Portland Copwatch Analyzes "Independent" Police Review Division 2018 Annual
Table of contents
Continuing Concerns: Drawing Outside the Lines on Dismissals and Outcomes
Citizen Review Committee Continues Getting Sidelined
Officer Discipline and Police Review Board
Most Common Allegations Categories Keep Changing
Portland Copwatch Presents: Data on Police Use of Force
What Else Did IPR Do?
Officers and Divisions Which Generate the Most Complaints
Other Layout Issues and Omissions
a project of Peace and Justice Works
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
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INDEPENDENT POLICE REVIEW 2018 ANNUAL REPORT
IGNORES FORCE, POLICE REVIEW BOARD
The "Independent" Police Review (IPR) released its Annual Report on the second-to-last day of April, about six
weeks earlier than last year, marking the third year in a row-- and the seventh time ever in 17 years-- it came out in
the first half of the year.*-1 It has gone from a Report containing over 150 pages in its
first three years to just 17
pages, down by two more than 2017. To clear out space, IPR has continued to leave out relevant information about
Use of Force, including how often officers were found out of policy for Force in 2018 (FYI, it was zero), removed
entire sections outlining the work of the Police Review Board (PRB) and IPR's goals, and reduced the size of an
already hard-to-read chart showing five years' worth of complaint data. On the plus side, the new Report, which can
be found at
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/article/730065, includes a table of contents (something Portland
Copwatch noted was missing last year), slightly expands its reporting on deadly force, and uses almost all the same
headings and graphs from 2017 making it easier to compare side by side. Yet, not only are some of the reported
numbers from last year changed without explanation, the data once again are a hodgepodge of raw numbers,
percentages and bar graphs with no specific information. The IPR inexplicably has two online "dashboards"
containing information related to the Report: one on misconduct complaints, and one on misconduct allegations.*-2 Because these data are updated continuously, and because IPR's Annual Reports refer
to cases investigated and
closed in a calendar year regardless of when they were filed, Portland Copwatch (PCW) continues to demand the
city's accountability office publish data tables to show the point-in-time information used to create the Report.*-3
Data Still Impossible to Double Check Due to Ever-Changing Online "Dashboard"
by Dan Handelman, Portland Copwatch May 23, 2019
Using the online dashboards, PCW was finally able to determine how many Force allegations were made and
Sustained (found out of policy) in 2017 and 2018: of 197 allegations made over the two years, only one was
sustained (in 2017). That's a 0.5% sustain rate-- half the overall rate since 2002 when IPR was created, which is
1.0% counting 32 Sustained findings against 2122 allegations filed by the Bureau (prior to 2014) and civilians.
The IPR seems not to understand these are the kinds of data the community is curious about. PCW refers to IPR
as "Independent" in quotes because they are unable to compel officers to testify, relying (i.e. being dependent
upon) the Bureau to do so. Most investigations (78%) are conducted by the Bureau's Internal Affairs division.
Interestingly, IPR has investigated 122 allegations of Force since starting its "independent" investigations in 2013,
and only one has been Sustained (0.8%). There are also still no case summaries for force or any other kinds of
allegations, whose inclusion in 2016 and earlier at least gave some idea what the officers were accused of doing.
The expanded section on deadly force includes a map from and a link to the IPR's dashboard for THAT
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/ois), noting there were three fatal and three non-fatal shootings and
one death in custody in 2018. However, they fail to note the last time there were seven deadly force incidents
involving the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) in one year was 2006, when James Chasse was killed. IPR also does
not mention the yearly report on Officer Involved Shootings they pay for and administer, which the OIR Group
published in February 2018.*-4 IPR briefly states six of the seven deadly force
subjects were white, but not the
race of the seventh--Patrick Kimmons, who was African American. As with last year's Report, the issue of police
interactions with persons in mental health crisis-- the key focus of the US Department of Justice Settlement
Agreement guiding PPB and IPR activities-- is not even mentioned, even though at least three of the people who
died (John Elifritz, Samuel Rice, and Richard Barry) were having some kind of mental health issues.
IPR also continues to marginalize its own Citizen Review Committee (CRC), which at one time had its own chapter
including photos and names of the (now) 11 member volunteer group. CRC now gets jammed into a half-page
section titled "What happened to appealed cases?", which for the second year in a row contains a factual error
about the outcome of complaints heard by CRC. (IPR has acknowledged the error and promises to fix it.)
As with the 2017 Report, IPR lists the most common allegations by percentage, leaving out Force, and not
comparing the list to previous years. They also note there are once again more complainants who identify as
African American, only saying they are represented at "about four times that of white complainants compared to the
Portland population." The dashboard data show this means 22% of complainants who gave their race (61 of 278)
were African American in a city which is just 6% black. Further analysis of the Latinx population being under-
represented was cut from the 2017 Report, even though the text indicates that is still true-- 4% rather than 10% of
complainants identified as Latinx.
In 2017, IPR reported how many times the PRB suggested officers be disciplined, with language indicating not all
recommendations were accepted. In the new Report, IPR wisely went back to reporting on how many officers
_received_ discipline, even noting the most common reasons were Unprofessional Conduct and Improper
Procedure. That said, there is no indication once again of whether the Chief and/or Police Commissioner agreed
with PRB findings, nor whether they explained any changes as required by City Code.
The advantage of IPR repeating its layout is the ease by which interested persons can compare one year's Report to
the last, but discrepancies in data continue to (mostly) go unexplained. Key examples include:
--On page 15, it says 10% of allegations were Sustained in 2018 compared to 12% in 2017, but 2017's Report gave
that figure as 13%.
--On page 6, it shows PPB members filed 45 complaints in 2017 and 53 in 2016, though those numbers were 43
and 46 respectively last year.
--On page 7, in commenting how the Bureau received more commendations this year (179), they show last year's
number to be 116, though the last report said that number was 110.
None of this is earth-shattering, but it calls into question the reliability of IPR's data and makes for a difficult time
in tracking data from year to year. The closest IPR got to explaining any changes is a new sentence on the next to
last page of the Report which says "investigations can start in one calendar year and be completed in another."
On the subject of Sustained allegations, PCW noted last year that IPR finally began expressing the "sustain rate"
from allegations rather than cases, which generates a lower, more realistic number. However, the 10% rate
mentioned this year represents 36 out of 368 allegations which were fully investigated, ignoring that 1109
allegations came in to IPR and IA during the year. In other words, the actual rate is 3.3% (slightly lower than last
year's 3.6%). Numerically speaking, 36 allegations means one more allegation was Sustained than last year's 35.
Tracking complaints also became much more complicated with a legal change in the way Non-Disciplinary
Complaints, which are too minor to result in discipline, are handled. They were previously referred as "Service
Improvement Opportunities" (SIOs), where an officer's Supervisor talked to the officer about what happened and
then let the complainant know that occurred. Staring in July, such cases were handled as "Supervisory
Investigations" (SIs) where the complaint could be "Substantiated" or "Not Substantiated." On page 14, the Report
says Internal Affairs handled 29 cases as SIOs but also shows SIs representing about 10% of cases IA processed,
a subset of the 68% which were investigated. Were nine cases (10% of the 90 IA investigated) handled as SIs?
Does that figure lead to the dashboard's total of 51 cases handled as SIOs/SIs? Your guess is as good as PCW's.
Part of the confusion is that IPR's Reports are inconsistent about whether data are expressed as raw numbers (pp.
6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 15 and 17) or percentages (pp. 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16). Ideally they could show both, with one
number inside of a graph's line and one outside. The above-mentioned table showing five year trends in allegations
(p. 12) still has raw numbers in increments of 50 along the side, but no numbers associated with exactly how many
complaints were filed in each broad category. For the record, the dashboard indicates these numbers are: Procedure
384, Conduct 364, Courtesy 217, Force 80, Disparate Treatment 32 and Control 8. Oddly, that adds up to 1085
allegations, even though the Report says the total is 1109.
Also slightly confusing is figuring out how many cases were dismissed, or as it is now called "administratively
closed." Last year, IPR stopped being the sole point of intake for complaints, so rather than them deciding whether
to send cases to IA, IA received 64 complaints directly. Added to the 351 which came to IPR, the total for 2018 is
415 (p. 14). IPR states their dismissal rate was down to 56%, implying they dismissed 196 cases. They report IA
closed an additional 11 cases, so the overall dismissal rate was, by our count, 50%, lower than IPR's rate left to their
own devices. That is the lowest dismissal rate since 2003, but not as low as the mere 42% of cases closed without
disposition in 2002, IPR's first year. Also, as PCW noted last year, the DOJ Agreement requires the City to
investigate all allegations of Use of Force, so the dismissal rate generally fell 10 to 20 percentage points from
2011-2014 to 2015-2018.
With that in mind, the likelihood a person's case will be fully investigated once it comes through the door seems to
be increasing. Last year PCW noted 61 of 396 cases-- 15%-- were investigated, giving a person about a one in six
chance of their complaint being follow up. That number didn't include 20 IPR investigations, so the actual odds
were 1 in 5 (20% chance), a figure which prior to 2014 and the DOJ Agreement was usually one in 10 or worse.
This year, 115 of the 415 cases were investigated (90 at IA, 25 at IPR), raising the likelihood to 28% or a two in
seven chance of getting a case investigated.
It's also notable IPR changed its procedures years ago to examine Tort Claims and Lawsuits for possible
allegations to be investigated, and the DOJ Agreement requires that any jury finding of liability be reopened as
administrative inquiries to see if new information arose-- yet there is no mention of lawsuits or how many
complaints were opened because of them in the Report.
Overall, while the IPR continues to talk about its "transparency" in the "Highlights" section (p. 3), the gaping holes
in the Annual Report and the fact that even spending hours sifting through their "dashboard" data, the numbers do
not add up prove otherwise.
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CONTINUING CONCERNS: DRAWING OUTSIDE THE LINES ON DISMISSALS AND
Portland Copwatch has repeatedly tried to make IPR and the Bureau understand that some of their actions deepen
community distrust in the oversight system. While it continues to be of concern that IPR dismisses so many
complaints, they also seem to be using one criterion which was removed from City Code to do so: "cannot prove
misconduct." PCW complained for years that one needs a crystal ball to know whether an investigation would turn
up the evidence to prove what happened. Though it used to be relied on much more heavily-- as much as 27% of
the time-- it was only used twice in 2018, showing up as 1% of dismissals on p. 12.*-5
But it wasn't used at all in
2017 after the Code change, leading to the question of why IPR used this criterion at all. City Code 3.21.120(C)(4)
lists only eight reasons IPR can dismiss cases, but IPR uses at least 13, four of which were not used in 2018.*-6
Last year PCW noted the Citizen Review Committee started examining IPR's dismissals to see if they were acting
appropriately sometime in 2011, but because the report was never finalized they dropped the issue in 2018.
The most commonly used reason was the complaint as filed did not describe misconduct ("No Misconduct"),
which was used in 55% of the dismissals, or 111 times. This was followed by the inability to identify the officer
involved, at 18% (which indicates 36 cases but the dashboard says 31), and 16% because of the complainant
withdrawing (2 times) or being "unavailable" (30 times), both used at higher rates than in the past. The complaint
was filed too late 3% of the time (7 times). IPR lumps the rest of the categories together making up the remaining
7%.*-7 For the record they are:
--Other remedy (such as, could be resolved in court) 10 times/5%
However, when a person goes to court to fight a ticket or to sue police, the officer isn't held accountable
administratively. PCW counts 138 cases over 8 years dismissed for this reason, meaning some or all of those
officers may have gotten away with misconduct.
--Clear and convincing evidence the officer did not engage in misconduct: 5 times/2%
This is a high standard and is the only reason IPR is allowed to dismiss force cases.
--Complainant not reliable or credible 3 times/1%
Clearly a subjective category, in City Code this is described as a complaint which is "trivial, frivolous or not made
in good faith." Though this was used 7-15 times between 2011 and 2016, its use is more limited now.
--"Lack of jurisdiction."
This category is not listed in the Report or the dashboard as one of the reasons for IPR dismissals in 2018.
In terms of the outcomes of cases, PCW has also expressed repeated concerns about how the Bureau's definition
for one of its four possible findings on allegations is demeaning to complainants. It's not IPR's fault they define
"Unfounded" as "false or without a credible basis as a possible violation of Bureau policy or procedures" instead
of the 2007 Internal Affairs definition of "The available facts of the investigation do not support the allegation" --
but they could work to change it. The old definition did not make it seem the complainant is being called a liar.
Regardless, "Unfounded" is used a ridiculously high 20% of the time (slightly down from 22% in 2017). As noted
above, allegations were only "Sustained" 10% of the time. Additionally, 29% of findings were "Exonerated" (the
officer's actions were within policy), up from 21% in 2017. The Bureau has continued its trend of using "Not
Sustained" (insufficient evidence) more than any other finding, which makes sense since many incidents boil down
to "he said/she said." That finding was used 41% of the time in 2018, still up from the 18% level in 2014. IPR
again does not indicate anywhere-- in the Report or on the dashboard-- if any of the non-Sustained findings
included debriefings for the officers.
IPR notes that starting in July, IPR and IA investigators now attach proposed findings to their investigations, and
Supervisors have to explain in writing if they disagree (p. 2, echoed in the flowchart on p. 4). It is not clear if the
Supervisor's disagreement automatically leads to a Police Review Board hearing, however the Report now clarifies
IPR can send cases to the PRB if they disagree with proposed findings (p. 5). The Report doesn't say how many
times such disagreements happened, or how they were resolved. In the section about cases sent to IA which
explains the findings, the text states the Supervisor decides on the finding if "the evidence supports an
allegation."*-8 Also, notably, complainants are allowed to "protest" dismissals from
IPR, but the data on how often
that happens has not been included in a Report since 2015.
Once again the Report does not show how often different kinds of allegations are Sustained. As noted above, no
Force allegations were Sustained in 2018. Neither were any of the 25 Disparate Treatment allegations made by
civilians*-9-- which is not surprising as only one such allegation has been found out of
policy, in 2007. Because
of the quirks of the dashboard, only 13 of the 36 allegations Sustained in 2018 are accounted for: 1 Courtesy, 4
Conduct, and 8 Procedure.
IPR also has not reported on the outcomes of their own investigations since 2016. As noted above, only 0.8% of
Force allegations they investigated have ever been Sustained. The dashboard shows none of the 57 allegations IPR
investigated in 2018 were Sustained (of 19 Conduct, 14 Procedure, 9 Disparate Treatment, 9 Courtesy, 4 Force and
2 Control allegations).
While less severe since they started including the "sustain rate" for allegations rather than cases, IPR continues to
give community members too much confidence their complaint will be validated. There is not a 1 in 10 chance as
their 10% figure implies, it is actually a one in 30 chance (only 3.3% of all allegations are Sustained, as noted
above). But, since that figure used to be closer to 1 in 50, things are slightly improved over the past.
Cases brought against officers not involving members of the community are investigated as "B-cases" (Bureau-
initiated).*-10 IPR cannot explain why the number of such complaints nearly doubled
in 2018, from 43 to 77
(though, as mentioned above, the 2017 number is now given as 45). As usual, the Bureau attaches Sustained
findings more often to these cases than when a civilian files or is involved, with 49% of allegations Sustained.
While clearly higher than the 10% of "C-cases," this is a drop from 65% in 2016 and 52% in 2017. Findings of
"Not Sustained" made up 30% of Bureau-initiated allegation findings, up from 25%*-
11, with Exonerated staying
roughly the same at 10%. Unfounded findings also were used at a similar rate of 11%, which means they find
officers' stories are not credible half as often as community members'. The raw number of Sustained allegations
was 45, the same number as was given for 2017. Thus, IPR's title for the chart "Police Supervisors Sustained
Fewer Allegations filed by police Bureau Employees in 2018 than 2017" is incorrect based on the numbers in the
Reports. The percentage is lower, but that is because the 45 findings in 2017 were out of 86 allegations and in
2018 the Bureau made 92 total findings.
Confusing the issue of how many cases were investigated, the text on p. 15 indicates 65 cases of 77 which were
sent to Internal Affairs were investigated, 55 by IA, eight by IPR and two by Supervisors. But if that's the case,
those are Supervisory Investigations, which have only two possible findings and should be separated out from fully
investigated cases. Moreover, the attached chart shows there were _three_ Supervisory Investigations, making the
enterprise even more confusing (IPR has also promised to fix this error). For the record, of the 12 cases which
were not investigated, as noted above 11 were declined (administratively closed), and one was treated as an SIO.
One final point of confusion between the 2017 and 2018 Reports: The text states IPR and IA completed 33 B-case
investigations, which they say is seven less than 2017-- even though 2017's Report says the two entities only
closed 32 cases that year (p. 16 of each Report). The new Report says that number is now 40, but if the decision to
include a finished case is whether it was completed in a certain calendar year, there is no reason that number should
change-- particularly not by adding an extra 25% to the total.
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CITIZEN REVIEW COMMITTEE CONTINUES GETTING SIDELINED
For the third year in a row, the abbreviated description of the Citizen Review Committee's activities were misleading
and inaccurate.*-12 The Report says CRC affirmed findings in two cases, challenged
some in a third case, added a
debriefing to a finding in a fourth after sending it for re-investigation, and was awaiting the outcome from a City
Council appeal in the fifth. While IPR's summary is an improvement from last year when they didn't even mention
the City Council hearing in February 2017*-13, the year covered by that Report, it is
still not correct.
In reality, CRC considered 19 allegations in five appeals. They challenged just seven of those allegations, meaning
they accepted the Bureau's findings 63% of the time.*-14 They successfully asked for
one allegation to be
changed to "Sustained"-- whether Officer Neil Parker failed to give a business card to the appellant in case 2018-x-
0003; the original finding was "Not Sustained" (insufficient evidence). In that same case, they also had two
findings changed from "Exonerated" (in policy) to "Not Sustained," regarding whether Lt. Leo Besner used
inappropriate force and failed to manage the confrontation properly. They also added a debriefing (talking-to by
the Supervisor) for Besner telling the complainant he could arrest her for not showing identification, to the finding
"Not Sustained." They originally asked for that to be "Sustained," but Chief Outlaw convinced five out of nine
voting members that "arrest" and "detain" had no substantial difference in meaning (even though that is not true
under the law). The final question in this case is whether Parker retaliated against the Appellant expressing
disapproval of his armored vehicle by ordering Besner to give her a jaywalking ticket, which the CRC sought to
Sustain but the Chief disagreed, triggering another Council hearing.*-15 In another
case (2018-x-0004), they did
add a debriefing to an allegation that Officer David Hughes used excessive force when he violently pushed a
National Lawyers Guild legal observer with no warning during a protest. For the final case they heard in 2018
(2018-x-0005), they did not "challenge some" findings, but rather asked the Chief to Sustain an allegation of
Untruthfulness against Sgt. Erin Smith for saying he could arrest that Appellant for recording police actions, even
though Smith knew that was not true. CRC later reported the Chief accepted the finding, which could lead to
Also, since CRC's power to send cases back for more investigation derives in part from the DOJ Agreement, it
might be worth noting they sent back two of the cases (2018-x-0001 and 2018-x-0004) and that a Use of Force
finding was changed from "Unfounded" to "Exonerated" by the Bureau after reinvestigation in x-0001. In that
case, a man said officers used inappropriate violence against him when he mistakenly drove his car down the exit
ramp at Central Precinct. The secondary investigation found the officer did use Force but the Bureau thought it was
in policy. The case in which no findings changed (2018-x-0002) involved an appellant who was incarcerated and
so could not attend the CRC hearing, but the Bureau found his abrasions and cracked ribs were not necessarily due
to Officer A taking him to the ground when he wouldn't leave a bar. The finding was "Exonerated with a
debriefing," so at least the officer received a talking-to.
In sum, here's IPR's description with the reality in parentheses:
--Affirmed findings in two cases (true in 2018-x-0002,
however the Bureau changed one finding after CRC
asked them to reinvestigate case 2018-x-0001).
--Challenged some findings in one case
(actually, CRC successfully challenged the sole finding in 2018-x-0005)
--Added a debriefing in one case
--Is awaiting the outcome of the other case at City Council (while this is true,
CRC successfully challenged four and accepted six of the Bureau's findings
in case 2018-x-0003).
IPR continues to describe the standard of review used by the Citizen Review Committee as deciding whether
findings are "reasonable based on the evidence" (p. 16). The actual standard asks whether a reasonable person
could make the same finding based on the evidence, instructing CRC they can't stray from the Bureau's decision if
they disagree with it, only if a reasonable person could not come to the same finding. CRC continues its efforts to
change the standard to "preponderance of the evidence" which is used by every other entity in the system, except
City Council. IPR also continues to claim CRC is not allowed to hear appeals of deadly force cases, even though
the ordinance does not specifically say that.
While IPR finally did make mention of CRC's Deadly Force Work Group, there was no mention of their Crowd
Control, Outreach or Recurring Audit committees, nor the fact that they held a retreat. The Deadly Force Work
Group issued a formal report with one recommendation: to emphasize de-escalation in the Force Directive. The
IPR Report states "The Police Chief accepted the recommendations [sic]," implying (a) that there was more than
one and (b) that the CRC's action made a difference. But in reality, the Directive had already been modified to put
de-escalation into section 1 before CRC's report was finalized. It would not have taken too much more room for
IPR to describe the substance of CRC's recommendation in addition to the link to the report the published by itself.
Because IPR doesn't focus on the individual members of CRC, they did not note that only one member resigned in
2018 (Roberto Rivera) while two others let their terms expire (Kiosha Ford and Michael Luna). The departing
members were replaced by Albert Lee, Jihane Nami and Kayla Wade, putting the CRC back at having seven female
and four male members. No members are over the age of 50 so far as PCW can tell, a stark departure from when
CRC was mostly made up of retirees, and a problem in the other direction in terms of diversity of age
Finally, in addition to the question of how the Police Review Board functions not being presented clearly, IPR cut a
previous reference to the fact that one CRC member sits on PRBs for deadly force and other serious cases.
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OFFICER DISCIPLINE AND POLICE REVIEW BOARD
This year, the section titled "How were officers disciplined?" actually answers that question--sort of. It says 39
officers were disciplined, but three of them resigned or retired during the investigation.*-
16 Thus, only 36 officers
were actually disciplined, however, past tables have included resignations as outcomes of discipline investigations
so PCW is using figure of 39 for consistency. The Report only gives figures for one year. The number given for
2017 was 28 (though that was based on Police Review Board recommendations), for 2016 it was 32, for 2015 it
was 28, and for 2014 it was 41.
The Report shows most of the officers found guilty of misconduct (20, or 51%) were given the mildest
punishment, known as "Command Counseling." For comparison this was used 18 times in 2016 (a comparable
56%) but only recommended in 2 cases (7% of the time) in 2017.
The second most frequently used discipline was time off without pay. While this can range from 10 hours to 180
days, the new chart only accounts for 10-40 hours off, presumably because no officers received a harsher
punishment with the exception of one who was terminated. Suspension without pay was used in nine cases, or 23%
of the time. Again, PCW notes for comparison that figure was 64% in recommended findings in 2017. The one
fired officer is far less than the six fired in 2017.
Next most often used were Letters of Reprimand, the second least serious discipline, used six times (15%), a
"punishment" used only 4% of the time in 2017 but a comparable 13-15% in 2015-2016.
And, while the community now knows (as mentioned above) most discipline was due to Conduct and Procedure
complaints, it would be helpful to know specifically what kinds of behaviors led to the time off and the termination.
The PRB's semi-annual reports-- which used to come out in January and July but were released in September and
December last year-- give a case by case summary of recommended and final discipline, but no running tallies.
Moreover, since those reports are held up until after the discipline is imposed, cases could be a year or two old
before they are published. That said, the PRB reports in 2018 showed that of 34 officers who received discipline,
six were terminated, one was demoted, two resigned, two retired, four got 80-120 hours off without pay, 14 got 10-
40 hours off without pay, three got Command Counseling and two got a Letter of Reprimand. The reporting is
staggered in a confusing way, making it hard to connect what IPR is saying to what the PRB reports show.
And while IPR continues to describe the PRB as including "community members," it fails to indicate that only one
civilian from a pool of 16 people sits on most Review Boards, with one CRC member added in rarer, more serious
cases. Thus, no two civilian members of the PRB are ever in the same room at the same time, making the idea of
community involvement questionable.*-17 The majority of PRB members are Bureau
members-- three on five-
member Boards and four on seven-member Boards. The last voting member is an IPR staff person, which again
would suggest this Report should contain more details about the PRB as it did last year, if minimally and with
some confusing results.
IPR dropped its data regarding how many times the PRB recommended Sustained findings, which they said was
67% of the time in 2017 and 78% in 2016. It's not clear if this is due to the elimination of the PRB section, or
because PCW has repeatedly pointed out that most cases get sent to the PRB because they already contained
proposed Sustained findings. Only in six deadly force and two other cases did the PRB not have Sustained
findings per the 2018 reports, so IPR's figure might have been 80%-- if these were only cases from 2018.
IPR also does not mention the PRB is able to make recommendations to the Bureau, which happened in 22 out of
40 cases covered in the 2018 PRB reports. PCW continues to ask IPR to publish a tracking list of those
recommendations, as they did for OIR Group recommendations on deadly force in February.*-18
There were seven deadly force incidents in 2018, but the six deadly force incidents covered in the PRB reports
were from 2016 and 2017. IPR should report out how many such hearings are held each year and the results
(which almost invariably are to find officers "In Policy").
IPR's Report also doesn't talk about how often cases went to the PRB because of a "controverted" finding by IA,
IPR or an Assistant Chief. It appears four of the 40 cases in PRB reports went due to Assistant Chiefs
controverting proposed findings by Supervisors, with five other cases which were headed to the PRB anyway
additionally contained controverted findings. The IPR Report also makes no mention of whether PRB utilized its
powers (per the DOJ Agreement) to request more investigation be done before making recommended findings.
PCW has repeatedly noted that PRB reports go overboard in redacting information such as names, genders, ranks,
and sometimes details, making them hard to follow.
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MOST COMMON ALLEGATIONS: CATEGORIES KEEP CHANGING
PCW has tried to regularly track how the most common allegations vary from year to year, made difficult when the
2016 Report did not include those data. IPR resumed showing those data in 2017 and carried it over into the new
Report, though numbers are still expressed in percentages. As noted above, IPR's dashboard indicates there were
either 77 or 80 Force allegations in 2018, so it should be listed at #4, in the same way it should have been listed as
#2 in 2017.*-19 PCW inserted Force in the number four spot in our chart showing
five year trends at
http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/top_allegations_2018.jpg , for which we used the dashboard to obtain
and the missing ranks for 2016.*-20 Notably, Rudeness dropped from its usual #1 or
#2 spot to #3 in 2018.
This year's top five (with allegation numbers gleaned from the dashboard) are:
#1--Inadequate Action or Assistance-15% (#1 last year, #1 or #2 for every year since 2009). 165 allegations.
#2--Unprofessional Conduct-9% (#3 last year) 104 allegations.
#3--Rudeness-8% (#2 last year and #1 or #2 every year 2009-2015). 92 allegations.
#4--Inadequate or Improper Investigation-6% (#4 last year, #3 or #4 every year 2013-2017). 63 allegations.
#5--Inadequate/Unjustified Arrest/Citation-5% (under a similar name, this was #5 in 2013). 54 allegations.
The dashboard also has categories which apparently combine various allegations into "Conduct-other" and
"Courtesy-other." The Conduct category shows 111 allegations which should make it the #3 most common.
Courtesy tied for #8 along with "Unwilling to Listen" and "Untruthfulness" at 35 allegations each. Improper
Procedure (which we assume is the same as Procedure-other) rounds out the top 10 at #6 with 47 allegations.
Older Reports also used to analyze what kinds of complaints were made by people of different demographic
backgrounds, but those data are no longer being printed.
It seems completely arbitrary that IPR shows one year of data for the top allegations from the community and the
Bureau, IPR investigations (all on p. 13), deadly force incidents (p. 2), demographics of complainants (p. 8),
Bureau Divisions responsible for complaints (p. 9), officers with multiple complaints (p. 10), reasons for closing
cases and intake decisions (pp. 11-12), what IA did with community cases (p. 14) and discipline (p. 17) while
showing two year trends for community and Bureau complaint outcomes, and what IA did with Bureau cases (all
on pp. 15-16), while using five year trends for commendations (p. 7), IPR dismissal rates (p. 11) and number of
community allegation types (p. 12). It's as though their interest in varying the look of each chart outweighed the
consistency of analyzing trends.*-21 Or, perhaps a graphic designer threw up on their
computer while the layout
software randomly generated the Report.
IPR jettisoned a chart from last year comparing the difference between what community members complain about
vs. what officers complain about. However, they do note the top Bureau allegations are "Professional Conduct and
Courtesy" at 25% (it's not clear why these are combined for B-cases and not C-cases), "Laws, Rules and Orders"
at 13%, "Satisfactory Performance" at 12%, Truthfulness at 10% (PCW notes here this made up 3% of community
allegations), and Dissemination of Information (presumably confidential information which was not supposed to
be sent out) at 7%. IPR notes Conduct/Courtesy is the most common complaint but not that it was higher--
between 33% and 70% of B-cases-- in previous years.
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PORTLAND COPWATCH PRESENTS: DATA ON POLICE USE OF FORCE
Since IPR stopped reporting in detail about Force complaints in 2016, it has fallen on Portland Copwatch to inform
the public about what is going on.
In addition to the information provided above, it may be of interest to know:
--According to the Bureau's Quarterly Force Reports, in 2018, there were 898 cases involving Use of Force. While
recognizing several community member allegations could apply to the same case, most cases involve more than one
application of Force, as the total applications in 2018 were 3067. Dividing up the 898 cases by 80 allegations gives
us the rough idea that 9% or about one in 11 people subjected to force is filing a complaint. This is down from
13% in 2016, but that may be in part because the definition of force changed in August, 2017, leading to more
--The reason IPR does not list Force as the #4 highest allegation type is that they separate out force into
subcategories. Here is what IPR's dashboard says the 80 allegations were about: "Other-force" (hovering over this
does not help explain what it means)- 24 allegations; Hands/Feet/Knees-19; Takedown or Other Impact-11; Impact
Munition-7; Striking Instrument (baton, flashlight etc.)-5; Display/Use of Firearm-4; Taser-3; Restraints-3;
Pointing Firearm-3 and Force Reporting-1.
PCW has previously noted how former Auditor Gary Blackmer touted that the number of shootings and deaths in
custody went down after IPR began operating in late 2001. However, the average of four shootings/deaths a year
has now gone up to 5, with exactly 25 incidents over the past five years.
One interesting tidbit based on the inclusion of a map of the 2018 incidents: They are clustered in two areas, with
five close in to downtown and two in far southeast near I-205.
The OIR Group's 2019 report included information on all the incidents they have reviewed between 2010 and the
present, revealing that 55% of the incidents occurring before 2012 when the DOJ report was issued involved
people in mental health crisis, but that number went up to 65% in the years afterward. Since IPR and CRC are
required to follow up on issues raised by the annual shootings reports (City Code 3.21.070 [L]) it is unfortunate
that Portland Copwatch is the only organization calling attention to this tragedy.
Also in 2016 and before, IPR noted the DOJ Agreement requires all Force allegations to be investigated, unless
they find "clear and convincing evidence" there was no misconduct. The dismissal rate for Force allegations is not
listed in the 2018 Report. That number was 6% in 2016 following years when it was as high as 70%. The
dashboard indicates 29 of the 80 Force allegations were closed in 2018, a rate of 36%. Reasons given were
inability to identify the officer (16), "other remedy" which, as noted above, is kind of bogus (6), complainant
unavailable (4) and no misconduct was described (3).
Also noted above, the Report once again claims people cannot appeal deadly force cases to CRC, but PCW thinks
IPR's reasoning should be included. The City claims the automatic nature of administrative investigations into
shootings precludes anyone from being able to file a complaint, and thus the IA looking into deadly force is called
a "review." The Police Review Board can only find officers' actions "In Policy" or "Out of Policy" rather than
using the four findings used for all other kinds of allegations. PCW recently took part in the nine year memorial
for Keaton Otis, bringing back the memory that Otis' father Fred Bryant tried to appeal the "In Policy" findings for
his son being shot 23 times by the PPB, but was rejected by IPR.
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WHAT ELSE DID IPR DO?*-22
The Report shows IPR took on 22% of misconduct cases in 2018 which were investigated, which is about average.
The 25 cases included:
9 about Disparate Treatment (which previously was 4 in 2017 and 9 in 2016),
7 about PPB members with the rank of Captain or higher (previously 4 and 5),
4 about protests (down from 9 and 10),
2 at the Director's discretion (same as 2017, lower than 4 in 2016),
1 about Force (same as the previous two years)
and two new categories-- one Mayor's request and one about Retaliation.
PCW continues to urge IPR to state the nature of the "Director's discretion" cases since they are supposed to be
based on incidents of concern to the community. Also, the Director lists IPR investigations in monthly reports to
the CRC, giving case numbers but not the reason IPR decided to investigate rather than leaving it to the Bureau.
As noted above, IPR's independent investigations did not lead to any Sustained findings in 2018. Their dashboard
indicates IPR has investigated a total of 433 allegations filed by community members from 2013-2018. In those
six years, there have been 35 Sustained findings, or 8% of investigated allegations, lower than the average of 21%
of all Sustained allegations in that same time. Of the 35 findings, 12 were Procedure, 12 were Courtesy, 10 were
Conduct, and one was Force.
As in past years, there is no explanation for why the total number of complaints (351) and commendations (179)
add up to far less than the number of contacts IPR reports having with the public. With 1663 total contacts, this
leaves 1133 contacts unexplained (a number which was 997 last year when there were 1503 contacts).
IPR also facilitated 3 civilians sitting down with officers and professional facilitators for Mediations (per the
dashboard). PCW has noted that IPR barely mentions the existence of the Mediation program, which could
actually go further in changing officer behavior than dismissing cases and exonerating officers in so many cases.
Mediation is briefly mentioned in the flowchart of how the system works on p. 5 and then noted as the outcome for
1% of complaints on p. 11, with no further discussion or explanation-- including that figure falling from 2% in
2017. There are some caveats to Mediation-- Force allegations are not allowed to be mediated, and a person cannot
ask for an investigation once Mediation is over. However, Portland Copwatch supports this program, with members
participating in Mediations both under IPR and its predecessor system, PIIAC.*-23
Although IPR has a full-time Outreach staff person, similar to CRC, Outreach has gone from having its own entire
chapter to one small subsection. Almost the entirety of this year's "Outreach raised awareness in the community"
section is taken word for word from the 2017 Report. A table listing the names of organizations disappeared,
perhaps in part because PCW pointed out a number of mistakes in the last chart. The vague description of outreach
done at "events, festivals, forums, conferences, neighborhood events, schools, community organizations and
churches" talks about sharing information on the IPR system and "listening to community members' views on
policing," but gives no specific examples.
IPR also has a responsibility to help all complaints move through the system in no more than 180 days under the
DOJ Agreement. They used to include complex tables showing various elements of investigations and the average
time each took. Now the only mention of timeliness in the Report is in the opening "Highlights" section, where
they note IPR's intake process went down from a median of 33 days in 2017 to 26 days in 2018 (also reflected in a
graphic on the same page). However, again as a result of not being consistent in showing five years of data, IPR
fails to mention that number was 25 days in 2016.
The inside front cover lists IPR staff as they were in 2018, though Director Constantin Severe left at the beginning
of April 2019 and PCW understands that the two Assistant Directors, Anika Bent-Albert and Rachel Mortimer, are
also leaving. The Annual Report was announced in a news release signed by Interim Director Amanda Lamb. IPR
notes they hired two new investigators and one new analyst in a subsection on p. 3. One of the new investigators is
former PPB Captain Vince Elmore, an odd choice as it was tacitly understood IPR would not hire former PPB
officers as investigators. Analyst KC Jones, who was solely responsible for the last Report, now has another
analyst, Molly Christmann, working with him.
The Report says hiring the new staff helped "increase IPR's capacity to improve police accountability through
public reports and policy recommendations." While it is true they released two sets of policy recommendations, it's
not clear those improved accountability. Their analysis of the June 2017 protest in which police attacked anti-
fascist protestors focused on the unlawful "kettling" of protestors and ignored the violence used. Three months
later, the PPB launched a more violent attack during a similar protest. IPR's report on why so few women and
people of color are hired by the PPB led to recommendations that the City's Human Resources department share
more data, not any increase in recruitment (or accountability, for that matter).
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OFFICERS AND DIVISIONS WHICH GENERATE THE MOST COMPLAINTS
IPR no longer compares the number of officers named in complaints across multiple years. The new Report notes
the 376 officers who received community complaints represents a larger number than the 325 in 2017. However,
the range from 2009-2017 has been between 325 and 397, with 370 who received complaints in 2016, so this is not
necessarily an indication of anything. In the past five years, the average number of officers receiving two
complaints has been 84, but that number was 99 in 2018. Officers with three complaints or more averaged 40 per
year, and it was 45 in 2018. Perhaps worth highlighting is that one officer was the subject of six complaints,
something which has only happened with four other officers in the last eight years. For the third year running, IPR
notes officers with multiple complaints "should cause supervisors to intervene." PCW has asked previously why
Supervisors would not do so, and whether IPR tracks how often this happens. The answer to the first question is
now available: two recent Compliance Officer/Community Liaison reports on implementation of the DOJ
Agreement indicate Supervisors were afraid officers would think being called in amounted to a form of discipline,
and only called in officers 3%-11% of the time when they were flagged for multiple complaints.*-24
The Report also shows how many officers from which Bureau Division generate complaints. Similar to the
shootings data, this year introduced a map showing the geographic boundaries of the North, East and Central
Precincts to highlight these as the recipients of 80% of complaints (333- 130/Central, 114/East, 89/North). An inset
shows how many complaints came from Traffic (20), Detectives (6) and "Unknown" Divisions (16), with 7 from
"mass events" (likely protests). There are 33 complaints unaccounted for, perhaps attributable to Tactical
Operations, Transit, and others who used to be listed in more in-depth reports.
For the second year, IPR included a chart showing the average number of complaints per officer in the top four
Divisions. The "winner" this year was Central Precinct with just over one complaint per 129 officers in their
command, up from second place in 2017 and a 33% increase in the per-officer average. Second was East, with a
just slightly lower rate of 0.97 complaints per officer (down from 1.08 last year), followed by North (up from .61
complaints to .85 per cop) and Traffic. Traffic's increase from .37 complaints per cop to .77 is misleading, because
although complaints went up from 13 to 20, the Division was cut from 35 people to 26 people. So there was a 53%
increase in complaints but a 208% increase in complaints per officer. Again, this is the kind of thing IPR could put
in their Report if they showed an intellectual curiosity.
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OTHER LAYOUT ISSUES AND OMISSIONS
PCW continues to urge IPR to consider these Reports as important tools for community members concerned with
police conduct and accountability, as well as for researchers both within Portland and from around the country.
Eugene's police review agency, which has a much smaller staff and caseload, has more details in its 14-page report
than IPR's, and includes a detailed summary of every major and minor complaint they processed in two appendices
totalling 38 more pages.*-25
IPR's Reports would also be more meaningful and more human-oriented if they were to go back to including
narratives about specific cases so people know the kinds of misconduct being alleged and what is being found out
PCW can't repeat enough that there should be data expressed on each table in the Report both as percentages and
numbers, with the full tables included as an Appendix so trends can be examined from year to year. The ever-
changing dashboards make it more important to print the data which were used to generate the printed reports or
risk making IPR seem incompetent.
Also, there was a rumor IPR would once again start asking complainants how they felt about their experience with
the accountability system, but that survey (which was done in years prior to 2012) has not emerged. IPR does not
even include the question which once appeared in the Auditor's annual survey asking whether Portlanders think the
system is adequate. An organization interested in self-improvement (not to mention interested in improving
ANOTHER agency) should ask people using their system what they think.
Finally, IPR's Report just kind of ends on p. 17 with no conclusion, no goals for IPR for the coming year, and no
note the Director has left after a decade on staff. Even data hungry folks like Portland Copwatch know it's
important to come to some kind of end note.
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In the time period after IPR released its Annual Report, the pending Citizen Review Committee appeal was heard at
City Council. For the first time in its 17.5 year history, the IPR/CRC system was flexed to its most powerful
extreme: a majority of Council voted to Sustain a complaint against an officer. Rather than praise the volunteer
community Committee members and his colleagues for their thoughtful analysis of the case, Mayor/Police
Commissioner Ted Wheeler complained about the process, sounding upset he had lost on a 3-1 vote. The
implication is that the Council has too much authority in deciding the fate of an employee. The history of how and
why Portland has an oversight system for government agents who have the power to detain, arrest, injure and even
kill members of the community seemed to escape the Mayor's grasp. Looking at the track record-- one Sustained
finding out of 8708 complaints filed in those years, roughly 1% of Force allegations found out of policy, and little
to no accountability in deadly force cases-- an objective observer might conclude the system is far too weak.
Last year we compared IPR's Annual Report to a corporate brochure. Portland Copwatch is made up of all
volunteers, and does not have the capacity to produce the fancy graphical report which IPR should have, but the
substance of this analysis should be a clarion call to fellow community members that we must demand better of our
"Independent" oversight system.
A perfect storm also pushes these Reports out of the public eye: The Auditor, who oversees IPR, does not want to
put the Reports before City Council, and the Mayor, whose Police Bureau is under (mild) scrutiny in the Reports,
does not allow public testimony when _any_ reports make their way to Council hearings. IPR does not even
regularly present its quarterly, annual or policy reports to the Citizen Review Committee-- nor does it ask for their
input on them.
This year's PCW analysis is 11 pages long analyzing 17 pages.*-26 If IPR made
more thorough Reports and
published the associated data, our analyses could be much shorter and, likely, would be more praiseworthy just on
the transparency aspect alone.
The Portland Police continue to harm persons of color, people with mental health issues, protestors, and other
vulnerable people in the community with apparent impunity. The fact that most of the Sustained findings are for
Improper Procedure, rather than more serious issues, shows there is a disconnect between what police are allowed
to do and what the community expects.
Nonetheless, it is still important for community members to file complaints and navigate the system, in order to
generate the data showing why a stronger and more empowered review system would benefit Portland. As noted
elsewhere and last year, the Portland Police Association contract puts limitations on what IPR and CRC can do, and
those elements must be eliminated in the upcoming contract negotiations before June 2020.
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*1-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.
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*2-The complaints data are at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/77205, while the
allegations data are at
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*3-Data tables from 2016 are posted at
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*4-The 2018 report can be found at
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/article/686071 ; OIR also published a
report in January 2019 which is at
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*5-Once again, the chart only shows percentages, numbers used by PCW here are from the dashboard.
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*6-"Third party complaint," "Deminimis," "Previously adjudicated" and "Officer resigned" were not used in 2018.
Perhaps this is a sign IPR is not using these any more.
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*7-These numbers add up to 18, or 9%, not 7%, another quirk of the dashboard.
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*8-IPR seems to studiously avoid using the term "preponderance of the evidence" which is the standard they, IA ,
the Bureau and the PRB all must use to decide if the finding is supported by the evidence.
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*9-number from the dashboard, not the Report
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*10-As noted before, 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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*11-though the Not Sustained rate was given as 21% in 2017.
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*12-IPR corrected its Report based on Portland Copwatch's comments last year.
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*13-But IPR's flowcharts and text describing the complaint system still do not indicate cases might go to City
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*14-Compared to 73% in 2017 and 47% in 2016.
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*15-On May 16, City Council voted 3-1 to Sustain the allegation, a historic first. PCW looks forward to reading
about this in IPR's Report for 2019.
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*16-The text of the 2017 Report said two officers resigned while under investigation in that year.
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*17-Not to mention that the media and community member who files a complaint, is shot at, or who survives losing
someone to deadly force are not allowed at PRB hearings.
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*18-However, IPR only did this at the request of City Council.
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*19-Force complaints were split into "Force-other" and "Hands/feet/knees" in 2016. While the original number
for Force allegations was given as 62 that year, those two categories combined added up to 93. PCW believes it
should have been the #2 allegation that year as well.
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*20-Though the 2017 numbers are based on estimates using the percentages given in that Report.
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*21-While, for instance, their interest in making the Report look different from year to year can be epitomized in
the chart answering "How does the complaint process work?" on p. 6 where the only change from 2017 to 2018 is
that the color changed from green to red.
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*22-Astute readers will note this is our only sub-head in the form of a question, a reference to IPR's very odd
format in which all of their chapters are titled with questions.
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*23-The Portland Internal Investigations Auditing Committee (1982-2001).
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*24-But the 11% represented only 5 officers out of 44 who were flagged in the time frame under review.
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*25-See the Eugene Independent Police Auditor's report at
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*26-Last year's analysis was 12 pages covering a 19 page IPR Report.
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Posted May 23, 2019