08 29 2014
  11:05 am  
     •     
Healthy youth
Demo to End the New Jim Crow

Police accountability activists are preparing to testify at a fairness hearing, Tuesday, Feb. 18, on the proposed settlement between the City of Portland and the Department of Justice.

Federal Judge Michael Simon agreed to listen to community testimony in-person or by video on the proposals.

A rally has been scheduled for 8 a.m. outside the Mark Hatfield federal courthouse, 1000 SW 3rd Ave. The hearing starts at 9 a.m.

Activists say the proposals don’t go far enough to protect the community. They are asking the judge to reject the settlement and order a renegotiation.

Among the demands are:

More citizen involvement in police accountability, review, and investigation
An end to the 48 hour rule that allows police to have two days before giving their account after they use deadly force
An end to settlement loopholes that allow violent cops to stay on the force and serve as mental health first responders
- An investigation into practices of racial profiling by the Portland Police.

Portland Copwatch, issued a statement saying members of the all-volunteer group plan to testify at the fairness hearing.

The group’s written testimony is available in full on its website. The group also issued the following summary:

1. APPEALING FINDINGS ON DEADLY FORCE INVESTIGATIONS

Summary: People subjected to deadly force or their families should have the right to appeal administrative findings regarding whether the

officer(s) engaged in misconduct.

2. TASER USE AND THE DOJ AGREEMENT

Summary: The Agreement leaves room for improper and excessive use of Tasers; the City's effort to enact the Agreement creates even more loopholes.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY-- INDEPENDENT POLICE REVIEW DIVISION

Summary: The process for investigating most complaints of police misconduct still relies too heavily on the police to produce trust; timelines must allow for the process to be completed.

4. ACCOUNTABILITY-- CITIZEN REVIEW COMMITTEE

Summary: Make the CRC's standard for evaluating misconduct findings less deferential, give the volunteer members time to hold appeal hearings, and set their quorum at 6 of 11 members, not 5.

5. ACCOUNTABILITY-- POLICE REVIEW BOARD

Summary: Allow community members to attend Police Review Board hearings and improve transparency; clarify PRB's ability to require more investigation.

6. USE OF FORCE AND THE DOJ AGREEMENT

Summary: Policies should clearly limit the amount of force the PPB is allowed to use; violations should have serious consequences; officers should not have special rights when being investigated; and cops should not be left alone to investigate other cops.

7. MENTAL HEALTH PROVISIONS

Summary: While some aspects of the Agreement start to get at long-standing issues around police interactions with people in mental health crisis, both the design and implementation do not go far enough.

8. TRAINING AND THE DOJ AGREEMENT

Summary: Training should include input from all of the community; changes to training should look at national and local past and present trends; trainers should be chosen carefully.

9. TRACKING POLICE CONTACTS / DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

Summary: The Agreement calls for collection of demographic data about some police encounters, but it is not clear which encounters will be tracked or that changes will be made based on the data.

10. IMPLEMENTATION AND TRANSPARENCY

Summary: The Agreement as it has been implemented already undermines its stated principles of transparency.

11. OVERSIGHT OF THE AGREEMENT / CONCLUSION

Summary: The Court should make clear what the terms of the Agreement mean so that determining "substantial compliance" can be done objectively by reviewing the Court record, not subjectively reading the Agreement.

Portland Copwatch concludes its testimony by noting it will not apply to be part of the Agreement's "Community Oversight Advisory Board" unless needed changes are made so that efforts to improve the police will not be hampered over the 5 years the Agreement is to be in effect.

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