12-13-2017  8:59 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

Special Call for Stories about the Spanish Flu

Genealogical Forum of Oregon seeks stories from the public about one of history's most lethal outbreaks ...

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org. Neighbors needed to volunteer, donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update: Dec. 4

Environmental Services continues to repair more than 3 miles of public sewer pipes ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

The Skanner Editorial: Alabama Voters Must Reject Moore

Allegations of predatory behavior are troubling – and so is his resume ...

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

Top 10 Holiday Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Dr. Jasmine Streeter explains why pampering pets with holiday treats can be dangerous (and pricey) ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Latoya Harris testifies before the Citizen's Review Committee
The Skanner staff and wire reports

PHOTO: Latoya Harris testifies before the Citizen's Review Committee after her 9-year-old daughter was handcuffed and taken downtown in a police car in her bathing suit because of a fight at a youth club six days earlier. Helen Silvis photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has accepted the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Portland on reforms intended to improve the way police deal with the mentally ill, and to rebuild community trust.

But U.S. District Court Michael Simon said Friday he wants annual progress reports, a requirement the City of Portland previously opposed and could challenge in court.  Simon ordered the first such hearing for September 2015. He also brought up the issue of having police wear cameras to monitor their interactions with the public. 

The Justice Department in 2012 found Portland police engaged in a "pattern or practice" of excessive force when dealing with the mentally ill and those perceived to be mentally ill. And a fairness hearing which allowed the public to comment brought a parade of individuals, legal and civil rights organizations who testified about racial profiling and excessive force. Portland Police Bureau announced a slate of reforms but police accountability activists say they want deeper reforms. 

The Department of Justice report acknowledged that a deep mistrust marred relations between police officers and Portland's minority communities, but did not specifically investigate race discrimination. The City of Portland rejected the findings even as it instituted a slate of reforms.  

Among the reforms underway, the city must create a crisis-intervention team, expand its mobile crisis units from a single vehicle to one vehicle per precinct and complete investigations of officer misconduct within 180 days.

The Portland Mercury, which broke the news has posted the judge's ruling in full here.  Read The Portland Mercury story here.

 The Albina Ministerial Alliance issued the following statement:

The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform supports the ruling of Judge Simon affirming the Settlement Agreement for reforming the Portland Police Bureau and the active participation of Judge Simon in reviewing the progress or non-progress of implementing the Settlement Agreement.

The Coalition is particularly grateful that Judge Simon has insisted on the participation of all four parties to the lawsuit-- the DOJ, the AMA Coalition, the City and the Police Association-- as well as reports from the Compliance Officer/ Community Liaison.

The Settlement Agreement, while primarily focused on those experiencing mental health issues, should lead to better treatment of all Portlanders.

This ruling is a major step to creating a true community policing culture within the Portland Police Bureau in light of the national attention on Deadly Force and Excessive Force by the Police Department in the Michael Brown death in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet, there is an intensified need for community engagement and community dialogue to prevent a Ferguson upheaval in Portland and keep Portland striving to create a national model of community policing.

The AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is working toward these five

goals:

1. A federal investigation by the Justice Department to include criminal and civil rights violations, as well as a federal audit of patterns and practices of the Portland Police Bureau.

2. Strengthening the Independent Police Review Division and the Citizen Review Committee with the goal of adding power to compel testimony.

3. A full review of the Bureau's excessive force and deadly force policies and training with diverse citizen participation for the purpose of making recommendations to change policies and training.

4. The Oregon State Legislature narrowing the language of the State statute for deadly force used by police officers.

5. Establishing a special prosecutor for police excessive force and deadly force cases.

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