PJTTF Needs to See Spiderman
The movie Spiderman stressed a relationship between Power and Responsibility.
What follows is a short list of how members of Portland's Joint Terrorism Task Force have violated theirs including murdering their spouses, spying on activists, dealing drugs, stealing evidence, shooting citizens and attacking infants.
Here's why other things need to happen first before these folks get any more power.
Anyone see Spiderman? It's tag line:
"With great power comes responsibility."
It's been awhile since I gave testimony to the Portland City Council. During the decade I lived in Portland and was a community activist, producing television shows, writing articles, giving testimony, many folks commented on my physical resemblance to Portland Mayor Vera Katz. Let me put a long standing rumor to rest. We're not family relations, she's not my parent, she's not related to any of my parents.
Here's something my parents said when I did something bad and asked for a favor:
"You can do that when you've earned the right."
Sort of like the Spiderman movie.
Before moving to Portland in 1990, I'd gone to film school in Los Angeles. I distantly knew a few of the people associated with the new Spiderman movie, though I can't say for sure if my parents have any responsibility for the tagline.
I wish the Mayor of Portland, Members of the City Council, and members of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force understood Spiderman's tagline.
When I lived in Portland few if any of the members of the Portland joint terrorism task force seemed to gotten Spiderman's tagline either:
The PPB had a domestic violence and homicide rate proportionally dozens of times that of the general population. (One officer had even placed a 12 gauge up his wife's anal orifice and fired.)
The shooting rate of citizens was scandalous. FBI statistics showed us as one of the deadliest forces in the nation.
There was no respect for limits on surveillance. The PPB's Criminal Intelligence Division and Dan Noelle, seem to have been at the center of a national scandal, compiling lists of tens of thousands of lawful citizens engaged in political activity, and illegally trading the names of those law abiding private citizens with foreign governments and private actors.
While the FBI is being faulted on a national level for routinely falsifying evidence and data, our own Special Agent in charge, Robin Montgomery (who I guess now runs the paramilitary Hostage Rescue Team) left for D.C. as tens of thousands of dollars disappeared from the Portland FBI's evidence into the ether.
Members of local law enforcement seem to have a substance abuse problem many times that of the general population as well. Some of these seem to be the result of failure to provide resources for officers. This was demonstrated in of the fall of PPB poster officer Bradley Benge, and the later fall of PPB Public Information Officer CW Jensen. Others seem to have been variations of the corruption that was rampant during prohibition, as when large numbers of the officers in Portland's deadliest precinct seemed to have been frequent clients of the Copper Penny, a restaurant linked by many with the influx of the deadliest of drugs into our community.
Most recently there've been high profile violations of the safety parameters described in both manufacturer's instructions and officer training guidelines for the use of "less lethal" munitions. Chemical agents must be fired from a safe distance in an area with flowing air and persons these agents are used on must be given aid promptly. This wasn't followed when these munitions were used on a ten month old infant, or many, many others, just in the last few weeks. "Less lethal" projectile weapons, must be fired from safe distances, fired at specific parts of the body, (the "meaty areas",) and usually ricocheted off the ground ("skip fired") so they lose velocity. Also ignored by the PPB on multiple occasions and for many, many people.
Even after 9-11, I can't take the targeting of environmentalists and Anti-Abortion/Pro-Life demonstrators as a serious response. None of these groups did anything remotely connected with the collapse of the New York World Trade Center. No one in Oregon's been directly killed by Advocates for Life (compared again to the number of PPB spousal homicides.) Even before 9-11, an environmental advocate could get 23 years in prison in Oregon for setting fire to an unoccupied SUV on a dealer's lot. Besides, if the federal government were taking "terrorism" seriously, there might be an actual modification of the plan written in the mid 1990s to transport 70,000 trucks carrying nuclear waste down the Columbia River Gorge to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. (There hasn't been.)
In these times, a truly bold and courageous government would stop following the latest federal cash cow, and look at what's really being proposed and what's really needed. If agencies have been abusing their powers and trust by the citizenry, those powers don't need to be expanded. Maybe members of law enforcement have need for things such as basic equipment, more training, and support systems than they do for increased powers?
If I'd misbehaved as a child, my parents might have tried to find out why. They also wouldn't have given me extra dessert or bought me a new toy I'd wanted as a result. I believe that's a sound principle, and should be applied here.
Submitted by Paul Richmond, Attorney at Law
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