The Albina Ministerial Alliance forum was disappointing at best. Most of the major players in the police accountability movement were left out of the six-member panel which included mostly African American pastors, Dan Handelman, Marlene Howell of Sisters of the Road Cafe, and Marta Guembes of the Latino Network. Those people who were included clearly did not do their homework. For instance, one of the group's recommendations stemmed from a claim that prosecutors issue arrest warrants. (The group recommended that 3 members of the grand jury make a decision to issue a warrant, instead.) But, per Oregon state law, only magistrates - judges - can issue warrants based on probable cause. The AMA group also suggested that City Council pass an ordinance that would allow the Mayor to call for a public inquest rather than allowing the District Attorney to call a Grand Jury. First, City Council will never pass such an ordinance, and second, it would violate state law.
Handelman, who makes all the decisions for Portland Copwatch, essentially endorsed the Independent Police Review by suggesting that it be given enhanced powers rather than suggesting that Portland get a truly independent review board. There is no way that the IPR under the rule of a very corrupt City Auditor (Gary Blackmer) would ever be an impartial, effective review board even if City Council voted to give it meaningful powers (which it will never do, due to police union opposition.) The IPR already has a limited ability to independently investigate, but has never done this. The AMA's endorsement of the IPR may make it more difficult for a new initiative campaign to convince Portlanders that only a truly independent review board will help to hold the police accountable.
This group's so-called investigation was only a review of police documents and manuals. They did a video re-enactment, claiming it was supported by the evidence.
Some of this group's recommendations were sound, but only echoed a small number of those already made by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC), which issued 89 recommendations.
The group asked for donations at the end since it has formed a new group called the Alliance for Police and Community Accountability. They asked for people to sign up and help them push the implementation of their recommendations, but before that announced the co-chairs and spearhead of the alliance -- Joann Bowman. Bowman was the faciliator in terms of audience questions, but acted inappropriately by cutting people off mid-stream if they didn't ask questions but instead wanted to make comments. Several people seated around the large church sanctuary murmured disapproval at Bowman's behavior. She also claimed that Handelman was the only attendee of IPR meetings. Since Bowman has never attended a single IPR meeting, it's pretty obvious where she got that piece of misinformation.