06-23-2018  4:43 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

Hales with police
Donovan M. Smith Of The Skanner News

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales (right) stands with police following a shooting. AP photo. 

Portland’s rocky relationship with the federal counter-terrorism program the Joint Terrorism Task Force could be coming to a close on Thursday— or it could be expanding.

Two resolutions are to be considered by City Council Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

If the Council votes to back out from the Joint Terrorism Task Force -- which pairs local law enforcement with the FBI and other federal agencies to share intelligence and data -- it would mark a historic two times they would have done so.

Dan Handelman of the police accountability group Portland Copwatch says that if there’s a “real” threat to public safety he has no problem with the bureau working with the FBI to prevent harm—his issue is with the lack of accountability presented by the Mayor not having security clearance to the program.

“The problem is our Mayor is the Police Commissioner, and it's his responsibility to be sure our officers are conducting themselves in a way that is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, Oregon law, and local policies,” Handelman told The Skanner News. “If he does not have the security clearance to oversee the daily work of these officers, we can't hold them accountable. So having more insight is not the same as having oversight. And no, it does not make us ‘safer.’”

Pre-dating the infamous attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the nearly three decade old JTTF -- meant to combat domestic and international terrorism such as bombings and mass killings -- has undergone major national expansion in recent years. To date, 74 Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been created since the Twin Towers fell, quadrupling its members to almost 4,000.

While Portland joined the JTTF in 1997, allegations of underreported and mishandled data have come from both bureaucrats and concerned citizens – including former Mayor Vera Katz, who was frustrated  by being denied security clearance, even as Hales is now. 

By 2005, City Council made its historic decision to become the first-ever city to withdraw from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, citing the need for better oversight of the city’s own police, according to an ACLU blog post from that year.

The decision comes at an interesting time, as Chief Larry O’Dea who was sworn into the position at the top of the year made promises for a more transparent and tolerant bureau. Fritz who has been on Council when they withdrew from the program and rejoined just announced she’ll be running for a third term as Commissioner, and some of the largest protests in recent history have filled all areas of the metro-area calling for an end to structural bias the lends itself to  state-sanctioned violence.

A vote against continuing the relationship would still give the Chief of Police security clearance privileges with the FBI when there is "specific knowledge of an immediate threat of harm from criminal activity here in Portland, or at another local jurisdiction which may need support from our emergency responders."

The second resolution calls for expansion of the program giving two of the 944 sworn Portland Police officers to be assigned full time to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Right now the force only works with the program on a part-time basis – whereas most cities assign fulltime officers to the JTTF.

Reports to Mayor Hales on the specifics of the program would remain largely limited under both resolutions should the Council decide to continue involvement.

The ACLU this year wrote a public letter decrying the City’s participation in the program, which is in over 100 cities nationally saying, “The only way for the Portland Police Bureau to ensure that it is complying with Oregon laws and the Constitution is to stay out of the FBI's JTTF.”

The note goes on to say, “History has taught us again and again that the federal government, including the FBI, uses invasive and unconstitutional surveillance tactics in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’ and ‘national security.’”

The Center for Intercultural Organizing, an immigrant and refugee advocacy group, is also currently encouraging Portland residents to call City Council members to vote against continuing in the program.

“The program allows the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to work with the FBI, and largely targets Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities,” the organization said in an emailed action alert to its members.

“[The Joint Terrorism Task Force] has led to profiling and spying on our community members. There has been no transparency for the community to even know what activities PPB engages in. JTTF threatens the civil liberties and civil rights of many Portland residents.”

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