Portland Police Review Board Publishes 1st Whitewash
Obviously no justice will be found with the review board. The police were exonerated in all of the complaints. Maybe it's time to remind the pigs and politicians about what happens when they protect murderers and racists. If they won't give us justice, we'll get our own.
The Portland Police Review Board has unanimously found that the fatal police shooting of a transient at Hoyt Arboretum on March 22, 2010 was within bureau policy in the revamped panel's first public report.
The ruling, which was reached in May, was recently released along with summaries of other disciplinary reviews completed over the last six months.
Under a city ordinance adopted last August to strengthen police oversight, the review board is required to publish public reports twice annually. The first report has been posted to the Police Bureau's website.
It was one of 7 cases reviewed by the Police Review Board. They included a complaint by Project Respond that officers had mistreated a man with mental illness, a PCC student's complaint that she was unfairly stopped by Portland police who presumed she and her friends were gang members partly because of their dress, and two cases alleging officers used racial epithets or slurs.
The names of the officers involved in the cases reviewed by the board were redacted from the report, as are the case numbers, and the report does not include the actual discipline taken by the chief against any officer in these cases.
The details of the use of deadly force case reviewed match the Hoyt Arboretum case in which Central Precinct Officer Jason Walters shot and killed Jack Dale Collins.
Collins suddenly emerged from a restroom holding an razor knife, surprising the officer, who shot him when Collins failed to drop the knife and continued to advance. A grand jury cleared the officer of criminal wrongdoing.
"Board members agreed that Officer A used deadly physical force to
protect himself and others from what he reasonably believed to be an
immediate threat of death or serious injury from Subject A. The board
heard comprehensive evidence presented by the Homicide Division,
Internal Affairs Division, the Training Department, and the Precinct
Commander which it believed demonstrated that all the standards of
the policy had been met. There was discussion concerning the fact
that even though Officer A was not originally aware of the aggressive
nature of Subjeet A's behavior, Officer A assessed the situation
quickly and responded to the potentially homicidal/suicidal call with
reasonable police action. The board believed that the officer's
response to the incident showed quick decision-making based on
critical analysis of the situation and that he responded with
appropriate tactical strategies."
Here's a summary of several others cases as described in the report.
1. Project Respond e-mailed a complaint to the Independent Police Review Division that an officer struck a citizen who suffered from mental illness four times in the head with his fist, kicked the citizen once in the head with his foot, Tased the citizen multiple times and then was untruthful in his internal affairs interview about the force used.
Summary of the incident: On Dec. 2, 2008, police were sent to check on the welfare of a person with mental illness in the 200 block of SE 160th Ave. Portland police responded at 4:45 a.m., and cleared the call, advising that the person's "crisis" was over. By 9:30 a.m., a caller told dispatch the person was screaming, threatening and breaking doors. Police responded and called Project Respond. The plan was to take the person into custody for a hospital hold, with officer help. Police say the man resisted police attempts to handcuff him. Police said the man bit an officer in the thigh and on his testicle. The officer struck the person several times in the head. It was alleged that one of the officers used a Taser 7 to 10 times to subdue the man. After securing the man, it was alleged that one of the officers kicked the man in the head.
Portland detectives did a criminal investigation. The District Attorney's office declined to prosecute based on "insufficient evidence.'' Portland internal affairs then investigated.
The board's findings:
a/Allegation that Off. A struck citizen 4 times in the head with his fist : Four members exonerated the officer, one board members said it was unproven.
Majority opinion: Four board members agreed the officer did punch the citizen in the head with his fist. But the majority of the board found there was "a lack of clarity in the intention behind the punches in terms of whether they were defensive or offensive.''
Minority opinion: One board member felt there was not enough evidence to find the officer struck the citizen in the head with fist.
b/Allegation that Off. A kicked the citizen in the head with his foot: Unproven, three members; sustained by 2 board members
Majority opinion: Three boards members said it couldn't be proven the kick was intentional.
Minority opinion: Two board members sustained allegation because they believed the kick occurred, and it was intentional. Two unbiased witnesses saw the kick take place, the third board member said. Even if the officer reacted to getting bit in the genitals, "his reaction was nonetheless unprofessional and against policy,'' the third board member said.
c/Officer Tased citizen 7 to 10 times: Unproven, unanimous board decision.
d/Officer untruthful in IAD interview, regarding kicking citizen in the head: 3 members said it's unproven, with one noting it was "unlikely'' the officer would do so in front of witnesses. Minority opinion: one member noted there were 2 unbiased witnesses who saw the kick, and their statements were consistent, and found it "disconcerting" that the officer wouldn't kick a citizen just because people were present.
Two members proposed TERMINATION, but board found the untruthfulness unproven.
2. A 2010 case in which a Portland field training officer was accused of using racial epithets against or directed at a person of a protected class. A recruit was interviewed and reportedly felt a level of discomfort. There were allegations that a sergeant failed to take appropriate action upon learning of the suspected use of racial epithets.
The board ruled that the use of the racial epithet was unproven, but found the sergeant failed to write a report or memo to his commanding officer upon learning of the complaint.
A few members questioned whether the officer accused of the racial epithet should continue as a field training officer.
3. A 2010 case alleging that two officers racially profiled three people. The case corresponds to the complaint by Delease Carter, at the time a guard on the Portland Community College women's basketball team, who was walking home with two friends in North Portland. The next thing she knew she was face down with a cop's knee on her head. The three friends were eventually let go, but the 21-year-old PCC student said their biggest crime appears to have been walking down the middle of the street with one of them wearing a blue Kansas City Royals baseball cap. Portland police say they were intent on suppressing gang activity in an area known to be Kerby Blocc Crip territory and took Carter to the ground when she didn't follow their orders, moving one of her hands from her head when they patted her down for weapons. She says she was following their orders but couldn't answer their questions with her cigar in her mouth. When she tried to pull it out to respond, she found herself slammed to the pavement.
a/Racial profiling allegation: four board members exonerated the officers; one board member found allegation unproven.
Majority opinion: "These officers are gang enforcement officers, and their role is prevention and intervention. They regularly look for clothing or other apparel worn by gang members and behaviors which might indicate gang relationships." The officers acted appropriately because one of the men was wearing a blue baseball cap often worn by gang members in that area, they were in an area known to be gang territory and all three were walking in the middle of the street.
b/Officer used unnecessary physical force: Exonerated with debriefing/unanimous
Debriefing to focus on additional communication or verbal commands as an alternative to a take-down of a citizen.
c/Officer kneed Carter in the head after taking her to the ground. Members found it was an "unintentional'' result of the take-down.
d/Officer used profanity: Sustained, unanimous:
The officer told investigators he did not recall using profanity, but two of his fellow officers at the scene said he did.
Board recommended command counseling for the officer who used profanity. Even if the profanity is warranted, it must be documented in a report, the board said.
4. A 2010 case alleging that an officer withheld information from internal affairs and was not truthful about a racial slur. It's not clear from the summary whether the officer accused of withholding information is the same officer who allegedly used the racial slur. The summary is scarce, but the majority found the allegations unproven.
"Officer A did not remember the exact phrase that was used for the racial slur when he was questioned about it 33 months after the incident.''
Because the officer could not recall the exact phrase of the racial slur, it was unproven that he did not fully cooperate with the internal affairs inquiry.
The board made this interesting recommendation: Several board members agreed that emphasis should be made during training "that special treatment of officer's children should not be allowed.''
From the summary, there's no way to understand what led to this recommendation.
The other cases reviewed included traffic accidents involving officers. The board recommended suspension for one officer who has had three preventable accidents within a little over 5 years .
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