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EPD Declines FBI's Request to Interview US Attorney's List

Eugene Police Department declines to interview US Attorney General Ashcroft list without probable cause. Fifty people listed mostly from the 8-9 Middle East Countries.
11/21/01

EPD Decline FBI's request to Interview US Attorney's List
by Amy Pincus Merwin and Richard Kauffman

In response to a NY Times article, "Portland Police Won't Question Men on List", printed in today's Eugene Register Guard, we paid a visit to Eugene Police Department's PIO Pamela Alejandre. Officer Alejandre stated in this article, "We have an interest in doing whatever's necessary to protect national security interests. But we have concerns about the list, and we want to make sure those concerns are addressed."

According to her the list referred to in the newspaper is a list of approximately fifty individuals, mostly from Middle East backgrounds representing 8-9 different countries, that the US Justice department would like the Eugene Police Department to interview.

While the Eugene City Attorney reviews this request, the Eugene Police are joining the Portland Police Department in declining to conduct these interviews. Their perspective is that unless they have some clear criteria to understand how the list has been established and that there is some probable cause to speak to the people on this list the EPD is "not at all inclined to assist in this information gathering for the US Attorney."

The actual request for assistance from the US Attorney's office was not available for review as according to Alejandre it is quite detailed. Sharing concerns with the Portland police, the EPD has no reason or jurisdiction to talk with people on this list if the US Attorney's office has only put these people's names on a list because of their immigration or visa status. She stated that EPD does not have a right to speak to people on this list unless there is another issue(s) that raises the question of probable cause in the minds of local law enforcement. If there is some other indication that a name has been put on a list other than a person's nation of origin or whether, for instance, they traveled to a certain country six times in the past year EPD might consider conducting an interview. EPD has asked the US Attorney can provide more information about the criteria being established to place a name on a list by the US Attorney's office.

Probable cause would constitute that enough information had been gathered that would elevate that a person's actions over the last six months and indicated that this person might be responsible for a crime. Alejandre said that if the sole purpose for interviewing these people is based on where they are from the EPD will not participate in this process. She spoke to reassure the Eugene community that probable cause must be much more than national origin or the travel habits of an individual. She indicated that the US Attorney's request was only an information gathering activity and would be totally voluntary on the part of the interviewee. Alejandre did not know that if the FBI interviews these people whether their actions would be legal in Oregon.

Alejandre received calls from several members of the Arab community expressing concerns about this list. Because the EPD has made considerable effort to have contact and develop relationships with members of the Arab community she was able to reassure the people to whom she spoke .

EPD expects a an opinion from the city attorney by Monday.

phone: phone: 541-345-1633
address: address: 2220 Sandy Drive, Eugene Or 97401


Jont Terrorism Task Force role still unclear 22.Nov.2001 01:18

Phil

The EPD has not made up their minds about whether they will participate in Ashcroft's desire to round up and question people of middle-eastern descent across the nation and here in Oregon to investigate the terrorist attacks. They seem to be leaning against participating in the "interviews", but may have a convenient compromise.

Eugene Police Detective Terry Willis plays the dual role of deputized federal agent for the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF). It is conceivable that the EPD could publicly say they will not participate in detaining and questioning the approx. 50 people of middle-eastern descent that have made it on Ashcroft's F.B.I. investigation list. They could then allow their officer, acting as a deputized federal agent with the F.B.I. to participate in this racial profiling.

From the Memorandum Of Understanding between Portland and the PJTTF: "B. Deputization All local and state law enforcement personnel assigned to the PJTTF either in a full time or part time capacity will be subject to a limited background inquiry, will be sworn as deputized Special Federal Officers, with the FBI securing the required deputization authorization. These deputizations will remain in effect throughout the tenure of each investigator's assignment to the PJTTF or until the termination of the task force."

See Portland CopWatch Letter below.

It is my understanding that Springfield has said that they will comply with the investigation. Also, what of the Sheriff's office or State Police?

We need to send a strong message that we will not stand for this local police terrorism on our neighbors. Call the EPD, sherriff's office and SPD and tell them "No" to Ashcroft's plan of racial-profiling.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: To Assistant Chief Kirkland: Thanks and a question
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 16:04:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Portland Copwatch
To:

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065 (office)
(503) 321-5120 (incident report line)
copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org
http://www.portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242

Assistant Chief Drew Kirkland
Acting Chief of Police
1111 SW 2nd
Portland, OR 97204

November 21, 2001

Assistant Chief Kirkland:

We were very pleased upon hearing the news that you have agreed to uphold state law and not cooperate in the FBI's dragnet of Arab American immigrants.

As you know, Portland Copwatch is organized to promote a police force that is free from brutality, corruption and racism. The actions you have taken, in addition to the comments you have made to the press about racial profiling, have gone far to promote this idea to the residents of Portland--and the nation.

We hope that you can further this notion by assuring the people of Portland that such prohibitions will also apply to the eight Portland Police employees who are deputized FBI agents acting under the authority of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The question was raised at October 3 and October 17 City Council hearings as to how these employees determine when they are working as Portland officers and when they are acting as FBI agents. As you are probably aware, the mandates of FBI agents are much broader than Oregon state law both in regards to immigration law and in keeping files on political, religious, or social activities.

We hope that you will respond in writing to this question.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your forthright stance on this issue.

Sincerely,

Dan Handelman
for Portland Copwatch


UPDATE on the original post 22.Nov.2001 01:31

Amy Pincus Merwin

After posting the article about Eugene Police Department's public stance on not questioning citizens and visitors listed by Attorney General John Ashcroft and being implemented by local FBI and US Attorneys, I learned from several sources that:
  1. Springfield, under the purview of Captain Jerry Brown, apparently will work with the FBI in interviewing the Eugene-area List of 50 who, remember, have the right to volunteer to be interviewed.
  2. An Officer Sergeant Willis of the EPD appears to be on the mysterious FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force holding either a quarter-time or half-time position. We can presume that Sgt. Willis will have the authority, the jurisdiction and the right to interview the Eugene-area List of 50 who, remember, have the right to volunteer to be interviewed.

In addition, I did ask Officer Alejandre if the roots for the Portland Joint Task Force's were connected to the ELF investigations. She said that she believed that the Portland Joint Task Force was different than the Joint Arson Task Force. She also said that she did not know what the Joint Task Force was doing because they were in Portland.

If you would like a copy of the actual request for assistance from the US Attorney's office to the Eugene and Portland Police Departments (The Ashcroft/FBI List), contact the US Attorney's office Portland (503)727-1000; 1000 SW 3rd Ave. Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204.

One more little story... today I walked into the lobby of Eugene's Municipal Court with my video camera. I was there to check-in on the arraignments of seven people who were arrested November 9, 2001 while protesting the bombing of Afghanistan and the USA Patriot Act. A rent-a-cop became very agitated with me and told me that I could not have a camera in "here". I asked him several times to please show me their written policy. He did not show me the policy, and instead called two EPD Officers to explain the policy to me. The officers very firmly told me to leave and did not explain anything to me. I took my camera out to my car and returned to the lobby and then went into the courtroom.

On the wall of the courtroom was an engraved sign stating: Oregon Revised Statue 165.543 No audio or video equipment to be operated in the courtroom without permission of the presiding judge.

We went back out to the lobby and asked at the counter if we could see the presiding judge and gain permission to use the camera in the courtroom. Another officer came out and explained to us that with such short notice we would not be able to use the camera, but in the future we should contact the court in advance for approval if we would like to bring audio or video equipment into the courtroom.


thugs 30.Nov.2001 01:15

pic

thugs
thugs

Corvallis PD decided not to cooperate 30.Nov.2001 08:33

skeptic


The New Soviet Union 30.Nov.2001 09:42

An American

The Soviet Union is alive and well in Portland. So don't interview these people, but lets send them all to Portland so they can hang out with your "white upper middle class, heroin shooting, dreadlock wearing, "Kurt Cobain is my god", filthy, pierced, trees are more important than people, wet, Democratic voting, 7-11 assistant manager, "SUV driving, but Sierra Club asshole", Clinton loving, Birkenstocks with black socks-wearing, people!