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Portland Police Association

Rank and file under attack

By: Sergeant Bob Gross, Retired

What is happening to Portland? If I were a tourist, visitor or new resident to town I might get the impression, based on news media reports of the Perez shooting and those goofy Copwatch "wanted posters" that I had just gone back in time to the 1960's. Where is the objectivity in Portland? Based on statements from the self-appointed leaders of the African-American community the Portland Police Bureau is inundated with racist white cops and there is a vigilante subgroup within the bureau whose sole purpose is to assassinate young black males.

Once again the so-called leaders, and some expert witnesses in the African-American community, are getting all of the face time in front of the news cameras, letting their emotional bias override common sense and the facts leading to the Perez shooting.

In the March issue of The Rap Sheet I talked about the birth of gangs in Portland. This month I was going to talk about how the bureau and the community could work together to deal with the gang problem. The gang topic is null and void this month because nothing can be accomplished until the leadership of Portland unburies it's collective head and wakes up to the reality that there are bad people in this town. Sometimes the only way to deal with bad people is with the use of force.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the leadership of the African-American community. What message does Oscar Eason Jr., the regional NAACP representative from Seattle, relay to young black males when he says that blacks have only two alternatives when being stopped by Portland police; run or be shot.

Senator Avel Gordly addressed the rally for life on April 4th. In a quote, documented by The Oregonian, Sen. Gordly said, "Portland police officers are young, inadequately trained and then armed", implying that giving officers guns is a recipe for disaster. Sen. Gordly also implied that Portland police officers receive about as much training as a hairdresser or a barber, referring to the 10 week DPSST police training course at Monmouth.

Does Sen. Gordly have any idea what she is talking about? Has Sen. Gordly even attempted to find out how many additional weeks and months of training a PPB recruit goes through during the first 18 months on the job in Portland? Can changes be made; can the Bureau learn from this incident? Of course, but please, step back, take a deep breath and look at the facts!

Then we have the Rev. WG Hardy Jr., who also spoke at the Rally for Life gathering. The Rev. Hardy's resume for leadership includes 6 arrests since 1989 and a conviction in 1997 for assaulting his wife. The Rev. Hardy said Officer McCollister was a liar and called for his indictment prior to the Grand Jury finding Officer McCollister justified in the use of force in the Kendra James shooting. Who needs evidence and facts when the Rev. Hardy is in charge of the investigation!

I haven't heard or seen much of the Rev. Roy Tate on the news lately. It could be his credibility with the news media has gone down a notch or two due to some allegations that he has paid for sex from some women he ministered to in his congregation and the misuse of church funds.

These are the folks who are speaking for the African-American community. I have not heard one of these people make any statements to the effect that the community and the Police Bureau should work together to find a solution to a perceived problem of racism. They blame everything that happened to Perez on the Police Bureau. Where is the accountability in the African-American community? If Perez had not been under the influence of crack cocaine (Oscar Eason Jr. actually said, "The fact that he had drugs in his system doesn't change my view of the situation") and Perez had done what he was asked and then ordered to do, he would still be alive today. That is a fact the self-appointed leadership of the African-American community is unwilling to accept.

I know the majority of people in the African-American community want to go about their lives just like everyone else. There are a multitude of problems that need to be addressed, one of which is gangs and another being the perceived impression that white police officers are a threat. I think a lot of Portlanders are very weary of the constant media attack on the Portland Police Bureau and the issue is dividing the white community. If the majority of citizens living in Portland are ever going to embrace the African-American community someone with some common sense, the ability to look at both sides of the issue and a willingness to look toward the future has got to step forward.

Oh, and where is the Mayor/Police commissioner on this issue? Madame Mayor made one public statement that she was concerned that there was no weapon found at the scene of the Perez shooting and then she disappeared into City Hall. I think Mayor Katz should be standing at Chief Foxworth's side trying to find a solution to a problem that has the potential of becoming very volatile. What is more important, the safety and wellbeing of the community or a new baseball stadium?

I know one thing for sure; the mayor has definitely opened up the city to all kinds of radicals during her tenure. Even some of the news media has called Copwatch an ultra left-leaning group who take pride in putting up "wanted posters" for certain police officers and encouraging the use of violence against the entire Portland Police Bureau. I guess the police commissioner doesn't think this is a threat to her city, because I only saw Chief Foxworth denouncing this hate mongering on the nightly news programs. The daily dead fish wrapper obviously doesn't think enough of the threats to even give it any newsprint; no surprise I guess.

And the community, represented by the daily dead fish wrapper, complains that police officers close ranks and will not open up when something like the Perez shooting occurs. I wonder why? Are the leaders at City Hall going to back you? What about Roy Tate, WG Hardy Jr. and Avel Gordly? From what I have read and seen in the Portland news media regarding some of the statements these folks have made Portland police officers are guilty until proven more guilty and the heck with the facts and the evidence.

I'm sure many of you have better info then I do, but the way I see it the only people willing to openly defend Portland police officers are Robert King, the Portland Police Association and Lars Larson.

Last comment; a public inquest will be a joke and an emotional three ring circus. I only hope the antics stay in the courtroom. I have seen two of these dog and pony shows over the past 30 years and nothing good for the police has ever come out of them.

This is a very difficult time to be a police officer in Portland. I wish all of you the strength and commitment to continue doing your job in the face of such adversity. Good luck, stay focused and stay safe!

May 2003 - Vol 35 No. 5
The police union justifies threatening people with profanity 20.May.2004 21:42


"Public Interations #1--Sound Advice: "Every time a Portland police officer fails to do the right thing, we all suffer... Keep in mind the public watches us all the time, and they listen to everything we say. Are we presenting a professional image with our words?" -- Sgt. Bert Nederheiser, in the October Rap Sheet, the newsletter of the Portland Police Association (PPA).

What the Heck? Portland Police Perplexed by Profanity Problems

After the Oregonian revealed that Portland's "civilian review board" was reviewing current policies on the use of profanity, the stuff hit the fan over at the PPA. In the October Rap Sheet, Detective Peter Simpson used his editorial column to complain that one member of the Independent Police Review Division's Citizen Review Committee (CRC) said they don't think that any situation warrants using profanity. Simpson wrote: "My first reaction to that was, 'what the f@%*!' You mean to tell me that out of all the possible things people could complain about (excessive force, bribe-taking, drug use, disparate treatment) the use of profanity is a hot topic on the CRC?"

For the time being, let's not dwell on the fact that Simpson is implying here that there is bribe- taking going on in the Bureau--an allegation we've not even heard before. Instead, we will note that Simpson's half-humorous, half-scary response ignores that the CRC's policy issues also include possible police misuse of Detox transports, officer identification, and the idea of de- escalating situations. These issues are being drawn from multiple complaints (see CRC article).

In any case, Simpson implies that if the only thing on the CRC's agenda is profanity, the PPB must be doing a good job. "There are situations in which profanity can assist in making a communication break through with someone who is irrational and failing to listen to commands, or to add emphasis to a particular word of importance."

Simpson admits using profanity himself, perhaps inappropriately, but rationalizes that in the (otherwise reasonable) premise that officers need to be able to speak to people of various backgrounds.

He concludes by posing only two possible ways to approach a suspect, "Pardon me, but I am a law enforcement agent...you seem a bit ireful and I have a sanguine expectation that you'll cast aside that iniquitous shooting iron" instead of "Police officer, drop the f*@$#&% gun now!"

Public Interactions #2: Would you like ice with that?: "Why should someone who doesn't even know the job make policy that affects how cops are doing their jobs? If he's not the one rolling around with me in the gutter as I'm trying to subdue some violent drunk or dope crazed individual, then maybe he needs to drink a big glass of 'Shut Up' juice."--PPA Vice-President Daryl Turner, October Rap Sheet."


CRC April, 20 minutes

"VII. Hearing on CRC 2004-X-0002. A Portland Police Bureau officer appealed a sustained courtesy finding regarding use of profanity. The appellant-officer was present with a union representative, Officer Scott Westerman. The complainant was not present. Assistant Chief Grubbs was present to explain the Police Bureau's finding.

After listening to a statement by the appellant and her union representative and a statement by Assistant Chief Grubbs, the CRC discussed the case. Public comments by Diane Lane (Portland Rights Watch), Richard Koenig, Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch and Flying Focus Video), Mike Dee, David Dally, and David Barrios were received. Rebuttals by Officer Westerman and Lieutenant Haunsperger were presented.

Ms. Valdez made a motion to challenge the Police Bureau's finding and recommend a change from Sustained to Exonerated with a Debriefing. Mr. Alexander seconded the motion. After further discussion, the motion passed by a vote of 6-2.

Yes: Alexander, Eriksson, Robison, Smith, Ueland, Valdez.
No: Miggins, Oden-Orr

Policy issue identified in this case: Police Bureau training regarding the courtesy directive as it applies to use of profanity.

Ms. Oden-Orr mentioned that a group of local attorneys is organizing an event to educate the community on what not to do during police contacts."


Use of porfanity review (biased version 1.0)


Bert 20.May.2004 22:17


Nederheiser has been off work ever since he shot at an unarmed man and nearly shot other officers who were in the line of fire. The man was running from a hotel room and, after being shot at, jumped over the stairwell railing and fell several stories resulting in significant injuries. Of course, we didn't hear much about that case because the suspect was white.

Stones don't get along well with glass houses.

To HipocritWatcher 20.May.2004 22:51


At 10:45 AM three officers visited the home and surmised that there was a marijuana growing operation there. While those officers went to obtain a search warrant, two other officers from the MTF called for backup. After the backup officers arrived, Sgt. Jim Hudson, officers Steven Morrow, Kim Keist and Colleen Waibel knocked on the door, yelling "Portland Police." The officers did not know if anyone was in the home. After receiving no answer, something prompted Hudson TO USE A PAVING STONE TO BREAK (irony) down the front door, 23 minutes before the warrant was signed.

The officers were met with gunfire. Keist and Hudson were injured; Waibel was killed. Officers returned fire and Dons was shot once in the chest.

Hours after the injured officers were carried from the scene, police shot tear gas and advanced on the house with an armored vehicle. They found Dons lying shirtless on his kitchen floor. He reportedly flashed a peace sign at them. Officers responded with five "non-lethal" beanbag rounds from their shotguns. These rounds can cause serious injury or death when fired from a distance of under 25 feet (see PPR #12). It is unclear why police felt it necessary to fire them indoors at a paralyzed suspect. Police then removed Dons' pants and, rather than calling for medical help, dragged him to their vehicle. His naked body was placed on the bumper while officers posed with machine guns for a photo opportunity.

That day Mayor (and Police Commissioner) Vera Katz and Police Chief Charles Moose held a press conference at the hospital where the officers were being treated. This dynamic duo attempted to focus attention on everything BUT the apparently illegal police action that had just taken place. Moose lashed out at local news crews for covering the event, while Katz called for tighter gun control policies. When asked if the officers had a search warrant, Moose stopped answering questions from the press. Police spin-doctor Lt. Cliff Madison would not comment on why the officers broke down Dons' door. It wasn't reported until two days later that police claimed the officers smelled marijuana smoke and raided the home because they feared evidence was being destroyed.

At 4:45 AM on February 25, Dons was found dead in his medical cell at the Justice Center jail, where he was in custody of the County Sheriff. Although Dons was suspected of killing a police officer and wounding two others, he was not under guard. Authorities say they were checking on Dons through a window twice an hour. Police claim they found a sheet tied around Dons' neck at one end, and around the bed frame at the other. The official story is that Dons, weighing over 250 pounds and paralyzed from the waist down, tied the sheet around his neck and bed frame, then rigged the control for his hospital bed (using electrical tape and a wad of paper) to raise it until he was strangled. No one other than jail staff ever saw Dons with this alleged contraption in place. There was a surveillance camera in Dons' cell, but it was conveniently out of order and had toothpaste smeared over the lens. Some have questioned Dons' ability to kill himself while not only paralyzed, but heavily medicated.

A state medical examiner determined Dons' death to be a suicide less than 12 hours after the fact. The Sheriff's office, Multnomah County DA, Oregon State Police, and the FBI were all involved in the subsequent investigation of the jailhouse death. Their findings, along with a video-taped re-enactment, were presented to a grand jury, who unanimously found Dons' death to be a suicide. Fully convinced after hearing the testimony of the police and the police-friendly District Attorney, grand jury foreman Paul Driscoll stated: "[T]here will always be some people who will question our findings, but we are satisfied that there is no reasonable doubt that the death of Steven Dons was a suicide."

Indeed, there are many people who seriously doubt this sequence of cookie-cutter findings exonerating the police. Even the usually uncritical Oregonian called for an independent inquiry into the death. The day of Dons' death, call-in radio shows were abuzz with public outrage and disbelief. Even on the most mainstream stations, civilians called in to voice suspicions that police were somehow involved in Dons' death.

Whether this was the case or not, there is no denying that they had both motive and opportunity to do so. Aside from the crude purpose of revenge for Colleen Waibel, silencing Dons would have ensured that his version of the events on January 27th would never see the light of day. Dons' lawyers will not relate his version of events, citing attorney-client privilege. Officer Kim Keist was "relieved" when she learned of Dons' mysterious death. Jim McIntyre, senior deputy DA was quoted in the March 8 Oregonian as saying "It is ridiculous in this day and age that we can only judge [Dons'] guilt in a courtroom trial." Apparently, McIntyre isn't really concerned with whether or not there was foul play following Dons' apprehension and before he could be tried in a court of law. This supposed upholder of the public's constitutional rights seems satisfied that someone may have meted out some vigilante "justice" to Dons on February 25.

These disturbing events and the knee-jerk exoneration of law enforcement have moved more than a few Portlanders to wonder what they can do about what may be very serious police corruption. Unfortunately, most people are looking for a "quick fix" solution to this most recent example of out-of-control policing. Were the case of Steven Dons an isolated incident, it might be sufficient to call for justice with a one-time campaign or protest. However, what has happened to Steven Dons is only a recent and particularly extreme example of problems that are clearly systemic in nature. As long as the people have no control over the armed "public servants" who patrol our streets, there WILL be miscarriages of justice as grave as what we are seeing now.

So, what can be done about any of this? In the short term, demand that further investigation be done by outside sources not related to law enforcement. Though the FBI is known to be disdainful of local cops, it is unlikely that they would come down hard when a police officer has been killed. Documents presented to the grand jury indicate that those who stood to gain from Dons' death, from higher-ups in the Marijuana Task Force to Waibel and Keists' husbands, both of whom are police officers, were not interviewed.


What the hell? 20.May.2004 23:01


Oregon cops only go through ten weeks of training? My academy was six friggin' months! Of course, I never got sued, had to have a review board, never had a public inquest and never pepper-sprayed any infants. Somehow I managed to serve three years in a metro police organization without ever having one of the incidents that seem to be routine here. And I was a fairly average cop in my department.

Perhaps it was that six month academy? Or perhaps it was a sheriff that actively discouraged a gung ho attitude. Or, call me crazy, but perhaps it had something to do with us not hiring cops that had been sued and pushed out of their former jurisdictions (like Jason Sery was).

I bet guys like me could not even get HIRED at the portland police bureau.

Cops here are mere soldiers 21.May.2004 00:20


There is absolutely no critical intelligence in the mind of a Portland cop. There are only one or two brains per copshop in Oregon, and they are detectives, not footsoldiers. Cops here are just gangsters. Why would a cop shoot an unarmed prone man who was already bleeding from the bullets inside him? Because that's what a gangster would do: send a message. "Fuck with mine and we'll fuck you up much, much worse." Pure typical macho gangster mentality. Ill-trained, obedient and vicious is how cops here prefer their new cops.

GRINGO, your comments are alway spon on 21.May.2004 00:37

polisciboy politicalscienceboy@yahoo.com

Give me something I can disagree with. HAHA.

Thanks, Mr. Ex-Cop 21.May.2004 10:53

Your comments are especially valuable.

Thank you, Mr. Ex-Cop. Your comments are especially valuable. I agree that you probably couldn't get a job with Portland Police--I know that they do a psychological profile which excludes those not sufficiently aggressive.

And you are right on about the attitude of the chief being critical. Experiments have been done showing that the atmosphere a boss creates contributes significantly to the way employees behave.

By the way, when I carried petitions around for the Police Accountability Initiative, I received a warm response from retired officers. They, too, were appalled at what is going on in Portland.

Keep telling it like it is, because the voice of inside knowledge often carries more weight than the voices of those who have avoided law enforcement careers.

To: Sergeant Bob Gross, Retired 21.May.2004 12:30

Maurice Lucas

It's a good thing you are retired, as your article betrays your incompetence and reveals what I consider to be one of the key reasons that such a large percentage of police officers are unable to perform their duties in a way that would resemble being professional.

You wrote: "there are bad people in this town". The problem with that is that it is not the responsibility of any police officer to determine who is 'bad' or 'good'. An officer's job is simply to enforce established laws in an equitable manner. The responsibility for determining guilt or innocence lies within the judicial system, not law enforcement.

If police officers were able to grasp this basic concept, and if they were able to demonstrate some level of respect for the laws that they have been entrusted to enforce, we would all be a great deal safer as a result.

Better watch out 21.May.2004 12:38

I'm cop of the year!!!

Officer Jason Sery who was recently and curiously named officer of the year an award given to an officer hand picked by the police. The award was presented shortly after he fired three shots into James Jahar Perez in NE Portland.
Previously Officer Jason Sery has:
Raided a disabled woman's home at gun point on a tip that pot was being sold. Sery and the gang threw her off the couch (without her artificial leg on) and confiscated her electric scooter, DVD player, hand mixer, and $165. They only found less than an ounce of weed (not even a crime in Oregon) let alone the fact that she has a medical marijuana card which made it completely legal inside the offiecers' jurisdiction. None the less they took her property that is essential to her survival.
He also previously beat the man who recorded the 3 minutes of tazeing so bad that they had to take him to the hospital rather than detox. The city settled out of court for $5000.
Are you kiding me this is the cop of the year. The are sending a message out to all the people that the best officers are the most brutal. So do what we say or we'll beat the hell out of or kill you. This is plain as day and people are still day dreaming. The system is rotten to the core. Any good cop in the organization would have left if they had any ability to make a moral judgement. The fact is that the police compromise morals for economic advantage and power and are took indoctrinated to do the right thing.
Kroeker trained this force in agressive tactics to adress the war on our freedoms and the "war on drugs" (while he probably dines with the greatest profiteers)...he did his job and left. He placed the chess pieces and they are going to do significant damage before good ultimately overcomes.

It's a clan rally 21.May.2004 17:27


To ex-cop 21.May.2004 22:21


The "10 weeks of training" line gets thrown out a lot by people who think they know what they're talking about, and it's regularly used to refer to incidents involving Portland.

The fact is, Portland recognized 2 decades ago that the 10 week state academy that certifies *every other officer in the state* (excluding State Troopers) was *inadequate*, so they decided to provide additional training to Portland officers through a second academy.

Whenever Bowman or Carter or any other ignorant person with an agenda rants about "10 weeks of training" or "less training than a hairdresser" when referring to a Portland case, they are intentionally ignoring the fact that Portland officers get *more* training than any other agency in the state.

Portland recruits go to the state academy, then they go through another 14 week academy. Prior to Minnis passing a bill to take away the ability to do state authorized basic academy training (which he did because he knew he was going to get the Director's job at the state academy), Portland spent 2 years providing a combined academy to metro area agencies that was 24 weeks long.

When the truth doesn't fit someone's agenda, they will ignore it. Fact of politics.

Frat Boys 21.May.2004 23:59

library mouse

heck's link goes to a Portland chapter of FOP webpage, soliciting membership.

The top elected officers in the local chapter of FOP all appear to be Fed Protective Service (now DHS) employees, with @gsa.gov e-mail domains.