the end of 2017, saying this means the PRB "sustained allegations in 20 of 30 cases it received." But on page 17, it says they made sustained findings in 28 of 36 cases, meaning with the pending cases the lowest possible number should be 22.

As with previous Reports, IPR does not mention that CRC and PRB can each send cases back for more investigation and/or make policy recommendations to the Bureau. Since IPR's strategic plan includes a proposal to track such recommendations, PCW asks again that the Annual Report include a table of all CRC, PRB, IPR and deadly force review recommendations.

After a few years where IPR didn't use the word "Discipline" in its Annual Report sections talking about reprimands following sustained findings, this year the portion which includes reporting on the PRB is called "How were officers disciplined?" Ironically, this is the first year since IPR started including a discipline table in which this question is not actually answered. As noted above, previous years had tables showing how many times officers received various levels of discipline: command counseling, letters of reprimand, suspensions without pay, demotion and termination. They also generally included how many officers resigned while investigations were being conducted. This year, a chart showing percentages (not raw numbers) of discipline refers to how often that discipline was recommended by the PRB, now how often it was imposed.*-17 As with most of the changes to the Report which remove, rather than add points of information, there is no explanation.

As hinted at above, the Report states that "final discipline matched the Review Board's recommendations in 77 percent of cases." There is no explanation why the Chief and Commissioner gave lower levels of discipline in four cases. While the PRB releases its own reports, there is no reason IPR can't include such information, especially as there has only been one PRB report released since February 2017. IPR adds that two officers resigned, which is the lowest number in five years, with 3-7 resigning in 2013-2016 (according to the 2016 data table).

Even if all 20 officers were disciplined and two resigned, this would mark the lowest number since 2006, the first year for which IPR provided data; other years saw between 26 and 43 officers disciplined/resigning.

The 2016 Report was the first to note why most officers were disciplined-- for unprofessional or unlawful conduct. There is no such information this year, nor does it explain what officers did to warrant termination, nor how many reprimands resulted from community complaints rather than Bureau-initiated ones.

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Last year, IPR did not include data on what were the most common allegations lodged against officers. This year, they included a table showing percentages (rather than raw numbers) in which the top five are listed as:
#1--Inadequate Action or Assistance-16% (this has been #1 or #2 for every year with data since 2009)
#2--Rudeness-9% (which has also been #1 or #2 every year since 2009)
#3--Unprofessional Conduct-7% (it is unclear if this made the list before; Unprofessional Behavior was #6 in 2008)
#4--Inadequate or Improper Investigation-6% (this was #3 or #4 in 2013-2015)
#5--Inadequate/Unjustified Arrest/Citation-4% (under a similar name, this was #5 in 2013).

However, on the same page where these data are printed, a separate chart shows the difference between how often Civilian and Bureau complaints contain certain allegations, and Use of Force is listed as coming in 13% of the time.*-18 Therefore, Force should rightfully be the #2 allegation for 2017. It was #2, #3 or #4 every year from 2002 to 2015. Given the other excising of information about officer violence in the Report, this apparent large error is of great concern.

The second table also lumps some complaints into larger categories. For instance, it shows 10% of community complaints were for "Professional Conduct," even though the top table shows that figure as 7%. It is not clear what other allegations fit that category. Interestingly, 32% of B-cases involved Professional Conduct, over three times more than Community complaints. Courtesy shows at 20% for civilians (meaning the 9% for rudeness is only part of that total) and just 1% for officers. While there were some Bureau-initiated force complaints in the late 2000s, there have been zero for the last several years; that is likely because even if a Bureau member calls out another cop for excessive force, since it's most likely a civilian is the recipient of the violence, it is automatically categorized as a "C" complaint.*-19

The lack of breakdown is particularly disturbing as it means, as noted above, there is no information about Disparate Treatment/Profiling complaints. Last year, IPR noted that African- and Asian- Americans alleged more Conduct than Procedure violations. There are no data about what kinds of complaints were made by various ethnic groups in 2017.

The combined chart lumping Bureau complaints into broad categories doesn't match earlier years, which showed Conduct, Procedure, Control Technique, Courtesy, Disparate Treatment and Force; the categories now also include "Laws, Rules and Orders" (11% in 2017), "Truthfulness" (7%) and "HR Compliance" (6%, as if any community member would know to file that kind of complaint).


As mentioned above, the 2017 Annual Report includes only two references to the six officer involved shootings, but no details on the people's race, whether or not they survived, and no comparison to previous years. In the late 2000s, Auditor Gary Blackmer would tout that the number of shootings went down since the inception of IPR, and we wondered whether the Auditor would take the blame when they went back up. Three Auditors later, the shootings continue at an average of about four per year; the 2016 Report showed a five year trend.
2012: 6, 2013: 2, 2014: 4, 2015: 6, 2016: 2.

Also, aside from the one data point that 13% of community allegations were about force and a bar graph showing the rough number of allegations (about 100-- p. 12), there is no mention of intake, investigation or outcomes of Use of Force, unlike previous years. And, although the Bureau publishes its own Force data reports which indicate total uses of force per year, having that statistic for comparison (between 972 and 1096 reports from 2012-2016) was somewhat useful. PCW found there were complaints in 13% of uses of force in 2016. The 2017 Force report shows 1343 uses of force, which includes new categories which previously were not included. Though available information makes it difficult, since many force _cases_ involve multiple _kinds_ of force, it would not be difficult to show a trend using the old data for four more years until the new data have been in use for five.

The 2016 data tables also showed trends in complaints about these kinds of force: Hands/feet/knees, hobbles, take down/impact, Taser, Baton use, Firearm Display and Pointing, Vehicle, Dog/Horse, Pepper Spray (Aerosol) and Less Lethals.

For the first time in a few years, IPR does not state that the DOJ Agreement requires all Force allegations to be investigated, unless "clear and convincing evidence" shows otherwise. In 2016 they dismissed 6% of force allegations, but no figures are given for 2017. As noted in our analysis for 2016, previous dismissals on force allegations were in the 60-70% range prior to the changes from the DOJ, which kicked in sometime in 2014-2015.

In the 2016 Report, IPR referred to two shootings and one case where an officer used his patrol car to hit a bicyclist. As noted above, the 2017 Report does not show deadly force trends, explain how many people of what ethnicity were shot/killed (after doing so for two years in a row), or even say how many shootings went to the Police Review Board. In the 2015 and 2016 Reports, IPR also discussed how many people were possibly in mental health crisis when they were shot. As noted above, the new Report does not even use the term "mental health crisis." IPR mentions it monitored six investigations into shootings, but not that they went to the sites of those shootings to observe the initial investigation. They send readers to IPR's relatively new "dashboard" on deadly force, which is all well and good, but more data should be incorporated into the Annual Report.

Once again, the Report explicitly says people cannot appeal deadly force cases to CRC, but doesn't explain the City's twisted logic. They say that because shootings are automatically scrutinized by criminal and administrative investigators, these cases are "reviews" and not "complaints." They go so far as to instruct the Police Review Board to use different findings ("In Policy" and "Out of Policy") rather than the four findings listed above. PCW continues to demand that the City amend the Portland Police Association contract to stop denying the rights of complaints and appeals to people who are subjected to the most serious of police uses of force (or their survivors).

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IPR says they had 396 community complaints in 2017 (which includes ones that went to Internal Affairs), with another 43 Bureau-generated complaints, for a total of 439. This is a 9% decrease from 2016, when complaints were up by 12% over 2015. IPR says they had 1503 contacts with the community (up from "over 1300" in 2016), but it doesn't say what the content was for the missing 1107 calls. At least 110 of them were commendations, where people had compliments to give the police.

Though IPR has collected commendations since 2002, the Annual Reports have not mentioned them for some time (though some of the Quarterly Reports did), perhaps since 2008. Back then, community commendations were around 300 per year; the new chart in the 2017 Report shows closer to 100 per year since 2014, and 202 in 2013.

People sometimes call IPR complaining about officers not under their jurisdiction, including many TriMet Transit police, who come from all over the Metro area and work under a PPB Captain, but are investigated for misconduct in their own agencies. However, IPR's data dashboard shows no referrals made in 2017, one made in each of 2013, 2015 and 2016 and three in 2015.

According to IPR, they investigated 16 community complaints and IA conducted 60, meaning IPR took the lead in 21% of 76 cases. That figure was 19% in 2016, when IPR led 22 investigations; they did 7 in 2015 out of a total of 33, which was again 21%.

In 2016, IPR began explaining what kinds of cases it investigates. This year 9 cases stemmed from protests (it was 10 last year), four complaint subjects had rank of Captain or above (last year it was 5), four cases were of Disparate Treatment (last year it was 9), there was one Force case again, and the Director used his discretion to investigate two other cases (down from four in 2016). PCW had asked for a bit more detail, especially in the Captain or above cases (where, for instance, the misconduct by former Chief Larry O'Dea was very publicly reviewed in 2016) and what kinds of cases the Director chose to investigate using the "discretion" category, which references issues of concern to the community.

This year the graph showing trends in complaints notes that the numbers "were about average" for both community and Bureau complaints, which is accurate and better than trumpeting the small dips as signs of a trend. The graph shows lines where the average numbers intersect each of the last five years' totals (between 379 and 435 community and 28 to 53 Bureau complaints) but doesn't give the numbers. For the record, the averages are 401 community complaints and 43 Bureau.

One of the options for complainants which is regularly marginalized by IPR is Mediation, in which non-force complaints can lead to the complainant and the officer meeting with a professional mediator to talk through what happened. If Mediation is successful, no investigation can occur. The only two mentions of Mediation in the Report are in the flowchart showing how the system works (on p. 5) and that 2% of cases were mediated in 2017 (p. 9). The data dashboard shows this means 6 of the 349 processed cases went to Mediation. This is a program which could lead to more satisfied complainants, and could change more officers' minds than having their commanders give them a slight metaphoric slap on the wrist. PCW again encourages IPR to highlight Mediation in all its literature.

Incidentally, there are no data on what the allegations were in the 79 cases handled as "Service Improvement Opportunities." These data were also missing from the 2015 Report, but 2014 and 2016 listed top categories as Inadequate Action, Rudeness, Unprofessional Conduct, Inadequate Investigation, Inadequate Communication, and Demeaning/Defaming Conduct.

The DOJ Agreement requires the City to see whether civil claims made by people in lawsuits (or tort claims) should lead to misconduct investigations, but for the third year in a row, there is no mention of lawsuits, how often they were filed, or whether they led to inquiries. The data are also not immediately retrievable in the data dashboard. There were 15 such investigations in 2016.

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The details on how many officers generated complaints show 325 officers were subjects of complaints in 2017, which IPR dryly notes "represents over one third of the Bureau's 930 sworn officers." This is fairly astounding, especially when reviewing data since 2009 which show between 333 and 397 officers received complaints in previous years. 78 officers had two complaints, slightly below the previous five-year average of 85, while 33 had three complaints against them-- which is slightly higher than the average of 29. Six officers had four complaints, and four had five complaints. It is rare that officers have six or more complaints against them.

As with the previous three Reports, IPR says such officers receiving multiple complaints "should" cause supervisors to intervene, whether or not the complaints are Sustained. It is still not clear why supervisors would not be required to talk to cops once they received three complaints in a year's time.

IPR also tracks which precincts and divisions receive the most complaints. This year's chart looks similar to 2016's but leaves off some of the information. Some of the following data was calculated by PCW based on data tables. Most (88%) were against patrol officers, and 77% were from the three precincts. Multiple precinct complaints-- which IPR notes usually means something happened at a protest action-- was the second highest category. It's not clear why "unknown" comes in third, ahead of Traffic, which only generated 3% of complaints in 2017 (down from 6% and 7%). Detectives are the last division shown in the new Report, with 12 complaints which also makes up about 3% of complaints. Left off were the Tactical Operations Division, which was fairly high up in 2016, Transit, and "other divisions combined."

IPR created a new table showing the average number of complaints per officer, noting that the average is more than one per cop in East Precinct but slightly lower in Central (65% as high) and North (56% as high), and admirably lower in Traffic (34% as high as East).

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In the 2016 Report, IPR noted how African Americans filed a disproportionate amount of complaints compared to their representation in the population-- 23% vs. 6%. In the 2017 Report, they said the "relative disparity was higher than in the past 10 years." In yet another chart without numbers to inform the reader, it shows that over-representation to be greater than four times the population, while "White" and "Hispanic/Latino" complainants are about three-quarters as high as one might expect. The dashboard reveals that there were 63 African American complainants, meaning once the "Unknowns" are removed (an alarmingly high 43% of all complainants*-20), African Americans made up 25% of all complainants. There were 154 "White" complainants, which is 61% of known race, while Portland's Caucasian population is about 71%.

Latinos, whose complaints last year matched their population numbers at 9%, prompted a new subhead saying "Hispanic/Latino population is underrepresented," with IPR commenting they made complaints at half the rate of Caucasians. This is not accurate. The 17 self-identified Latino complainants made up 7% of the complaints, thus about 67% as high as their population would suggest; the 61% of complaints by white Portlanders represents a complaint rate 86% as high as resident numbers. So Latinos actually filed about 3/4 as often as whites, not 1/2 as often.

IPR notes police stops of African Americans show a similar disparity to complaints, but doesn't try to explain why the numbers are skewed. It will be interesting to see if the implicit bias training being given to all officers this year changes the numbers of stops and complaints.

There is no comment on the gender breakdown of complaints this year, and no data in the dashboard on this subject. Also, the numbers in the dashboard add up to 447 complainants, while IPR logged only 396 complaints, which is confusing and should be explained. The 2016 data tables had a footnote stating "Because multiple complainants can be named on any given complaint, and they can file multiple complaints, this count may differ from the annual community complaint count."

Because there are no data tying the Bureau's findings to types of allegations, there is no way to know whether the Bureau broke its streak. the last time a Disparate Treatment/Profiling allegation was sustained was 2008.*-21

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The only mention of timeliness-- one of the ongoing issues with the complaint system-- is in IPR's summary of its goals for 2018 on the final page of the Report. IPR says they hope to improve on timeliness of processing complaints since they have hired new investigators. An entire section of the previous Reports used to analyze IPR's intake investigations, Internal Affairs' investigations, and the Bureau's processing of findings. The dashboard data chart only has one metric-- IPR's intake processing is shown to have gone down from a high of 39 days in 2012 to about 33 days in 2017, up from 25 in 2016. *-22

Again, the DOJ Settlement Agreement has specific criteria-- that all cases have to be completed in 180 days. In 2016, it was taking IA 200 days to finish investigations, while IPR "independent" investigation took 248. It is not clear whether IPR left out this summary to avoid embarrassment or if the Auditor's unbending push to make the Reports shorter is now jeopardizing the City's compliance with the Agreement.

Considering that the changes to City Code touted by IPR (p. 2) supposedly were made to "streamline" investigations, it is odd there are no data on timelines.*-23

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Consistent with the trend of publishing less information, IPR gave no examples of community feedback received by their outreach coordinator. An odd table shows the names of 10 organizations contacted by IPR. Organizations listed in the body text include "organizations serving the houseless community" which misspells the names of Sisters Of The Road (failing to capitalize the "O" and "T") and Right 2 Survive (spelling out "to" instead of using a numeral). It also says IPR connected to groups which "support women and diverse community [sic]." The table misidentifies NAYA as the "Native American Youth Association"... that group's full name has been the Native American Youth and Family Association for many years.

In 2016 there was discussion of IPR launching "Community Dialogues on Police Accountability," which involved two translator-supported sessions with new immigrants. This year they don't use that term but say there were four meetings with immigrants supported by translators, for people from Mexico, Guatemala, Russia and Ukraine.

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Though IPR made some improvements to the layout from the previous Report, a number of issues remain while new ones arose.

--No table of contents: The various sub-headings using phrases instead of clear categories (such as "Complaints" "Investigations" and "Discipline") makes it hard enough to find information in the Report; the lack of a table of contents makes navigating even harder.

--Integrate the data: As we wrote last year, the Auditor should put data tables back in the body of the Report for local and national persons wishing to examine trends over time. The creation of an online "dashboard" actually makes it more crucial to release printed tables of data used for the Reports, since the online information had already changed by the time the Report was released.

--Reinstate complainant satisfaction survey: From 2012 to 2014, IPR included the question from the Auditor's survey of Portlanders about whether they felt the oversight system was adequate. PCW repeatedly noted that most people do not contact IPR,*-24 so IPR should start sending surveys to people who file complaints, receive investigations/go to mediation, and/or go through the appeal process, as was done (to some extent) prior to 2012.

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Police accountability is not only of utmost importance to a democratic society, but it has been at the forefront of Portland headlines since the DOJ came to town in 2011 and national headlines since the Ferguson shooting in 2014. IPR continues to try making its Annual Report more like corporate brochure than a substantive summary of what happened in a year's time. Not only are fewer trends examined in the Reports, but trying to compare each year's Report to previous ones becomes more difficult as the format keeps changing.

To prove its commitment to transparency, IPR should present its Report to the Citizen Review Committee and to City Council and make sure there is time for public comment.

We continue to be concerned about the behavior of the Portland Police, but we also keep urging our oversight agency to be more forthright (and accurate) in how it reports information. This year's Copwatch analysis is 12 pages long, even though the Report is only 19 pages, which says a lot about how much is missing. It also says that our volunteers are doing work IPR's paid staff should be doing to make data immediately accessible to the public and the media.

Despite these shortcomings, PCW still encourages community members to file complaints at IPR, so officers do not get away with inappropriate conduct. PCW urges IPR to allow our members to attend the orientations for CRC and PRB members, as our institutional knowledge could help get them up to speed more quickly. As shown by CRC 's unanimous effort to change their standard of review, shutting us out because we offer more information about the system only prolongs Committee members' coming to the same conclusion on their own.

We continue to ask that City Council make more improvements to the oversight system, which may include negotiations with the PPA before their controversial 2016 contract runs out in 2020.

We look forward to summarizing these comments when IPR presents its Report to City Council.

Thank you
dan handelman
portland copwatch

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*1-For the record, this was the case of Matt Klug (2015-X-0002), who was hit six times with a Taser by an officer. The Bureau found the officer's actions within policy ("Exonerated"). CRC recommended a "Sustained" (out of policy) finding, and Chief Marshman disagreed. City Council voted 3-2 to change the finding to "Not Sustained" (insufficient evidence).
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*2-This is another figure that changed from the 2016 data tables, which showed 19 of 144 allegations or 13% sustained, the same as 2017 by IPR's count.
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*3-It is worth noting, though, that IPR's policy review on Crowd Control largely ignored the issue of police use of force at demonstrations. PCW noted previously that the Bureau's quarterly Force statistics separate out force use at protests from all other uses of force, and that IPR categorized "legitimate crowd control techniques" separately from other police violence. PCW continues to object to treating officer-initiated force differently based on the context.
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*4-PCW has published a table of some of the statistics that changed from 2016 to 2017 at < http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/PCW_data_table_IPR2018.pdf>.
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*5-IPR continues to rely on IA to compel officer testimony, which is why PCW continues to put quotes around the word "Independent" in their name.
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*6-PCW much prefers the old term "Insufficient Evidence" since "Unfounded" and "Exonerated" are also "Not Sustained" findings.
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*7-PCW has repeatedly documented Police Review Board cases in which civilians are involved, but the cases are reviewed as "B" (Bureau only) cases. Officer involved shootings are treated as "B" cases even though they nearly always involve civilians.
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*8-The 2016 Report gave the figure as 67%...

*9-..and this figure was given as 3% in 2016. back to text

*10-IPR's percentages of how cases were handled at IA appear to be based on a denominator of 159, which is 112 cases referred by IPR to IA, plus 44 cases brought directly to IA, plus the phantom 3 cases.
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*11-On June 1, IPR posted proposed new protocols which seem to suggest CRC should do less auditing of IPR's work.
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*12-Somehow previously published numbers for withdrawn complaints in 2011 and 2012 changed from 25 to 21 and 25 to 22, respectively. It is not clear how the number of withdrawn complaints can change 5-6 years after the fact.
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*13-"No misconduct" appears to cover both sections (c) "Even if all aspects of the complaint were true, no act of misconduct would have occurred;" and (e) "Where there is clear and convincing evidence that the involved member did not engage in misconduct."
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*14-The 2016 Report said it was used 6 times in that year, but the new data say it was only used 5 times.
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*15-This is the first time an officer filing an appeal walked away from CRC with a "Sustained" finding remaining on their record.
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*16-PCW's tally showed CRC agreed with the Bureau just 47% of the time in 2016.
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*17-Moreover, the Suspension without Pay category, which usually breaks down to "10-80 hours" and "81+ hours" is lumped into one reporting total.
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*18-IPR's 2016 Report did show numbers for broad categories, with force showing 143 out of 1036 allegations, or 14%, slightly higher than 2017.
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*19-Except, of course, for Officer Involved Shootings, which the City will not categorize as "complaints" but instead insists they are "reviews" since they are automatically investigated.
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*20-Including the "Unknown" complainants, whites make up 34% of complaints, African Americans 14%, and Latinos 4%.
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*21-PCW continues to wonder what happened to the officer who was caught on video using the "N" word in 2013. Since that case has never been reported in Police Review Board documents, it seems the officer did not face discipline.
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*22-The 2016 Report gave the median days for IPR intake as 24, not 25.
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*23-The two changes were changing Service Improvement Opportunities to Supervisory Investigations and allowing IPR and IA investigators to make recommended findings when investigations are completed.
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*24-Even if all 8296 complaints to IPR since 2002 were filed by different people who all live in Portland, that only represents 1.3% of the population of 632,000.
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Posted July 5, 2018, updated July 31, 2018