Chief Kroeker did not show up to the community forum arranged on 11/21. Participants had many questions for the chief based on a series of tapes that have recently been brought to the attention of Portland citizens. Following brief statements from a panel of citizens representing concerned organizations, an speakers' forum was opened up to attendants.
One speaker mentioned that Kroeker was unable to attend the forum because he had a meeting outside of Portland, but the moderator of the meeting had only mentioned that Koreker did not return phone calls.
A variety of community members, many from N and NE Portland, spoke about their dissatisfaction with the police force and specifically with Chief Kroeker. An African American woman detailed how her grandchildren, small 2 and 3 year olds, are scared when they see police officers. This is a direct result of the harrassment and racial profiling that is practiced by the Portland Police (and police in many other communities) every day.
Routinely young African American boys are questioned and made to drop to their knees on the pavement while police interrogate them, even if they have committed no crime.
A caucasian taxi driver shared two accouts of being pulled over by the police and questioned when the passenger was African American. In both of those instances, an officer knocked on the passenger side window to speak with the rider. In one of these situations when the driver tried to council the passenger that the Police could ask her questions but that she did not have to answer, the police threatened the driver and ticketed her. The charges were for not signalling 100 feet before a turn and for having a light out above the license plate.
Several speakers mentioned having this type of harassment occur for years and expressed concern over concentrating too much energy on eliminating Kroeker stating that his replacement could be just as much of a bigot. Many voices spoke up to advocate the need for a strong civilian review board.
At this point, it appears that Kroeker will attend the next meeting on December 11th.
The Police Accountability Campaign will hold a general meeting on 12/7 at 7:00 pm at Augustana Lutern Church (NE 15th and Knott). This group narrowly missed qualifying for an initiative on the November ballot to reform PIIAC, Portland's "Police Review Board" and plans to come back again in 2002.
Portland Copwatch promotes police accountability through citizen action. OFFICE: 503-236-3065, INCIDENT REPORTS: 503-321-5120, email@example.com.
Mayor Vera Katz 503-823-4120 firstname.lastname@example.org
City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Av, 97204