06-21-2018  1:16 pm      •     
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 ...

Girl, 14, drowns in pond near Silverton

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a junior camp counselor drowned in a pond near Silverton.The Marion County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived Wednesday night to find lifeguards and camp counselor searching the pond for 14-year-old Naomi Rudolph of Keizer. Her body was pulled from the...

ICE office in Portland closed another day

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland was closed again Thursday because of a demonstration against Trump administration immigration policies.Agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said people who had appointments scheduled at the office will be...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington and more than a half-dozen other states said Thursday that they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy of separating immigrant families illegally entering the United States.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday...

Walla Walla podiatrist charged with unprofessional conduct

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A Walla Walla podiatrist has been charged with unprofessional conduct for allegedly failing to meet the standard of care in treating two patients who developed infections which later required amputations.The Union-Bulletin reported Thursday that Washington state's...

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

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury has added civil rights and hate crimes violations to charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.Federal prosecutors announced the new five-count indictment Thursday against 47-year-old Michael Hari,...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

Abloh's historic debut at Vuitton is a big draw in Paris

PARIS (AP) — The debut Louis Vuitton collection by Virgil Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, drew stars of all stripes to Paris for his rainbow-themed menswear show.Kanye West was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had returned to Paris for...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Sam Smith on touring, therapy, smoking and lip syncing

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Smith knows his music is melancholy and emotional, but he's hoping his live shows will be uplifting and feel "like a fistful of love," as he put it.The singer, known for down-tempo hits like "Stay With Me" and "Too Good at Goodbyes," is launching "The Thrill of It All...

AP PHOTOS: Toasts, kisses and laughs at Clooney AFI gala

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney, this is your life.The American Film Institute hosted a star-studded gala earlier this month to honor the Oscar-winner's achievements as an actor, director and activist. The evening kicked off with a video message from former President Barack Obama, and...

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA (AP) — "Black Panther" broke box office records, but "Luke Cage" once crashed Netflix.The streaming service suffered a massive outage for more than two hours in 2016, one day after the premiere of "Luke Cage," a drama-action series starring Mike Colter who plays the show's superhero...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock...

Canada's legalization to offer pot by mail, better banking

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With nationwide marijuana legalization in Canada on the horizon, the industry is...

Koko the gorilla, who learned sign language, dies at 46

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to...

Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

HAVANA (AP) — Minutes after a plane carrying 113 people crashed on takeoff from Havana airport, Cuban state...

Pope, in Geneva, says Christians must work together on peace

GENEVA (AP) — Pope Francis journeyed Thursday to the well-heeled city of Geneva to encourage all...

South Sudan's armed opposition rejects 'imposition' of peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — South Sudan's armed opposition on Thursday rejected any "imposition" of a...

Protestor turns back on Mayor Hales following JTTF vote
Donovan M. Smith Of The Skanner News

A protestor turns his back on Charlie Hales as the Mayor casts his vote for the City of Portland to join the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Up until the split decision by City Council to become full partners with the task force which pairs local law enforcement with the FBI to share intelligence on terrorism, Portland was the only major city working with the JTTF part time. Photo by Donovan M. Smith

 

Portland joins the ranks of every other major city in the United States as full time members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, despite a bitter outcry from Civil Rights organizations and a large cross-section of Portland’s Muslim community.

Now, after the City Council’s divided 3-2 vote to join, two Portland Police officers will be working full-time as part of the JTTF. The task force partners local law enforcement with the FBI to combat international and domestic terrorism – but critics argue the JTTF unfairly targets innocent people and that even top city leaders will have no ability to know or track, let alone control, what Portland police officers might do as part of the “team.”

“We find it hard to believe that after written and verbal testimony from the ACLU, the Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Voice for Peace, eleven prominent Portland-area Muslim organizations, former State Senator Avel Gordly, and dozens more people against re-joining the JTTF, with the only organization in favor being the Citizens Crime Commission of the Portland Business Alliance, that Council voted to re-join the JTTF,” wrote Portland Copwatch’s Dan Handelman.

See Lisa Loving Of The Skanner News’ report detailing the history of unfair profiling by the FBI of mostly Muslim men from the Pacific Northwest here

Handelman, a police accountability activist, in past years unsuccessfully tried to sue FBI officials over surveillance of a grassroots organization he is affiliated with, Peace and Justice Works.

In 2005, Portland became the first and only city to pull out of its partnership with the JTTF, only to re-join on a “case-by-case” basis in 2011 following the controversial plot to let of a bomb in Pioneer Square a year earlier.

City Council is sitting down to hammer out a Memoranda of Understanding, detailing the structure of the partnership Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

Mayor Charlie Hales called his vote to re-join one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make in office.

“It’s a choice of evils,” Hales told The Skanner News. “The FBI has done things I can’t condone, and the federal government has done and is doing things that I think are unacceptable. And yet we have to deal with this threat of our citizens being killed or injured by people who seem to have no regard for life and human freedom.”

Hales, who voted in the early 2000’s against joining the JTTF as a Commissioner, says that his current decision was “51-49” but that the City and police bureau will step up outreach with communities that could feel especially threatened by the decision to become full partners.

Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish voted with the mayor to rejoin, while Commissioners Steve Novick and Amanda Fritz took a stand against.

Hales says the two Portland Police officers who will be joining the task force have yet to be chosen by Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea.

Mayor Hales—who is also the police commissioner--still will not have security clearance which would allow him better insight into the specific activities of the partnership. However, now he will have a non-disclosure agreement which he did not have before.

Conversely, Chief O’Dea will have a non-disclosure agreement. When asked if he would have felt as comfortable to vote to re-join under former Police Chief Mike Reese, Hales replied “No, in a word.”

“Mike Reese did a good job. But because I recruited Larry and we’ve had a lot of conversations about what matters, we know each other very well,” Hales said. “I think we have a chief there that the community can rely on. I think a lot of people in the community already have that sense about Larry that when he talks about equity, relationships, and serving the whole community they know he really means it."

The mayor says if he’s not satisfied that he’s properly informed on the happenings of the JTTF he’ll “pull the plug” on the City’s involvement but did not provide a time-frame.

Handelman argues that City Council should reconsider their vote, and not sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the FBI this week.

In an open letter sent Monday morning to all five members of the Council, Handelman lists four items in the proposed ordinance that should be changed if the city decides to go ahead with the JTTF.

1--In addition to the termination clause (paragraph XXII-A which allows either side to terminate the agreement with 60 days' notice) there should be an annual sunset clause so that Council and the community can continue having this important conversation. The 2000-2005 version of the MOU [memo of Understanding] included authorization for FBI reimbursement of Portland Police overtime, which required annual consideration by the Council.

2--The annual reconsideration of the MOU should come with transparent reporting on how many investigations the PPB officers have engaged in, what level of inquiry was involved (assessments, preliminary investigations, full investigations), and affirmation of training by the City Attorney or a state authority on Oregon's "181 laws."

3--Any section which indicates that the Portland Police must comply with FBI rules or lose the ability to control documents that they have created, or which creates broader protection for the FBI than for the PPB or the public, must be amended (paragraphs V-B-3, V-B-5, VIII-A, IX-A and Section VII, for example).

4--The local chain of command must be unbroken and transparent. The agreement says that officers can't talk to any supervisor who does not have security clearance (paragraph VI-A-4), which means the Police Commissioner, as we've discussed for years, can't supervise his own officers. Furthermore, Chief O'Dea today declined to tell us the name of the Criminal Intelligence Unit Lieutenant who presumably is ensuring compliance with Oregon law and Portland Directives. This is unacceptable.

A letter from the District Attorney responding to our 2013 public records request for a roster of PPB personnel noted that "there is a compelling public interest in police oversight and transparency... that has been satisfied by the voluntary disclosure of... the command staff of the various divisions." The roster we received does not identify the CIU Lieutenant and thus is arguably in contradiction to the DA's letter.

There are over 100 JTTFs in the United States—up until this vote, Portland was the only major city not participating full time with the agency. The newly constructed $60 million FBI headquarters for Oregon still remains the only one without an office dedicated to the task force—though that could change after the Feb. 19 vote.

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